Cittaslow in the Blue Mountains - Terra Madre Event
Lushious Gourmet to Mother Earth
Blue Mountains resident and owner of Lushious Gourmet Vegetarian Catering, Sid Stolk, has been selected as one of 7 chefs/caterers forming part of a delegation including 21 food communities from across Australia to Terra Madre (translated as Mother Earth), the biennial international meeting which brings together food communities, cooks and academics who are working towards increasing small-scale, traditional, and sustainable food production.
Held in Turin, Italy in October this year, around 150 countries will attend Terra Madre and Sid will represent Slow Food Blue Mountains, attending workshops and conferences on issues as diverse as school canteens to sustainability in the restaurant to farmers' markets and the teaching of small-scale production, quality and social justice in gastronomic sciences.
A passionate advocate of vegetarian cooking, Sid, believes that a balanced diet, including more vegetarian food is not only better for the planet but also for our own well being. 'Vegetarian food is beautiful, tasty and a pleasure to eat' says Sid, who has run his own vegetarian catering business together with his wife Paula since his arrival from Holland 15 years ago. Sid's experience travelling the world and working in vegetarian restaurants in India, Thailand, Malaysia, Holland, Turkey and Tibet has given him invaluable experience in blending flavours and creating delicious and nutritious meals.
A recent report by Dr Rajendra Pachauri, UN economist and Chair of the Nobel prize winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on climate change, also advocates a move towards a plant-based diet and in particular one of locally grown plant-based foods as the optimum diet for reducing our carbon footprint.
Anne Elliott from Slow Food Blue Mountains said 'Yet again the Blue Mountains is showing leadership in environmental matters by having a caterer from our region being selected to represent Australia and the Blue Mountains at this world meeting of small food producers. It's obvious what the world needs now, is a bit more 'vegetable love', a move away from making meat the centre of the plate at every meal and replacing with creatively prepared plant-based foods'. World Watch's State of the World Report released earlier this year states the eating of less meat and seafood is "an investment in the future, since it will mean saving family farms, improving rangeland, reducing water pollution and in the case of fish - preserving a catch that is increasingly rare."
Below: Anne Elliot, Sid and Paula Stolk and daughter ready for Terra Madre 2008
Reflections on Terra Madres 2008 by Anne Elliot
While there were of course problems with language and the sheer scope and size of this event, being able to gather with people from over 150 countries talking on critical issues was an unforgettable experience. (Terra Madre is a meeting where people discuss their issues, build networks among thousands of people involved in the growth, production or distribution of food.) One of the biggest challenges was coping with the sheer volume of information coming through at the Earth Workshops and Conferences at Salone del Gusto .
Sid and Paula Stolk from Lushious Gourmet Vegetarian Catering, have just arrived back from Italy and plan to have a ' Terra Madre Party' in the New Year, where Paula will also show the dvd she has made , covering our preparation beforehand as well as snippets of Terra Madre itself. This will also be an opportunity to discuss Terra Madre and share information and ideas. Sid was a delegate at Terra Madre, forming part of the official Australian delegation, while Nerida Burton and myself attended as observers.
Highlights for me were the opening ceremony held in the Olympic Stadium , attending Earth Workshops on Water, Slow Food Youth Network and a Conference discussing the Manifesto on Climate Change and Food Security, drawn up by the International Commission on the Future of Food and Agriculture. This Conference was anchored by Indian scientist / food activist / environmentalist Vandana Shiva. The Manifesto has been embraced by Tuscany, which is now committed to promoting only small-scale agriculture and has even developed a food pyramid based entirely on foods grown in Tuscany. You can find out more about the Manifesto at www.future-food.org and www.arsia.toscana.it/petizioneclima . As there have been meetings and discussion on climate change in our community recently, perhaps rather than reinventing the wheel, this Manifesto should be adopted by our region as well, giving framework to immediate actions needed as well as linking us with the international community.
Anne Elliott, Cittaslow Katoomba Blue Mountains
www.cittaslow.org.au Ph 0247827376
Sid Stolk, Lushious Blue Mountains
For more information on Cittaslow Katoomba Blue Mountains and Slow Food Blue Mountains visit www.cittaslow.org.au
This item was posted in November 2008.