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Advocates of slow food, slow coffee move fast

/ 05:10 AM October 11, 2020

Quality Filipino ingredients ready to tickle the tastebuds.—CHIT JUAN

One of the great advocacies in the food industry in the past few decades is for a return to slow food, hence the creation of the Slow Food movement by Carlo Petrini.

Petrini actually founded the organization way back in 1986 to protest against the opening of a McDonald’s near the Spanish Steps in Rome. Then in 1989, the founding manifesto of the international Slow Food movement was signed in Paris, France, by delegates from 15 countries. Today, the network covers 160 countries.


Back in those early days, Petrini was already promoting local food and traditional cooking. He advocated an appreciation of quality food that is cooked the traditional, slow way as opposed to fast food. The movement also spoke against overproduction and food waste.

Pope Francis, the advocate

Just last September, Petrini found a great influencer to join the movement: His Holiness Pope Francis, who authored an encyclical called Laudati Si. The Pope’s message of caring for the environment very much identifies with the message of the Slow Food movement.


Petrini later found himself in the Vatican, speaking with the Pope on ecological sustainability and solidarity. The two have teamed up for this environmental appeal.

Terra Madre 2020

Last Oct. 8, Slow Food launched Terra Madre 2020—a worldwide Slow Food festival where participants such as chefs, activists, farmers, fishers and academics can unite for our food, our planet and our future.

This is a festival usually held in Turin, Italy, but this time, there will be both actual and virtual events running for six months or up to April 2021. Online registration for the digital events, according to their announcement, will be free.

The Terra Madre campaign seeks to reiterate the message that while there is an urgent pandemic that must be addressed now, the underlying bigger problem is still the ongoing climate and environmental crisis.

They are proposing a solution: “We have a response: biodiversity. How is it possible to feed the planet guaranteeing good, clean and fair food for all? What can we do to reverse a development model that creates social and environmental disasters, eroding our natural capital? Slow Food maintains that the only way forward is through the promotion of biodiversity in all its forms: from invisible bacteria to the largest species, as well as the diversity of human knowledge and cultures. This mission is more timely and urgent than ever.”

To participate, visit You can join as an exhibitor at The Market, the B2B effort of Terra Madre, or you can simply log online and watch the carefully curated digital videos and attend the various fora and workshops.

Slow coffee

Meanwhile, Chit Juan, who is both a counselor of the Slow Food movement and a coffee advocate, makes specific mention of “slow coffee.”


To further promote “slow coffee” in the Philippines, the Philippine Coffee Board is launching an online program called “Meet the Titos and Tita of Coffee.” They are: Evelyn Poblete Asuncion, widow of Silang coffee trader Enrile “Totoy” Asuncion, who pioneered the export of robusta beans to Boyd Coffee and other big roasters in the United States; Jose “Joe” Mercado, who founded brands like Cafe de Lipa; Ernest Escaler, who was one of those who influenced the beginnings of specialty coffee in the Philippines by supplying coffee to restaurants like Cafe Adriatico, Bistro Lorenzo, and hotels; and Manny Torrejon, who had a roastery called Cafex, bought by UCC some years ago.

The series will be on Oct. 16, 23 and 30 on the Philippine Coffee Board Facebook page.

Coffee Month

Incidentally, October is also coffee month so let us join the celebration by supporting cafes. Here are some cafes and stores that have reopened to serve local coffee sustainably sourced from Bukidnon, Benguet, Davao and Sulu: Commune Café in Poblacion, Makati; Kaffe Belardo in Amadeo, Cavite; Coffee Brewtherhood in Iloilo; and Dennis Coffee Garden in Zamboanga City.

If you are still not going out, you might consider replenishing your beans from these sources: Echostore, Siete Baracos (available in supermarkets), Kickstart Coffee, Gourmets Coffee, and SGD Coffee Roastery in San Juan.

As the pandemic has quite literally stopped the world, slowed down economies, suspended travel and kept people at home, this is really the time to immerse ourselves in slow foodFor those of us who cannot wait for this to all be over, let’s just keep calm and drink “slow coffee.”

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TAGS: Carlo Petrini, Slow Food movement
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