MANILA – For its 18th year, World Food Expo (WOFEX) will hold its first Philippine Sustainable Gastronomy (PSG) congress.
Set on August 2 and 3 at the SMX Convention Center, the event will feature talks on topics like food activism, preserving biodiversity, ethical animal eating, and reducing food waste, to name a few.
It will coincide with the 18th WOFEX set on August 1 to 4 both at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City and World Trade Center in Manila.
“This event is about putting together all these stakeholders – from farmers to hoteliers and restaurateurs, even policymakers and educators – to be able to put together a truly comprehensive program so we can take a look at how we can feed our people in a sustainable way moving forward,” said Jennifer Viloria of IISLA Investments, one of the partners of PSG.
“If we can empower the locals in rural communities, they don’t have to abandon their lands and this would help us secure food supply for future generations,” added Viloria. “It will also create more livelihood opportunities for them.”
WOFEX’s Joel Pascual, for his part, said: “We want to make this very special and, by all measures, it really has shaped up to be our biggest edition to date.”
“It’s not a tarpaulin show,” he added. “You can see, feel, touch, and smell the products. You can talk to people. It’s a one-stop shop.”
One of the participants in the first ever PSG event is Jairus Ferrer of iFarms, a start-up company that aims to address pain points in the agriculture industry.
He stressed the importance of “digital disruption” as a way of helping bridge the gap between farmers, supply companies, and consumers.
“We cannot teach farmers because [even if they’re blindfolded], they already know what to do. But they need support on added services,” he said.
“The technology is already mature, all we have to do is create something that will meet their needs,” he added. “If you go to associations, they also have different challenges – like collection, and information on who’s going to buy what at a certain time.”
Also showing her support for WOFEX and PSG is chef Waya Wijangco of Gourmet Gypsy Art Café in Quezon City, where the event’s press conference was held last week.
She shared that sustainability has always been part of her upbringing, and she continues to practice it in her restaurant.
“Here we compost everything. We sort our trash so we sell the recyclables,” she said. “We’ve also redesigned our menu and removed the carbs on the side of the plate. When you order food here, you have to order the side you want. Para kung 'di ka kumakain ng kanin, you can order whatever you want for your food, so there’s less waste. We also use less paper napkins.”
Wijangco’s practices were lauded by Melody Melo-Rijk of World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines, who is also the project manager of the Sustainable Diner project.
“What we are trying to do is to integrate sustainability initiatives in our policies as far as the government is concerned, and for the private sector to embrace sustainability practices in their operations,” she said.
“Consumers should join, too because the whole sustainability issue is not just about the production side, it’s sustainable consumption and production. All of us have a role in this initiative, in this advocacy,” she added.
Here’s a look at the confirmed participants in the first ever PSG:
* “Voting with Your Fork: Food Activism” – Jeannie Javelosa of Echostore, Karla Delgado of Kai Farms, Cherrie Atilano of Agrea Farms, and Jack Flaminiano of Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement as panel members, with Pacita “Chit” Juan of Slow Food Manila as moderator.
* “Slow Travel: A Journey of the Senses” – Ige Ramos of Republic of Taste, Cathy Turvill of Nurture Wellness Village, and Department of Tourism Cordillera Regional Director Venus Tan as panel members, with Clang Garcia of Food Holidays as moderator.
* “Sailing on the Ark of Taste: Expedition to Lola’s Kitchen and Heritage Cuisine” – Rica Buenaflor of Best of Bicol, Chef Tibong Jardeleza of Rafael’s, and Ken Alonso of Proudly Promdi as panel members, with Reena Francisco as moderator.
* “The Conscious Carnivore” – Nicolo Aberasturi of Down To Earth, Olive Puentespina of Malagos Farms, and Gael Papillon of Pamora Farms, and Jairus Ferrer as panel members, with ABS-CBN’s Ces Drilon as moderator.
* “Waste Not, Want Not: Reducing the Food Waste Footprint” – Eric Atanacio of Terra Verde Ecofarms, Mac Florendo of Food Rescue, and Melody Melo-Rijk of World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines as panel members, with Chit Juan as moderator.
* “Food for Change Action Plan” – Asia’s Best Chef Margarita Fores, Vicky Wallace of Bohol Bee Farm, Josie Costales of Costales Farms, and Chef Anthony Raymond of Discovery Leisure as panel members, with Jennifer Viloria of IISLA Investments as moderator.