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Protecting Our Food with the Slow Food Movement

Protecting Our Food with the Slow Food Movement

Protecting Our Food with the Slow Food Movement

Slow food is the answer to our busy lives. It works towards ensuring that the food we eat today will be around tomorrow. I’m a big believer of sourcing my fresh produce from local Canterbury suppliers. I know that my suppliers are doing their best to use sustainable methods, ensuring that their products and land will be around in the future. It’s the Slow Food Movement all over and one I’m a great fan of.

What is the Slow Food Movement?

It began back in 1986 when locals in Rome objected to the building of a McDonalds near the Spanish Steps. The movement works towards preserving our traditional food, cooking methods, seeds, plants, farm animals and farming practices. Now a global movement, it is well and truly established here in New Zealand too. A non-profit organisation, people who are concerned with the sustainability of our food supply are encouraged to join as members of their closest Convivia group. It is the work of these members that gives me the confidence in knowing that my son will enjoy the same food traditions and experiences which I had growing up.

Bringing Slow Food Home

In 2000, Christchurch was the first place in NZ to establish a Convivia group and they’ve been working hard ever since. However, we are lucky in this country in that we don’t have the pressing needs to preserve our food chain. That’s why NZ’s Slow Food Movement is mostly focused on the preparation and eating experience itself. Once again, this is something I am extremely passionate about. Right from when I was young, helping my Nanna and Oppy at their Paraora Boarding House, I’ve treasured not only the cooking experience, but the sharing of a good meal with great company. Sitting down around the table with my family is an experience that money just can’t buy. Taking the time to savour every mouthful of food and drink, the sharing of favourite recipes and the company of loved ones is what matters.

I learnt a lot while helping my Nanna and Oppy in the kitchen and in the garden. Learning where our food comes from is important and that’s another reason why I love the Slow Food Movement. They are taking the time to teach our tamariki how to grow and care for fruit and vegetables in the garden. Children are then able to harvest, prepare and eat something they have grown and I know there is no greater pleasure than that!

I’d like to challenge you to slow down with slow food. Take the time to learn how it was produced, visit where it came from and enjoy every mouthful. The Maori proverb “He kai kei aku ringa” rings true here. It translates as ‘there is food at the end of my hands,’ meaning that as people when we use our basic abilities, we will achieve success.

Helping Create Substainable Farming & Food

Helping Create Substainable Farming & Food

Have you heard of the Rabobank Global Farmers Master Class? Rabobank flew in more than 50 leading farmers from around the world to discuss the ways in which we can ensure the sustainability of our global food supply. We recently had the pleasure of catering for these participants over two days while there were here in Canterbury.

Rabobank have created a program called Banking For Food. They have positioned themselves as a major player in helping farmers increase productivity and food supply by providing global networking opportunities for farmers, as well as offering funding from their bank.

The nine-day Master Class took place in Australia and here in Canterbury. During their time here, we were proud to be chosen to cater for their lunch over two consecutive days: at Patoa Farms and Cleardale Station.


Patoa Farms for Free-Farmed Pork

The first lunch we catered for the attendees of the Global Farmers Master Class was at Patoa Farms. Owners Steve and Jens had a vision of farming pigs as naturally as possible. That’s why at Patoa Farms all their animals run free in paddocks and they’ve got straw shelters in each paddock for farrowing too.

Patoa Farms produce delicious pork! They have been incredibly successful at marketing their pork, with many leading NZ brands using it to on sell. As winners of the 2016 North Canterbury Awards, they have demonstrated their commitment to sustainable farming and we are proud to use their pork here at Miss Lilly’s!

Cleardale Station Sustainable Sheep Farming
The second lunch we catered for the Rabobank Global Farmers Master Class was at Cleardale Station. Located about 10km from the Rakaia Gorge, Cleardale Station are firmly concentrating on improving the productivity and sustainability of their farm, as well as increasing their profitability.

While Cleardale’s 1400ha property mainly farms sheep, they also have a small herd of cattle. But it is their half-bred sheep they are most proud of. They have bred a cross between their own merino and some English Leicester studs which is definitely helping Cleardale achieve it’s high productivity levels.

Canterbury Caterers with an Eye to the Future

As our population continues to grow, we need to look towards buying our food from suppliers who practise sustainable methods in creating their products. Wherever possible, we purchase our fresh produce for Miss Lilly’s from local businesses. We’re playing our part and would love you to join us too!