April 17, 2024

CPS

Travel Adventure

Slow Food in Kamloops – Kamloops This Week

3 min read

Learning how The Stir can help shape Kamloops’ regional identity around food.

In May of 2023, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Tourism Kamloops and the TRU Faculty of Tourism, I was able to attend TRU’s TMGT 3980 Italy Field Course in Tuscany to learn more about culinary tourism and how The Stir can help shape Kamloops’ regional identity around food. A group of 20 students and 4 TRU professors from the faculties of Tourism and Culinary Arts stayed in Montespertoli, a small village in Tuscany, for 2 weeks and attended a series of lectures and field trips focused on local food systems and how they can be a driver for tourism.

Our final lecture in this course was from Dr. Silvia Rolandi from the University of Pisa about the Slow Food Movement. This project resonated with me and the values of the Kamloops Food Policy Council. Slow Food was founded in Italy as a non-profit organization in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, and to protect biodiversity. Slow food is primarily a volunteer-run organization and has grown into a global movement, involving millions of people in over 160 countries, working to ensure everyone has access to good, clean, and fair food. Through our food choices, we can collectively influence how food is cultivated, produced, and distributed, and change the world as a result.

“With fast food, wherever you are, you always find the same tastes,” said Dr. Rolandi during her lecture. It may feel comfortable to find the same McDonald’s burger wherever we travel, but we miss out on the opportunity to taste the culinary flavours and traditions that make each place we visit unique. Whether at home or abroad, choosing fast food means voting for industrial agriculture. Slow Food helps connect consumers with foods that are locally cultivated and processed with traditional methods by local people, and helps small-scale food producers work together to compete in a global market.

In the mid-’90s, Slow Food began to understand the urgency of protecting food biodiversity and founded the Ark of Taste – a virtual catalog of foods that are at risk of extinction from the threats of industrial agriculture, the standardization and large-scale distribution of global food markets, and environmental degradation. The global Ark of Taste now includes over 6000 foods from over 150 countries.

Anyone can apply to Slow Food to add a food to the Ark of Taste. Applications can be for a specific plant or animal variety, product, or preparation technique. The Canadian Ark of Taste reflects Canada’s vast, diverse landscape of peoples and foods. Particularly important to Canada’s Ark of Taste are foods from Indigenous diets and cultures. Protecting these traditional foods is important for their continued existence, as well as for preserving the historical knowledge and practices associated with them. Foods that are currently in the Canadian Ark of Taste include Okanagan sockeye salmon, the Saskatoon berry, and red fife wheat.

As a first step in envisioning a regional culinary identity for the Kamloops area, the Kamloops Food Policy Council met at our monthly Network Meeting and Potluck on October 4th to brainstorm foods from our region that we could submit to the Canadian Ark of Taste. Together, we assessed each suggestion according to the Ark of Taste’s criteria to narrow down our selections.

Our final list included: sagebrush, steelhead trout, mariposa lily, yellow lily, chocolate lily, wild strawberry, soapberry, huckleberry, thimble berry, juniper berry, chokecherry, the ‘Pollock Special’ tomato, cattail, balsamroot, wapato, fireweed shoot, morel mushrooms, shaggy mane mushrooms, mullein, muskrat, grouse, coho salmon, birch syrup, chaga, spruce tip, and the crowd favourite, “Pachos” from Carlos O’Bryan’s in downtown Kamloops. Some foods on this list are also found across BC and Canada, but are not currently in the Canadian Ark of Taste. With our volunteers, we will continue to research these foods and determine which ones are most appropriate to submit to the Canadian Ark of Taste.

If you have an idea of important Kamloops’ regional foods that we missed, please send me an email at [email protected]. To stay updated on the progress of these submissions and our evolving regional brand, follow @thestir.kitchen and @kamloopsfoodpolicy on Instagram and Facebook!

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