“Forget the imported vegetables and foreign fruit; now it’s all about fresh, local and sustainable.” – quote from a farmer at the Slow Food festival in Fiskars.
Slow Food Västnyland’s food festival is one of the largest and most colourful food festivals of autumn and it took place again in Fiskars Village on 6-7 October 2018. The local food markets were held in Fiskars Village in The Copper Smithy and the Old Granary.
The Slow Food Movement was founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986. The movement was born in Italy. However, it has expanded in hundreds of countries all over the world. It is a global initiative focused on encouraging people to stop eating fast food and taking the time to prepare and eat locally-sourced food. It is focused on nutrition as well as on cultural heritage related to food. Therefore, its mission is to protect the interests of small-scale food producers and to promote the pleasure and taste of good food.
Every year farmers present their local food at the Slow Food festival and convince numerous visitors with their quality and taste. This festival is a great opportunity to gather fresh inspiration, to discover new ideas and to observe in which direction the food landscape is currently developing. Moreover, it is offering the possibility to get to know the farmers and their local products better and to ask open questions. There is also something for every taste: local vegetables, fruit, bread, biscuits, soup, meat, spices, fish, honey, marmalade, mustard or cider.
But how do they differ from the mass products in the supermarket? What is the special about farmer markets? Why we should buy their food? We asked some farmers in Fiskars about these topics. Those answers were more than interesting. “The difference is that we produce with love.” But what does that mean? Nowadays mono-cropping is more than common worldwide. This means just big fields with just one kind of crop year over and over. To keep the crop growing as fast as possible fertilizers are used. Also, chemicals to fight against diseases, this will affect taste. On the other hand, the farmers we talked to in Fiskars produce food in the old way, nature will do the rest. We will take the environment into account when we are producing. So, for example they are farming in a natural way. The animals are not in a big barn but just outside. This will affect the environment less, there is no big pollution.
Next to all those production factors that the people are taking into account, they are also thinking about transport issues. They want to decrease the food miles as much as possible. This means that feed comes out of the own area and the products are sold in their own area. By purchasing locally grown products, consumers are helping the environment by reducing the carbon footprint. The farmers told us that their products are sold not far away from the place where they were harvested. It means
that the emissions connected with the transportation of the products are very low. Thus, the farmers always want to be as close as possible to the consumer.
Moreover, the globalization and industrialization of food has resulted in standardizing taste and is destroying many food flavors. For example, fast food always tastes the same, it does not matter where people buy it. The farmers from the Slow Food Festival in Fiskars confirmed us, that the taste of food is the most important factor for them, since they are trying to preserve biodiversity of food.
All in all, you can say that the unique selling proposition of the farmer markets is that farmers preserve biological and tasty diversity and commit themselves to responsible agriculture and fishing as well as to species-appropriate livestock breeding.
The Slow Food Festival is more than interesting for everyone with a good taste. We are more than happy to see that people are working on a sustainable food supply chain to continue a health and sustainable environment and life.
Text and pictures: Franziska Biber, Machiel Swinkels, Veronika Janova