Canadian National Slow Food Conference 2010

Recently, our Convivium Leader, Thea Moss, attended the Canadian National Slow Food Convention held in Wolfville and Halifax, Nova Scotia, from April 28th to May 3nd. However, due to a snow storm in Calgary, Thea wasn’t able to get there until the evening of the 30th, but she made the most of if once she arrived!
Thea 1
The meeting was hosted by Michael Howell, Convivium Leader of Slow Food Nova Scotia. Michael Howell is well established as one of Nova Scotia’s premier chef’s, and runs Tempest (http://www.tempest.ca/) in in Wolfville. Thea writes: Michael even has celebrity fans- Jason Priestly anyone? Swoon!

Here is a Q and A from Thea about the conference!

What were you looking forward to the most when anticipating the conference?
I had not much exposure to the Slow Food movement beyond Edmonton. I was excited to find out what is it like to be part of a National and International movement.

What was the purpose of the conference?
The purpose of the meeting was to gather the Slow Food Canada executive with Convivium Leaders from around Canada to discuss the business that arises from a burgeoning national association. The secondary purpose was to show off the Nova Scotian Slow Food Convivium – its people and its tables. Around many we sat.

Where did you stay?
I chose the option of staying with billets. In Wolfville I stayed with a couple that reminded me so much of another family I grew up with. One worked at Acadia University in the Math’s department, and the other was a free lance editor. Neither were NS natives, or Slow Food members, but they found the concept of the Slow Food meeting interesting, and were eager to learn about why I was there. In Halifax, I stayed with a girl of Newfoundland-Italian heritage (My goodness, what a firey combination) and her huge dog. She is a self-taught cook who recently opened Emma’s Eatery (http://emmaseatery.ca/) in the Eastern Passage. She has so much passion and creativity! She will go far.

What was the most significant happening for you at this meeting?
The most significant thing that happened to me there was the swelling feeling inside me that it didn’t matter who you were or what you did, it was your commitment to making it Slow that made everyone a part of the group. Also, it really is true that if you are a Slow Food member, you are part-of a worldwide club – people understand you!

What were the outcomes of the meeting?
The outcomes of the meeting were a lot of that business stuff:
– the website needs to improve,
– we need funding and grants,
– more communication mechanisms…
In addition, the Quebecoise emerged as leaders (hmmm, now I need to get this all out in French…), and as proof have offered to host next years meeting in Quebec (Valee de Batiscan). The executive will also be pushing to organize some Canada-wide events in the future.

What was the best thing you ate there?
The best thing I ate was the simplest. On Sunday, after the meeting, we went digging for Soft Shell Clams. Before we went out we cooked a batch that the Clam Digger brought for us, then we ate them raw as we dug. That Clam Digger was a wonderful, wonderful human being, and a poster-boy for the concept of Slow Food. Not only was he eloquent and knowledgable, he was gallant and handsome. He prevented many mud-sinking disasters.

What did you learn about Slow Food (Slow Food Canada) that you didn’t know before?
I learnt that Slow Food Canada, like every other organisation, has its characters and its provocateurs. But perhaps uniquely, as a group we have the ability to walk away from our business-desks, dress for dinner, and enjoy the pleasures of the table, together.
Thea in dress with bags 2
What connections did you make and what plans do you have upon your return?
I shared some fun times with the Calgary Convivium Leader, Kris, and his wife, who have an organic mixed farm in Carstairs. We hit it off and decided that maybe we have something that could be something, you know! (Yes, we may have also been drunk!) So expect to see more interaction between the Edmonton and Calgary Convivium. I also returned with a renewed confidence that the Edmonton Covivium has much to offer Slow Food Canada. But we don’t need to panic about expectations or outputs. We’re on the right track so we can just, you know, take it slow…
oysters