Slow Food Heroes: a Taste@Home box to face the Covid19 emergency

photo Adele Garret: Carla Ulrich
photo Katrin Simonis: Fabian GrimmKatrin

Since its founding, Slow Food Youth Berlin has worked with local producers to help them value and promote their activities. During the pandemic, this work that was always done mostly physically became online, without losing the usual passion. Katrin and Adèle from Slow Food Youth Berlin created the first [email protected] box, trying to help producers present their products during online tastings. The box was delivered by bicycle through an initiative with which they collaborated. They organized this event during lockdown twice, with different products.

“It was very funny!”. These are the first words with which Katrin Simonis and Adèle Garrett from Slow Food Youth Berlin describe their idea.

It’s really strange to hear that, tied to a time in history when the entire globe was anything but fun. The pandemic has spread far and wide and millions of people have seen not only their lives but also years of work and effort, professionally speaking, at risk. This was the case, for example, of small producers who, overwhelmed by market bans and the various blocking rules, were at risk of not selling a large part of their harvest.

But it is in the nature of young people to have energy, ideas and purpose, to see in every difficulty an opportunity, a way to get up and move forward.

And this is the story of Katrin Simonis and Adèle Garret, who during the first lockdown of 2020 were looking for an idea to be more active and help the community face the emergency. And that’s how they implemented the [email protected] Cashier.

“Since the idea was conceived, we managed to organize the first event in a few weeks, running out of time”, they explain. “We were so excited about it that we did our best to make it possible.”

“We think not only of the producers – Katrin and Adèle tell us – who were no longer able to sell their products, survive the competition from the large supermarkets that seemed to be the only way to shop during the lockdown and, above all, were no longer able to promote their products. work and philosophy. We also think about consumers, who could no longer choose how they bought and were confined at home, with plenty of time to also learn and plant the seeds of change in the way they eat after the end of the pandemic. It was the right opportunity!”

So, while the world stopped, in Germany this group of young activists did everything they could to find local producers, collect their products, organize tastings and deliver the boxes free of charge to anyone who decided to participate.

“We wanted to introduce people in Berlin to good local producers and open up a conversation between producers and consumers so they could get to know the people behind our food better.”

Participants paid for the products, a box of cheese, wine, bread and chocolate, which were delivered free of charge by Schokofahrt with their cargo bikes.

“We had 70 participants and we were impressed with positive feedback and comments, both from producers, who were able to explain what they do, and from consumers, who discovered new realities around them. In the end, we donated the money to the Slow Food Youth Group in Berlin to help organize new educational activities,” he concluded. “We are very happy that we were able to lend a hand and make people come together, even if virtually, to know their good, clean and fair food around them.”

“It is not difficult to create initiatives like ours. All you need to do is connect interested consumers and small local producers who grow according to the Slow Food philosophy. The means to organize online tastings are numerous now. The only critical issue is perhaps the delivery of products, which must be sustainable and not rely on systems that favor emissions or pollution. Perhaps the suggestion is to keep these initiatives within a limited radius or to have volunteers who can help with product deliveries, perhaps in a single point in the city. The SFYN network is available to welcome other young people and organize other similar initiatives together: only together can we change the food system, starting even in our spare time or when it seems that all is lost”, added the two activists. .

Slow Food Heroes is a project funded by the European Cultural Foundation, with the contribution of the CRC Foundation.
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