Food festivals and conferences

Who knew how many and varied they could be? Google any food type nowadays and you’ll find a selection of organised activities around it. It’s spooky really. Here we are in a time when food traditions are disappearing; our ability and will to feed the planet’s out-of-control population are slipping badly; and technology is messing with flavour, quality and our faith in what we eat. And yet, just think of a food and there’s a cult of celebration around it. Is it kind of like clapping very very hard to bring Tinkerbell back to life? I hope not.

Bulgarian National Pepper and Tomato Festival (August). I see no reason why these two excellent vegetables (yes, I know, I know, tomatoes…) should not be celebrated, and even celebrated together.

Finally a time and place to pay homage to my favourite tuber: the seventh World Potato Congress will be held in Tours, France, 2008 – plenty of time to plan for this one. Call for papers for a simultaneous potato conference is already out. And don’t forget that 2008 is the International Year of the Potato. How will you celebrate?

The Big Cheese, in Caerphilly (July) (a little suspicious of this one: do falconry and fire eating really go with cheese?) And if that’s not silly enough, check out the Cheese Rolling contest in Gloucester (May)

A couple of Slow Food events I hope and plan to be able to attend this year: Slow Fish in Genova May 4-7, 2007 and Cheese, held in Slow Food’s home town of Bra, September 21-24, 2007.

And one I wouldn’t mind taking in for sure: The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, September 8-9, 2007. This year the topic is Food & Morality, taking its spin from Slow Food’s articles of faith:

  • Food and quality – should food be good?
  • Food and safety and the environment – should food be clean?
  • Food and justice – should food be fair?
  • Food and human nature – is it right to take pleasure in food?

As luck would have it I’ll be on the other side of the planet in May, when the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society meets up with the Association for the Study of Food and Society in Victoria – of all places – to talk about Changing Ecologies of Food and Agriculture.

And then (is it just me or are these organisation names getting a little unwieldy?) the Collective Behavior and Social Movements Section of the American Sociological Association is going to host a workshop on the subject of The Morality of Food as a Social Movement at the Collective Behavior and Social Movements conference in August.

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