Saturday, 17 October 2009

Slow Food, Slow Gardening


Here is Costa, of Costa's Garden Odyssey on SBS TV, handing out some emu 'prosciutto' at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, while 100 or so of us eat and listening to people talk about food - slow food, and bush food. I've posted a few more pictures at the end.

Costa was filming as part of a future episode on the botanic gardens and bush food. While we ate, and were filmed, we heard:
· Alison Drover, from Slow Food Sydney
. Jean Paul Bruneteau on (cooked) kangaroo, warrigal greens, and other delightful Australian foods. Jean Paul designed and created the meal with the help of lots of Slow Food volunteers.
· Carlo Petrini (described by the UK Guardian as one of the 50 people who could save the planet) on the slow food movement and its similarity to some of the philosophies of Aboriginal culture.
· and our very own Clarence Slockee MCing, chatting about this and that, and discussing the finer points of bush foods and local plants.

We were didn't quite hear Lynne Ziehlke on Hawaii’s – sorry Australia’s – macadamias, and Michael Klausen on his ‘indignosu loaf’ ( a bread made especially for the event from fermented seed) but both products were warmly appreciated.

And of course we ate the subject matter. The lunch was the Botanic Gardens Trust’s small contribution to Crave and the Sydney International Food Festival. Dipping our toe in before we dive in head first next year, perhaps! Anyway, a big success – tasty conversation and food. The weather was a little less than perfect but that's the way it goes.

What does this have to do with plants? Well apart from it being held in the botanic gardens, I said something along and very like the following lines...

"It's entirely appropriate to eat in the gardens. Life, and food, depend on plants. Plants get the energy from the sun and we either eat them or something that ate them first.

"Slow food also fits perfectly with our approach to gardening. Not that we don’t work hard, but gardens take a long time to grow. This one - 193 years, so far… Plant small trees, watch them grow (and they will become better established, safer and longer-living) and treat garden as changing environment, not an instant product.

"And do plant things you like. It’s also appropriate to serve local food, bush food… We encourage growing local plants in your garden, or plants that won’t harm the local environment. - three rules for gardens - no toxic chemicals to survive, not escape into bush, (usually) low water.

"Carlo Petrini and the Slow Foot movement stress that food should be good, clean and fair. We believe gardens should be very good, they should not harm the environment and plant growers and our horticulturalists should get fair compensation for their work!"

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