For the first time, Nordic food cultures converge in the Danish capital for Terra Madre Nordic 2018. Nordic and international guests are set to attend the two-day celebration of food and traditional knowledge. With a dynamic line-up of speakers and exhibitors, the event showcases a bright future for food.
What we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner has changed dramatically. Now – more than ever before – we have the liberty of choosing anything from the global pantry. But when was the last time you ate Finnish särki (a small, fresh water fish) or Swedish bruna bönor (brown beans from Öland)? These locally produced foods that once decked our tables have slowly faded away, taking with them the traditions and know-how that made up local food culture.
Democratising Good Food
Slow Food, an international grassroots organization, wants to change that. For the past 28 years, the organization has been on a mission to change the way we eat, for the better. Their philosophy – good, clean and fair – is also the ideology behind Terra Madre Nordic 2018. The event unites small-scale and high-quality producers, activists, academics, civil servants and chefs for their love of food.
“Focusing on traditional breeds and varieties, on small-scale craft production and food cultural traditions is not just a hobby or elitist interest, it is part of our cultural heritage, the history of our countries and a way of keeping alive remote and rural areas – all of which heavily affects our way of life and our societies at large” says Johan Dal, Project Manager of Terra Madre Nordic 2018 and Chairman of Slow Food Copenhagen-North Zealand.
But just how can we ensure the protection of intangible heritage like preservation techniques or the protection of genetic crop diversity? The Nordic experience shows one clear trend: get the market to demand it.
Demand for a greater variety of locally grown foods has grown in the Nordics. Just how much is unknown, but there are clear signs that Nordic consumers are demanding more local, seasonal and diverse foods. World-renown chef and restauranteur, Christian Puglisi, has even based his business model on it.
“Diversity to me is a quality in itself. The problem is when we reduce the issue to just being about producing refined calories… I think we should solve the initial problem which is the idea that to feed the world we need to create a lot of calories. The truth is that we have a lot of calories accessible but not a lot of nutrient,” says Puglisi during his on-stage conversation with BBC journalist, Dan Saladino.
A Nordic marketplace
Filling the space between the wheels of artisan cheese and baskets of dried seaweed, there is an air of hopefulness. Producers from North Atlantic to the Baltic Sea grin with pride as they present their treasures to the public. They represent more sustainable fishing methods, conscious and ethical animal production and a less harmful way of working the land. How to actually execute this depends on the country. There are many different models and ideas at play:
“I chose to open my cheese production facility in the middle of the city of Stavanger because I want to influence urban consumers and the way they eat,” says Lise Brunborg, owner and cheese maker at Stavanger Ysteri in Norway.
This article was originally published on Norden.org