THE Slow Food Community of Negros Island held a two-day Earth Market Pop-Up from July 16 to 17, 2022 at May's Organic Garden in Barangay Pahanocoy in Bacolod City.

It was held to support the local farmers coming from various organizations, including the Negros Organic Fair Trade Association, Manara Upland Farmers Association, Bukidnon Organic Farmers Association, Mamabel's Garden, Homemade Bacolod, Bajay Patol Agrarian Reform Corp., Chris Fadriga's Criollo Cacao Nursery, Minoyan Murcia Marginal Coffee Growers Inc., Southern Negros Occidental Inc. and Family Farms Incorporated.

Other participants of the event were Catafa-Camingawan Tagukon Farmers Association, Felix Hagad, Twenty-Six Herb Garden, Kalibutan Society Inc. (Kusina Slow Food South), Mushmakulay Mushroom Farm, Haciendero’s Agrarian Reform Cooperative (Harc) and Altertrade Philippines.

Aside from them, the Green Organic Enterprise, Central Philippines State University, Andrea's, Fresh Start and Kopa Association, Eco Agri Foundation, Puro Organic, Victorias Organic Farmers Association and the Confederation of Indigenous People's Organizations in Southern Negros Occidental were also present.

In support of the local artisans, the Sant Jordi Meat Corner by Sifi, Kusinata, Mercanti Veneziana Trading, Nanam, Sienna Sourdough, Timplada, 7 Hectares, Maayo Farms, Twenty Herb Garden and Bogsbrew craft beer and Sagup Negros were also present.

The Slow Food Negros Community is headed by Reena Gamboa.

She said the Earth Market is one of the primary projects that Slow Food international encourages as it highlights the farmers.

“To this day, people don’t realize how important it is to support the farmer (big or small),” she said, adding that it's not just about planting vegetables.

A farmer can grow chickens and pigs and other edible items (and) even fishers are included in the generic term we refer to as farmers.

Without the farmers, none of our precious endemic food sources will be protected.

“The farmers will not only assure you that you have food on the table but also protect the environment because they preserve our food sources, especially what grows naturally to us, thus, continuing our culinary heritage," Gamboa said.

She added, “The farmer is the beginning of the food supply chain, and when you exchange with them, you will understand more of how things are grown and will realize where your food is coming from.”

Gamboa stressed that Slow Food Negros wishes to make every Negrense realize that as an agricultural island, “we should treasure what we have and support the farmers, and help take care of our food sources while using them in our daily lives and promoting what is truly Negrense.”

“That way, we practice GOOD, CLEAN, AND FAIR FOOD. Thank you to all who supported the event, and hopefully, we touch more lives in every activity we do at Slow Food,” she said.

Meanwhile, the undertaking has stimulated good, clean, and fair produce with educational talks and workshops from experts and professionals and the promotion of local foods, drinks, music, and art.

Chef Gabriel Melocoton had a demo cooking on the scrap broth tinola; How businesses can hack the packaging, and a talk by the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation Inc.; Growing a food forest by Jo Anne Coruña; Sanlag sessions: Coffee Cupping by Thomas Sproten and an Interactive program by Sagup Negros.

Claude Schulze talked about Sustainable ranching in the Philippines; Kiko Torno talked about Achieving Sustainable Aquaculture in Negros; Cooking with Ark of Taste by Chef Jairus Cambelisa ; Alupi and Ibos: by Casa A. Gamboa; Sanlag sessions by Teddy Cañete of the Negros Fine Robusta and an interactive program by Sagup Negros.