Slow Food movement gains momentum

Fruit grower John Howell. (Pictures: Supplied)

Esther Lauaki

A movement towards “good, clean and fair” food production is picking up traction in the west.

Slow Food Melbourne is an eco-gastronomy association interested in the ethics and politics of food and the impact food production has on the planet.

Slow Food Melbourne’s market in Spotswood has continued trading through the COVID-19 pandemic as an essential service bringing fresh, local produce to shoppers and supporting farmers to continue to earn a living.

A small crew of dedicated volunteers run the market, which includes up to 80 farmers and farming families who grow, pick, pack, rear and process fresh fruit and vegetables, salami and meat products, citrus, eggs, olives and olive oils, berries, fermented foods and baked goods throughout the year.

Association founder Alison Peake says the organisation is part of a worldwide network which supports the notion of, “think global, act local”.

“We believe food should be good, clean and fair which means good quality while also maintaining food cultural traditions and supporting the longevity of rare breeds and crop diversity,” Alison says.

“It should be produced with a minimum of chemical inputs and GM free.

“The notion of ‘fair’ encapsulates the concept that everyone in the food chain deserves a fair remuneration for their work.

“Our message has always been to eat local, keep food miles to a minimum and support local producers. This has never been a more important message than right now.”

Alison says a visit to the market is an educational experience as well as an opportunity to meet the people behind the produce.

“They all have a story to tell and meeting them at the market is one way to get a glimpse into their world,” she says

“They work long hours doing often gruelling hard physical labour, survive drought and most recently devastating bushfires, and yet they pick themselves up and keep on working through flood, fire and pandemic.

“Many of them are CFA volunteers and during fire season abandon their own properties to save others.

“They are the unsung heroes of our food systems and are still humble and hardworking.”

When travel around Victoria resumes, Alison is urging residents to head to a regional area to see what is happening in our food bowls and help those communities by spending locally and supporting the communities.

Slow Food Melbourne runs three food festivals, local urban harvest and organises food workshops and communal seasonal food events with much more in mind.

Slow Food Melbourne market, 199 Sunshine Road, Tottenham. Open 8am-1pm on the second Saturday of each month. 
Inquiries: 0438 318 319,