SOME 50 local organic farmers and producers in Negros Occidental are joining the two Pop-Up "Earth Markets” in Silay City and Bacolod City this month.

The Earth Markets will open at Casa A. Gamboa on Rizal Street in Silay City on March 20 and 21, and the second one at the Kadiwa Market at May’s Organic Garden in Barangay Pahanocoy, Bacolod City on March 27 and 28.

The “Earth Markets” is a project of the Slow Food Community of Negros Island. It is one of the highlights of the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto Festival 2020-2021.

The two new "Earth Markets" opening in Negros Occidental will be in addition to the worldwide Slow Food community.

“Earth Markets” is an international network of markets that work in accordance with the principles of “slow food.”

The Slow Food Community of Negros Island commits to “promoting and preserving the traditional food of Negros Island" and to change the local food system one step at a time.

Slow Food Community of Negros Island president Doreen “Reena” Gamboa, in a statement yesterday, said they will showcase local produce and products from organic farmers and fishermen from all over Negros Occidental.

"We are bringing good, clean, and fair shopping opportunities to the local community. The produce are local, fresh and seasonal,” Gamboa added.

Ramon “Chinchin” Uy Jr., a member of the Slow Food Community of Negros Island, said the main focus of the Earth Markets is the small producers and food craftsmen; both markets will have different producers selling a wide range of produce.

For the Silay market, there will be farmers that are primarily from the north, and for Bacolod, it will mostly be farmers from the central and southern portions of the province, Uy said.

Each farmer’s specific produce brings something new to the mix of each market, he said, adding that they sell only what they produce and they can personally guarantee the quality of their products.

There will be products ranging from heirloom rice, shade-grown coffee, muscovado sugar, wild honey, dried fish, cacao, mushrooms and vinegar, among others.

“We will also be holding talks as well as cooking demos of recipes from our best-selling Negrense Heritage Cooking book, as well as talks about agroecological farming, organic farming, sustainable fisheries, and Ark of Taste ingredients like criollo cacao, tinigib corn, batuan, and kadyos beans, and more," Uy said.

The Ark of Taste is an international catalog of endangered heritage foods and is designed to preserve at-risk foods that are sustainably produced, unique in taste, and part of a distinct ecoregion.

Gamboa, for her part, added that "we are also looking to make the Earth Market a regular habit, and furthering collaboration with Slow Food through the Slow Food Travel pilot project here in partnership with the Department of Tourism and the Department of Agriculture."

"Our goal is to constantly reinvent the island and turn it into a destination for sustainability, a model of biodiversity conservation and a network of Good, Clean and Fair producers, with our dream of someday making it a Slow Food Island," she said.

Meanwhile, organizers also assured the public that the activities will observe health protocols in light of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) threat.

These include observing required physical distancing, wearing of face mask and face shield, checking of body temperature, using a contract tracing system, and washing of hands.

For inquiries on Pop-Up Earth Markets, the organizers can be reached through 09228534430 and 09173002446. (EPN)