Reimagining a healthier and more sustainable Barbados

Reimagining a healthier and more sustainable Barbados

By: Rhe-Ann Prescod

A Thursday night filled with thought-provoking discussions, delectable food and cocktails, and heartwarming stories. That’s how the first event of the Food and Rum Festival was kicked off at the Grande Salle of the Frank Collymore Hall!

The topic of the night was “The Slow Food Movement: Celebrating 10 Years of Service” and it was the first of the three-part “Culture of Cuisine” Lecture Series.

The Welcome

Hosted during Tourism Week, CEO of Barbados Tourism and Marketing Inc (BTMI) Dr. Jens Thraenhart​, welcomed the audience by congratulating the Slow Food Movement on their huge achievement and highlighting the relevance of the topic. He further spoke on the importance of hosting events like the lecture, during the Food and Rum Festival, to teach people about sustainable food practices.

The Master of Ceremonies for the evening Ms. Paula-Anne Jackman subsequently introduced the four featured speakers, Director of Slow Food Movement, Julie McNeel and partners Andrea Power, Charlotte Prud’Homme and Joel Headley.

The speakers provided the audience with a cultured discussion, giving a holistic view of each person's contribution to the movement.

Capturing the Movement

Julie, enlightened us with a brief history of the Slow Food Movement, thanking her husband, Ian McNeel and farmer John Hunte who co-founded the movement, for their tireless work, activism and motivation to the cause. She further gave the audience insight into the tremendous work that is being done within local communities in their effort to promote the notion that “vulnerable people don’t have to eat vulnerable foods”. She also advocated for people to adopt more self-reliant and sustainable practices.

Following, Andrea introduced the audience to the term “Food Sovereignty” which is the right of people to healthy and culturally appropriate food, produced using ecologically sound and sustainable methods. To say the least, she left most people questioning the role each of us can play in achieving this.

Charlotte Prud’Homme made us reflect on the kind of Barbados we would like to see in the next 5-15 years and captivated us with her work as a Regeneration Specialist at Walker’s Reserve. She stressed the importance of green spaces and urged everyone to reconnect with nature and buy local organically grown food that is beneficial to our communities and bodies.

Wrapping up the presentation, Joel Headley recapped the touching story of the Slow Food Soup Drive and its impact on low-income households. He described the initiative as a “Labour of Love” which everyone got a taste of, as guests were invited to sample the soup.

Audience members were also given the opportunity to engage with the speakers during a final Q&A and were encouraged to join the Slow Seven social media challenge if they wanted to further contribute to the movement.

Dine and Rum

To end the night, guests were dined by Chef Creig and his mouth-watering gourmet bites and wined, but “rumed” in this case, by mixologist Shane McClean’s delicious cocktails.

The intimate event left the audience's minds stimulated, souls motivated and bellies full, which marked a great start to a month full of excitement.

The next lecture will be held on October 8th at The Grande Salle of the Frank Collymore Hall on “A History of Barbados Rum” featuring Richard Seale.

See you there!