Like many others, you will no doubt be reeling from last Friday’s news.
We have clearly entered a period of great uncertainty and turmoil, and feel somewhat helpless in the face of events that seem to change from hour to hour.
But we think there is a response to this situation that chimes with our Slow Food principles.
It became clear when chatting to some of the small farmers at the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market and hearing their reactions to Brexit and its implications for their farms and families.
Clearly, their lives and livelihoods have been hit with unprecedented uncertainty. Many rely on EU support to produce food, care for the land and employ people, and the prices they get for their products are often at the mercy of market forces.
But they are the ones who are defending biodiversity, producing the ‘good, clean and fair’ food we value, keeping rural communities alive and traditions relevant.
Without them, our landscape and food culture would be devastated.
In one example, a farm employs 16 people because of choosing a more sustainable approach, whilst other farms in the area average 3 employees.
They need our solidarity now more than ever.
So, let’s support their products however we can. But more than that, let’s talk to them, hear their stories and their challenges, let them know that we are on their side as they face the months and years ahead.
Nor must we forget our immigrant communities, also potentially having to cope with a world that seems less tolerant of diversity, more inclined to point out what divides us than our common humanity.
As Carlo Petrini pointed out at the recent University Of Gastronomic Sciences graduation, we cannot call ourselves true gastronomers without the humility and compassion to listen to those less fortunate than ourselves and to defend their interests.
Let’s do it individually, as convivia, as national bodies, on social media, through all our communication channels, at markets, anywhere we can.
Slow Food is here to defend biodiversity, the diversity of the people who are its guardians and everyone’s right to food that’s truly good, clean and fair.
Here in Scotland, we have always been proud to participate in Slow Food’s global thinking and events that place diversity at its very core.
Our involvement has nurtured important and inspiring pan-European bonds and relationships, often thanks to the free movement of people, produce and ideas between countries, communities and fellow travellers. It has encouraged, in particular, the youth of Europe and the wider world to meet, share and participate in defining the future of food. It has also inspired and motivated many of the small producers who face such uncertainty today.
Certainly, the challenges thrown up by Brexit will motivate Slow Food in Scotland to celebrate these opportunities, protect them and work to ensure they are not diminished or restricted.