Lebanese Food and Culinary Traditions

Lebanese Food and Culinary Traditions
Spring time always inspires me...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Central Role of Food - Slow Food Congress Paper 2012-2016

This is the Slow Food magazine. They used a photo in the Feb. 2008 issue I took on their cover of a woman in Baskinta crushing garlic.
Slow Food International is having its congress meeting this year on the 27 - 29 of October. Last congress meeting was held in Mexico 4 years ago. I attended the meeting. It had a great impact on my life's work. Unfortunately for us (as Lebanese), Slow Food Beirut does not exist anymore. Why? It's a long story...
The result is a pure reflection of the country's (yes my beloved Lebanon) image. We screwed up badly! That's all I have to say about this subject. We loose out, we gain less knowledge, less networking, less support. I'm ashamed and sad.

Ok, to get back to this paper...

They have sent a report to each of us (Slow Food guys) to view and to add comments, in order to have an effective interaction of words and ideas to work on for the next 4 years to come. The paper is divided as follows:

1. About us: historical / introduction

2. What we are talking about: the right to food
  • From food to soil fertility
  • From food to the salubrity of water
  • From food to the salubrity of air
  • From food to the defense of biodiversity
  • From food to health
  • From food to knowledge and memory
  • From food to pleasure, social relations, conviviality, and sharing
3. What we are doing
  • A return to the land
  • The war on waste
  • Local economy and participatory democracy
  • Permanent education
I shall highlight for you what I actually highlighted in the paper that really touched me and hit home. Take the time to reflect on these matters please. This is important!

"Union and diversity can run together and progress together." Teach that to the Lebanese.

"The right to pleasure, the importance of consciously living life at the right pace, the value of cultural biodiversity..."

"Slow Food is inspired by the world of gastronomy and mobilizes itself to protect a great agrifood heritage threatened by mass production... the defense of plant species, animal breeds..."

"Terra Madre makes us think about a concept of food quality based not only on taste properties, but also on respect for the environment and fair earning for producers."

"Right to food is the primary right of humanity."

"Hunger is a form of slavery, above all physical slavery."

"Slow Food and Terra Madre's obligation has to do with the respect for traditional, sustainable forms of agriculture—the only ones that have always protected agro-biodiversity, resources, and cultural diversities—whose standard bearers are small-scale producers, women, the elderly and indigenous populations."

"War on hunger, the priority of world policy."

"Food is what ought to remind us every day that we are part of nature, that we belong to nature, that we are inside nature—the greatest living system. Food comes from nature via the earth and through it becomes culture."

"By threatening and compromising soil fertility and soil's role as a living system, we jeopardize earth's "life breath", our life and the life of the planet we live on."

"Soil fertility has another big enemy: overbuilding and indiscriminate urbanization. In many parts of the world, the building of houses, apartment blocks, shopping malls and industrial plants is taking away huge swaths of land every day that could be producing food or at least ensuring our "life breath", if only by remaining fallow and absorbing rainfall. This "consumed" soil has been lost forever." This is exactly what is happening in Lebanon. We (as money-hungry Lebanese) are selling our soil to foreigners to build ugly building and  our beautiful nature is being ruined year after year. Does anyone care in the government? Not much!

"The quality of our air is deteriorating all the time, and as a result, so is the quality of our lives."

"We should ask more and more people to grow their own gardens."

"Small-scale, local and organic are our answer to agro-industry ."

"If we are members of the Slow Food movement and if we are part of the Terra Madre network, it is not only because we are concerned about the way we eat, but also because we are aware that to eat in a goo, clean and fair manner, it is vital for us to take good care of the part of the planet we live on."

"TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE!" I am seeking it all the time, are you?

"It is necessary to encourage young people to return to farming. To do this it takes land, tools, infrastructure, simple red-tape, funding, proper education and the handling down of traditional knowledge. What is necessary most of all is to restore pride and dignity to farm work, one of the most useful, delicate, important and beautiful forms of labor of all." How I agree...

"Eating is an agricultural act—only in this way we can transform ourselves from passive consumers into active co-producers, sharing our knowledge of food with those who produce it, appreciating and paying the right price for their efforts to provide good, clean, and fair food, following the seasons, seeking out local food as much as possible, promoting it and teaching its characteristics and production methods to their children." Amen to that...!!!!

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