Preserving Local Food Traditions at Terra Madre Visayas 2023

Terra Madre Visayas 2023 is a first-of-its-kind event that showcases the rich culinary and cultural diversity of the Visayas region in the Philippines. The event is inspired by the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto in Turin, Italy, the world’s largest slow food and wine fair. Terra Madre Visayas highlights the importance of preserving local food traditions, promoting sustainable agriculture, and supporting small-scale farmers and food artisans.

The event is organized by the province of Negros Occidental in partnership with Slow Food International and other local government agencies. It will feature various activities such as food tastings, cooking demonstrations, workshops, and cultural performances. The event will also bring together farmers, chefs, food activists, and other stakeholders to exchange knowledge, ideas, and experiences on sustainable food systems.

Terra Madre Visayas 2023 is an exciting opportunity to discover the Visayas region’s rich flavors, traditions, and stories. It celebrates the diversity of local food cultures and promotes the importance of preserving them for future generations. Whether you are a food enthusiast, a farmer, a chef, or a food activist, this event is not to be missed.

Terra Madre Visayas 2023

The event took place in Bacolod City, the capital of Negros Occidental, last November 15-19, 2023. The Provincial Government of Negros Occidental is the lead organizer of the event, with the support of Slow Food Negros and other local partners.

Puro Organic Artisanal Piyaya
Puro Organic Artisanal Piyaya

One of the main objectives of Terra Madre Visayas 2023 is to promote Slow Food, a global movement that advocates for good, clean, and fair food for all. The event will feature a marketplace where farmers, fisherfolk, and other food producers from the Visayas region can showcase their products and interact with consumers.

Moreover, Terra Madre Visayas 2023 will also host a series of conferences, workshops, and cultural events that will explore various topics related to food, agriculture, and sustainability. The event will provide a platform for experts, practitioners, and enthusiasts to exchange ideas, best practices, and innovations.

As a supporter, I am thrilled to see the positive impact that Terra Madre Visayas 2023 will have on the region. It will not only boost the local economy but also raise awareness about the importance of preserving our food heritage and promoting sustainable food systems.

Role of Slow Food International

As an international organization that promotes good, clean, and fair food, Slow Food International plays a significant role in Terra Madre Visayas 2023. The event is a partnership between the Slow Food Community of Negros and Slow Food International, among other local government agencies.

The Slow Food Community of Negros is a local organization that advocates for the preservation of local food culture and biodiversity. It is a part of the larger Slow Food community, a global network of food activists and enthusiasts. Slow Food International provides guidance, support, and resources to local communities like the Slow Food Community of Negros.

Paolo Di Croce, the General Secretary of Slow Food International, says that Terra Madre Visayas 2023 is an opportunity to showcase the Visayas region’s rich food culture and biodiversity. He believes that the event will help to promote sustainable food systems and raise awareness about the importance of preserving local food traditions.

At Terra Madre Visayas 2023, a team of experts, including chefs, food artisans, and farmers, will represent Slow Food International. They will share their knowledge and expertise with the local community and visitors. Slow Food International will also support the event, including logistical and organizational assistance.

Involvement of Local Government and Organizations

The Provincial Government of Negros Occidental, known as the Organic Capital of the Philippines, has spearheaded this event in partnership with Slow Food International, Department of Tourism, Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and Abanse Negrense. This collaboration has allowed the event to showcase the region’s rich and diverse food culture and biodiversity.

The Department of Tourism has been instrumental in promoting the event to local and foreign tourists. Their support has been a great help in making the event a success. Meanwhile, Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, who is also a slow food advocate, has been instrumental in promoting the Slow Food movement in the Philippines. Her involvement in the event has brought more attention to the cause and helped attract more visitors.

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts has also been involved in the event, showcasing the region’s unique cultural heritage. Their involvement has helped in highlighting the importance of preserving the region’s food and cultural traditions.

Abanse Negrense, a local organization that promotes sustainable agriculture and rural development, has also played a vital role in the event. They have helped in showcasing the region’s local produce and promoting sustainable farming practices.

Agriculture and Biodiversity in Visayas

As we explore the Terra Madre Visayas 2023, I can’t help but be amazed by the rich agriculture and biodiversity in the Visayas region. This region is known for its fertile land and suitable climate for growing various crops. The farmers in Visayas are hardworking and dedicated to providing high-quality produce.

One of the main focuses of Terra Madre Visayas is promoting organic and sustainable food production. The event showcases the importance of clean and healthy food, which is produced without the use of harmful chemicals. This approach benefits the environment and supports farmers’ livelihood by providing a fair price for their produce.

Negrense Dried Fish
Negrense Dried Fish

Negros Island, known as the Organic Capital of the Philippines, is a prime example of sustainable agriculture in Visayas. The island has diverse organic farms that produce high-quality crops such as rice, sugarcane, and vegetables. These farms use natural methods to grow food, which helps to preserve the environment and biodiversity.

The Terra Madre Visayas event is an excellent opportunity to learn about the different crops grown in Visayas and how they contribute to the region’s biodiversity. The event showcases various activities, including cooking demonstrations, food tastings, and farmer’s markets, highlighting the region’s rich culinary heritage.

Cultural Significance

As a cultural event, Terra Madre Visayas 2023 holds great significance for the people of Negros Occidental and the Philippines as a whole. The event brings together farmers, artisans, and food enthusiasts to celebrate the region’s rich cultural traditions and promote sustainable food practices.

One of the primary goals of Terra Madre Visayas 2023 is to showcase the diverse cultural heritage of the Philippines. The event features food, music, and art from various cities in Negros, providing a platform for local artists and artisans to share their talents with a wider audience.

Grilled Eeel
Grilled Eeel
Fern Fritters from Capiz
Fern Fritters from Capiz

At the heart of Terra Madre Visayas 2023 is a commitment to preserving traditional food practices and promoting sustainable agriculture. The event encourages farmers to adopt organic farming methods and empowers consumers to make informed choices about the food they eat.

As Reena Gamboa, the event’s organizer and a member of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, explains, “Terra Madre Visayas 2023 is about celebrating our cultural heritage and promoting sustainable food practices that benefit both farmers and consumers. By sharing our traditions and knowledge, we can build a stronger, more resilient food system for future generations.”

Sud-an cookbook: Rediscovering Western Visayas cuisine

Reena Gamboa during the launch of SUD-AN Cookbook
Reena Gamboa during the launch of SUD-AN Cookbook

The Department of Tourism and the Slow Food Community of Negros Island unveiled the cookbook “Sud-an: Rediscovering Western Visayas Cuisine through the Ark of Taste” in a special ceremony at the Negros Residences in Bacolod City on Wednesday (Nov. 15, 2023). This unveiling marked the beginning of the 1st Terra Madre Visayas, a five-day event aimed at celebrating small-scale, traditional, and sustainable food production in the region.

Workshops and Festivals

One of the most exciting workshops was the Taste Workshops. These workshops were designed to give attendees a chance to taste a variety of food and drinks from different regions of the Philippines. The workshops were led by experts in the field, who shared their knowledge and insights about the different flavors and ingredients.

Another festival that caught my attention was the Organic Farmers Festival. This festival showcased the best of organic offerings, as visitors feasted on an array of farm produce, products, and merchandise. The Negros Island Organic Farmers Festival was also held at the same time and venue as the Terra Madre Visayas, making it a great opportunity for visitors to experience both festivals.

The workshops were also a great learning experience. There were workshops on topics such as sustainable agriculture, food security, and biodiversity. The workshops were led by experts in the field, who shared their knowledge and insights about the different topics.

Ark of Taste and Culinary Traditions

One of the key themes of the event is the Ark of Taste. The Ark of Taste is a living catalog of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction. It is a global initiative of Slow Food International to preserve food biodiversity and promote sustainable agriculture.

Organic Muscovado Sugar and Honey
Organic Muscovado Sugar and Honey

As a consumer, I am thrilled to learn about the Ark of Taste and the unique culinary traditions that it represents. By choosing to support these products, I am not only enjoying delicious food, but I am also contributing to the preservation of our food heritage and the livelihoods of small-scale farmers.

Pinindang from Antique
Pinindang from Antique

As a cook, I am inspired by the diverse ingredients included in the Ark of Taste. From the Visayas region, I discovered the kadyos beans, which are a local variety of pigeon peas. These beans have a nutty flavor and creamy texture that makes them perfect for stews and soups.

Kadyos beans
Kadyos beans
Fresh Batuan
Fresh Batuan

During Terra Madre Visayas 2023, I had the opportunity to taste some of these unique ingredients and dishes. The event showcased the creativity and skills of local chefs who incorporated Ark of Taste products into their menus.

Tultul Artisanal Salt Block from Guimaras
Tultul Artisanal Salt Block from Guimaras

At one of the local restaurants in Bacolod called Lanai by FreshStart, we sampled some of their slowfood offerings, including cocktails highlighting produce from organic farmers and Ark of Taste ingredients from Negros.

Ramon “ChinChin” Uy Jr. is a passionate organic farmer, social entrepreneur, and young leader in the organic movement. His business, Lanai by FreshStart, is a testament to his dedication to organic agriculture, fair trade, slow food, eco/agri tourism, and environmental preservation. With an unwavering commitment to these causes, he is a powerful advocate for a sustainable future.

Produce and Products

I had the pleasure of attending the Terra Madre Visayas 2023 event in Bacolod City, and I was blown away by the variety and quality of produce and products on display. The event was designed to promote good, clean, and fair food sources, and it certainly delivered.

The Organic Fair and Exhibit was a standout feature of the festival, showcasing the best of organic offerings. From fresh fruits and vegetables to artisanal cheeses and baked goods, there was something for everyone. I was particularly impressed by the variety of coffee, with several local roasters showcasing their unique blends.

Coffee from Murcia
Coffee from Murcia

One of the highlights of our media tour was the visit to the coffee farms in Murcia. Learning about the other flavor profiles and brewing techniques was fascinating, and I came away with a newfound appreciation for the art of coffee roasting.

Cacao Nibs
Cacao Nibs

We also visited the Chris Fadriga Cacao Nursery and Plantation in Bago City. Chris Fadriga, a Negrense farmer from Brgy., Atipuluan, Bago City, has achieved a remarkable feat – his heirloom criollo cocoa has won the gold award at the 2021 International Cocoa Awards (ICA) in Paris, making him one of only three Filipinos to be recognized as one of the world’s best cocoa producers!

As we toured Mr. Fadriga’s farm, he proudly showed us the criollo varieties he was growing – remnants of the old Mexican cacao. “We have a special collection of criollo cacao from Batangas, Cebu, and Siquijor,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “We’ve set up nurseries to propagate them so that generations of future chocolatiers can enjoy their unique flavors.”

In addition to the food and drink, there were also several vendors selling handmade crafts and products. I picked up a few souvenirs to take home, including a beautiful handwoven basket and a jar of locally sourced honey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Terra Madre Visayas and how is it related to Slow Food?

Terra Madre Visayas is the first-ever event of its kind held in the Visayan region. The event is a collaboration between the Organic Capital of the Philippines, Negros Occidental, and Slow Food International. Terra Madre Visayas is designed to promote good, clean, and fair food sources. Slow Food International is a global grassroots organization that advocates for food that is good for people, the planet, and animals. Terra Madre is Slow Food’s network of food communities that work together to protect food biodiversity and promote sustainable food systems.

What are the highlights of the Terra Madre Visayas 2023 tour?

The Terra Madre Visayas 2023 tour will showcase the rich cultural and culinary heritage of the Visayan region. Participants will have the opportunity to visit local farms, markets, and food communities. They will also get to taste traditional Visayan dishes prepared by local chefs and food artisans. The tour will also include workshops and seminars on sustainable food production, food preservation, and food entrepreneurship.

Who are the participants of Terra Madre Visayas 2023?

The participants of Terra Madre Visayas 2023 are food enthusiasts, farmers, chefs, food artisans, and other stakeholders in the food industry. They come from different parts of the Philippines and other countries. The event is open to anyone who is interested in promoting sustainable food systems and preserving food biodiversity.

What is the significance of Terra Madre Visayas 2023 for the Visayan region?

Terra Madre Visayas 2023 is significant for the Visayan region because it promotes sustainable food systems and preserves food biodiversity. The event showcases the rich cultural and culinary heritage of the Visayan region. It also provides a platform for local farmers, food artisans, and entrepreneurs to showcase their products and skills. Terra Madre Visayas 2023 is an opportunity for the Visayan region to be recognized as a hub of sustainable food production and culinary excellence.

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