Our very own Duncan Ebata was recently featured by Slow Food Youth Network. Below is an excerpt from their publication Building Future Food Leaders: A Change Makers Guide.
Meet Duncan Ebata. A plating workshop from a Noma chef and having delicious chamomile crème brûlée for dessert didn’t have the same impact on Duncan Ebata as ground lentils, with orange and millet flour for breakfast. This porridge-like meal from Tunisia, derived from peasant food is way more interesting to this Canadian Slow Food Marketeer than the art of plating. Two years ago, he started the SFYN Canada, now Duncan is starting a Community Food Hub in rural Nova Scotia.
At Terra Madre ‘16 Duncan’s goal was to “spend less time on forums and panels and take more time to eat and connect with people.” During his lunch he sat down with Rahul Antao, who’s working for IFAD, to talk more on the topic of youth leaving rural areas to live in the city. During the Building Future Food Leaders meeting they ran into each other. “Rahul always asks rural food producers the question – has your well being improved since you moved to the city? Most people he’d asked in fact said it didn’t improve their wellbeing.
I wonder how much different the world would look like if food producers critically asked themselves this question.” The most significant takeaway from the meeting for Duncan was that food education is a system change strategy that’s far more effective than other informative events. “Using the iceberg model, where campaigns and public awareness events are just the tip, but what’s not immediately visible below the water surface are some things like Food Academies that have the potential to create lasting political and cultural change.”
In Canada and the U.S. motivating youth has been challenging says Duncan, because it’s not very clear what’s in it for them. Starting a Food Academy can offer something different from other movements by providing a more diverse program and bringing people from every part of the food system together.
“Copying successful models like this is a big help so you have the confidence to know this idea will work.” Connecting with fellow delegates, food producers and activists from around the world was the most inspiring and interesting according to Duncan. “I met a woman from Ivory Coast who lives in France and makes artisanal chocolate called “Yeres” as well as two Georgian natural winemakers. We shared her chocolate and talked about natural winemaking. It’s amazing how this kind of sharing creates a deeper connection. That’s what makes this event so special.”
Download the Building FutureFood Leaders 2016 Guide