The slow food ideology is to encourage people to slow down their lifestyle, re-cultivate their sensory senses, and cherish their local ingredients and culture. The food only needs to be simply cooked, and we can enjoy the natural taste and fragrance of our land.
Through this festival consumers can choose more local agricultural products and fresh produce in the season. Besides that, the small companies will provide extra information about local food, where the companies are placed and why supporting local companies is good for the environment. All of the green products were grown and all of the fish were caught locally. The producers do not need to transport the food for long distance, because they grow and sell the products locally. The farmers who grow the vegetables are selling the those to local restaurants or have a small shop at the farm. People who are interested in buying fresh and local products will go to the farm and buy the products in the shops. They also emphasize the joy of everyday food for everyone.
Restoring the connection between human and nature through food can make people enjoy the joy of food. To reflect this philosophy, those who like slow food developed the concept of food quality, including three basic principles of mutual independence: quality, cleanness, and fairness. First, the quality emphasizes on freshness, taste and season. The connection between food and culture is very important. It can also reflect on local culture. Second, the cleanness emphasizes production and cooking methods should respect the environment and health. The last one is fairness. It means that products should have a price that is accessible to consumers and also to owners. With these three slow food principles, we can have a more wonderful life.
When we visited the slow food festival in Fiskars, we spoke to several people who were selling their fresh products. The first company we spoke with is called Lill-Breds and it grows and sells for example watermelons, brussels sprouts and apples. We didn’t know that it was possible to grow watermelons in Finland. The company normally sells their products to local restaurants and also in their own shop, which is located in the farm. Lots of people who cross the farm buy fresh vegetables and/or fruits. The farmer told us that they grow their products organic way and they don’t use for example any pesticides. Still they can’t officially call their products organic because they haven’t certified their products. That’s one of the main reasons that makes sales activities important to farmers that they can tell customers how they produce their products.
The next company we spoke with, is called M. Lignell and it was selling fresh fish, mostly salmon. These fishes were caught either from the Baltic sea or close to Norway and all of them were caught by the man who was selling them. The company was small family company and they sell their products mainly in local markets and events. The third company we spoke with, Södergårds, were as well selling their products mainly on local markets and events but also sporadically some local restaurants buy their products. Södergårds products were mostly spelt, flour and baking yeast and they were also locally and environmentally friendly produced.
For the producers it’s very important that there are events like Fiskars slow food festival because for the small companies local events are often the most important place where they can get their products sold. Food festivals and sales activities are also great way to bring producers and customers together. Customers can get new knowledge of products and small companies and producers can get their companies visible.
Some flour products from Södergårds
All these companies had a few things in common. Those were for example using local resources, selling the products to the local communities and making people aware of the importance of local food. The main thing about locality is avoiding foodmiles as much as possible. Foodmiles mean the amount of kilometers the product travels until it is at the place where it will be sold. The more foodmiles product has, the worse it is for the environment, because of the high CO2 emission, which makes avoiding foodmiles very important.
Text and pictures: Johanna Oksanen, Henrika Huuskonen, Ching Chieh Wang, Emiel van Pelt