By Erin Knutson

Special to The Pioneer

Invermere councillor Spring Hawes and Bill Swan of the Groundswell Community Greenhouse have been selected to attend the Terra Madre Slow Food Conference in Torino, Italy from October 23rd to 27th.

The local delegates are foodies and members of an international slow food movement that promises to maintain the integrity of local food production and fair labour practices, while celebrating food biodiversity.

Over 5,000 people will be attending the conference all interested in the values of slow food, said Mr. Swan, executive director for Groundswell.

The valley representatives are part of the Canadian chapter for Slow Food.

Slow Food is part of the larger culture, said Mr. Swan.

Bio-diversity, organics and keeping things within the community are part of what it means to be a dedicated member of slow food. On a global level, slow food is a subversive movement against the culture of fast food. The Italians, known for their ancient traditions in wholesome and tantalizing food, have put their foot down and are demanding quality, not quantity. A stand against mechanized food production is being noted by the international community, as well as a commitment to sustainable and healthy living.

Food biodiversity in organics represents a greater diversity in plant species, animals and insects. As such, a bio-diverse farm will be a more stable environment than one with homogenized food sources. The benefits of cultivating local and bio-diverse plant species is that they are genetically superior to homogenized food sources in terms of combatting diseases that their counterparts are more susceptible to. Organic farming is an eco-friendly method that ensures the maintenance of soil quality and ensures the survival of healthy crops.

Slow food is good for the developing world, said Mr. Swan. With the promotion of local food sources and fair labour practices, developing countries are able to get a foothold in business and contribute to their local infrastructure. Labour policies respect the worker and enhance awareness of whole food. The popularity of the movement is evident in the 125 countries that have come on board since its inception in 1986.

Slow food is important for the preservation of cultural heritage, Mr. Swan said.