Stefano de Pieri

Speakers announced for national conference

Speakers announced for Slow Food national event

A panel of experts on local food issues will be hosted by Slow Food Mildura on Saturday 19 November as part of the inaugural Australian Terra Madre and Australian Slow Food conference. Stefano de Pieri will open the panel with his story of how Slow Food started in Mildura, and how it’s evolved.

“Stefano was instrumental in starting Slow Food in Mildura 15 years ago,” Deb Bogenhuber, Co-Leader of Slow Food Mildura, said. “We owe so much to him, not just our local convivium, but Mildura as a food destination. He really put this place on the map for celebrating our amazing local produce.”

Darren Perry, Ngintait man and former Chair of Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations, will open the panel, speaking to the theme of ‘Our food, our country: Good, clean, fair in our past, present and future.’ “Having Mr Perry set the scene is really important,” Ms Bogenhuber said. “We want to invite people to start thinking and talking about how our land and waters were managed before colonisation. Part of Slow Food’s global work is to protect biodiversity through the way we produce food, and our First Nations people were certainly experts in that.”

Councillor Mark Eckel, who will open the Slow Food conference on Thursday said “There is a real sense that this will be an historical occasion for Mildura as an international clean, green food destination building on our indigenous culture & Stefano’s creative mind for food.’”

The other speakers are Tammi Jonas, Chair of Fair Food Farmers United and former President of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA), Dr Kirsten Abernethy from Seafood Industry Victoria, and Giovanni Barbera from the Slow Food Mildura Youth Network.

“Ms Jonas has been behind a national campaign to support small-scale farmers especially around regulations that disadvantage small-scale meat production,” Ms Bogenhuber said. “Regulations are disadvantaging the small growers, we hear it all the time. The work that AFSA is doing is so important. I hope that some of our local small-scale producers get to meet Ms Jonas and build that network so they feel more supported.”

Terra Madre will start at Jaycee Park with a market in partnership with Sunraysia Farmers Market, and move to the Lawn Tennis Club from 1 pm for the speakers panel. Attendance at the market is free with a suggested $10 donation to attend the speakers panel.

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Photo opportunities with Slow Food Mildura, Stefano de Pieri and Mark Eckel on request.

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Focus on Indigenous Food Economy

Slow Food national event focuses on Indigenous food economy

The inaugural Australian Terra Madre to be held in Mildura on 19 November will feature a speakers panel on the theme of ‘Our food, our country: Good, clean, fair in our past, present and future’.

Darren Perry, a Ngintait man whose country includes Mulcra Island on the Murray River, is one of the keynote speakers. “As former Chair of Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations I’ve been heavily involved in cultural water planning for the past four years,” Mr Perry said. “Us river people had a whole economy based on the resources from the river, fish, freshwater mussels, turtles. We traded and lived off the river. That’s all been taken from us and we’re fighting to get some of it back.”

Deb Bogenhuber, Co-Leader of Slow Food Mildura who are hosting the event, said “There is a conversation now about how our land and waters were managed very carefully by First Nations people before colonisation. The evidence of farming and aquaculture has always been there but it’s only starting to be talked about now.”

Bruce Pascoe’s book The Dark Emu, which received the Victorian Premier’s literary award this year, presents extensive evidence from early explorers’ diaries of land and water management techniques used by First Nations people. “Basically our country was managed to maximise sustainable food production,” Ms Bogenhuber said. “When I heard Mr Perry talk about the river economy and what it meant to the First Peoples who relied on it I had never heard it put that way before. It really hit home to me and I hope that we can get that message out to more people through the Slow Food conference and Terra Madre event.”

Ms Bogenhuber said “I’m honoured that Mr Perry accepted our invitation and I hope it’s the start of something more. We have a lot of young people in particular in our community who are looking for ways to work with First Nations people around food production, especially native food plants and also kangaroo as a protein source.”

Mr Perry will lead a panel of speakers following an introduction by Stefano de Pieri who helped start Slow Food in Mildura 15 years ago. The panel will start at 1 pm at the Lawn Tennis Club, following the Terra Madre market held in conjunction with Sunraysia Farmers Market in the morning at Jaycee Park. Attendance is free and the public are encouraged to come along and hear from some of Australia’s experts in local food issues.

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Photo opportunity: Thurs/Fri  3/4 November 2016 Mr Perry will be in Mildura

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National Conference set to dazzle

Dinners set to dazzle for Slow Food national conference

Local chefs Jim McDougall and Stefano de Pieri will treat visitors and locals to two stunning dinners as part of Slow Food’s national conference and inaugural Terra Madre event in November.

Slow Salt will be prepared by Stefano on the spectacular Murray River Salt harvest site at Mourquong. “We hosted the first Slow Food conference here in Mildura in 2002,” Stefano said. “Not many people know that, but we had two coaches come here, one from Melbourne and one from Sydney, and we ate a beautiful meal I prepared on the salt pan at Mourquong.”

“The first thing we were certain of when we decided last year to host the 2016 conference was that we had to have another salt dinner,” Brad Fyfe, Co-Leader of Slow Food Mildura, said. “Stefano has been working with us to design a menu that will showcase good, clean, fair foods from our region, and in a setting like the salt pan who won’t be impressed.”

Jane Schmidt, Marketing Manager of Murray River Salt, said “We’re really excited to be part of this important event for our region and to have the opportunity to talk about what we do. Slow Food Mildura have promoted our product and our philosophy for a long time and our partnership is really valuable. Our story of improving the environment and creating a unique product in the process is one we love sharing.”

Jim McDougall has designed a menu around indigenous produce for Friday night’s Slow River dinner at The Setts. Mr McDougall said “Some of the garnishes and accompaniments for dinner will be foraged during the day from locations around Sunraysia by conference delegates and Slow Food youth movement volunteers.” Although reluctant to give too much away, Mr McDougall added “There will be things like saltbush and samphire, which Slow Food Mildura use a lot of and their flavours go so well with local meats like the Murray Cod and mutton. I want to create something that really tastes of this place.”

“Tickets for both dinners can be purchased separately to the conference package,” Mr Fyfe said, “but we really encourage people to get more involved. Especially on Saturday with the Terra Madre event, which is free and open to everyone. People can find out more about it and buy tickets on the Slow Food Mildura web site.”

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Photo opportunity: Monday 31 October at 9 am Stefano de Pieri, Jane Schmidt, Deb Bogenhuber and Rachel Kendrigan (Slow Food Mildura) and Domenico de Clario will be doing a site inspection at Mourquong salt pan

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On the hunt for Ark of Taste

The Australian Ark of Taste catalogue has now reached 51 approved products and another 6 nominated foods that are awaiting approval.

‘This is a great effort of our Australian convivia across the country, especially considering that the number of products from Australia boarded on the Ark of Taste has more than doubled in the last year’ says National Ark of Taste Working Group Leader Vince Velletri:  ‘I’m hoping the number will continue to grow – we’re aiming to reach 100 by our next national Conference in Mildura in November 2016’.

Slow Food in Australia is encouraging everybody to actively seek more products to nominate to ensure protection and continuity of our Australian (food) biodiversity. Products boarded on the Slow Food International Ark of Taste are at risk of disappearing  and will be actively protected and promoted by Slow Food convivia around the world to ensure we don’t lose them for future generations.

Click here to view all Australian products on the Ark of Taste. Click here to view nominated Australian products.

For more information, please contact us via the website contact form.