21 Louth Park Road
Maitland South, NSW 2320

Conference Program (in detail)

Welcome to the National Conference for Slow Food in Australia

Slow Food Hunter Valley members and our food communities welcome you all to the 2017 Slow Food in Australia National Conference. We hope that you are stimulated by the program and take the time to absorb the hospitality of the Hunter Valley people and our beautiful landscape.

Slow Food Hunter Valley is pleased that the Maitland Library invitation to aboriginal author Bruce Pascoe coincided with the planning for this conference. Likewise, we are delighted to be launching the first Earth Market in Australia as part of the work of Slow Food Hunter Valley in conjunction with Maitland City Council. We are proud to partner with the Tocal College to bring this conference to the heritage institution and a place of learning and development of the next generation of farmers.

Slow Food is great about celebrating all that is GOOD about Food. While this is a delicious option, our small farmers and producers will highlight the issues they face in terms of the CLEAN AND FAIR in the Symposium program on Friday. On Saturday we will look at how Slow Food globally and locally achieves solutions that address the issues of “good, clean and fair food for all”.

We have tried to be thought provoking during the day and fun in the evenings. We will consume nose-totail some locally grown Galloway beef; listed on the Ark of Taste, we will yarn around the fire and share the stories of the Wonnarua people with our Indigenous friends in their country, drink local craft beer and biodynamic wine, and savour a wide variety of other locally produced food.

I want to thank the team of Slow Food Hunter Valley members and volunteers who generously contributed their incredible skills to organise a conference like this. We invite you to spend time with each other, talk, debate and work to find the Slow Food solutions. We invite you to tread lightly on our land and celebrate the local champions that work to provide Good Clean and Fair food for all.

Slow regards,
Amorelle Dempster
Leader, Slow Food Hunter Valley

Wednesday 2 August

Hunter Valley Showcase Tours

For locals and for those arriving early who want to make the most of the region, we have arranged some wonderful (optional) tours, lunches and tastings. We know some of you will have travelled a long way so we won’t take you too far (just far enough to immerse you in the local region, food and culture).

Tour one – Slow Wine, History & Tastings 11am-5.30pm

First stop on this tour is Macquariedale Organic Wines in the heart of the Hunter Valley with hosts Ross and Derice MacDonald. Here we will stop for tastings and lunch. Then we travel on to the architecturally stunning Tocal College with our guide Dr Julie McIntyre who will connect us to the cultural landscape by showing us through a rare historic vineyard and the remaining land furrows from the trenching for the vines in the nineteenth century. Our tour finishes at Organic Feast in East Maitland where Brent Fairns will take us through a “good, clean and fair” Hunter wine tasting. 

Tour two – Food Communities in the Hunter Valley 11am-5.30pm

After leaving Maitland we head straight to Shepherds Ground Farm and Eco Village at Butterwick where we will tour the farm with host Marco Forman and Lucie Bruvel who are founding members of this village (www.shepherdsground.com.au). We will have lunch at Shepherd’s Ground and then travel to Little Hill Farm for an hour’s tour. At Little Hill Farm owners Kelly Eaton and Simon Carroll will showcase their pasture raised chickens (raised for meat and egg production). Kelly and Simon recently featured in our Living in the Ark page. We will then head off to Purple Pear Biodynamic Farm at Anambah where Kate Beveridge and Mark Brown will show us around their wonderful mixed farm and host a late afternoon tea. Your guide for this tour will be Ian Clarke.

Tour pick-up and drop-off point

Buses depart at 11:00 am sharp from the Tourist Bus Parking Area in Ken Tubman Drive near the intersection of Ken Tubman Drive and Bulwer Street. It is recommended that cars are parked in the two-storey Council car park in Ken Tubman Drive. The bus parking area is about 200 metres from the car park entrance in the opposite direction to the Quest Apartments.

Please arrange to be ready to board the bus at 10:45 am. Both tours have ambitious schedules, so we will be unable to wait for any latecomers.

Buses will return to the bus parking area at 5:30 pm.

In the map below the car park is shown as a large beige-coloured area across from the Quest Apartments. Once you have parked in the Council car park, make your way out onto Ken Tubman Drive and back up towards Bulwer St. The Tourist Bus Parking area is On Ken Tubman Drive between Bourke and Bulwer Streets.

Council car park entrance.

Entrance to Council car park from Ken Tubman drive. Please park and make your way back to Ken Tubman Drive. The bus will be parked on Ken Tubman Drive.

You will arrive back at central Maitland at (or close to) 5.30pm – just in time for dinner. A list of restaurants will be published for visitors to make their own arrangements for dinner.

Thursday 3 August

Formal Opening and Market Launch

Leaders and convivia representatives meeting

9am – 11.30am Leaders and convivia representatives meeting to discuss our impact on food issues that are relevant to Australia. This is an exciting opportunity for a broad spectrum of leaders, members and representatives to consolidate past wins and forge a strategic direction. Venue: The boardroom at Pitcher Partners, Maitland Office, 20-22 Church Street, Maitland NSW 2320. Morning tea to be provided by Pitcher Partners. Leaders or convivia representatives attending will need to RSVP for this meeting to slowfoodhuntervalley@gmail.com. The agenda will be forwarded to all leadership in Australia prior to the meeting. Those not attending the session will have a free morning to explore the sights of Maitland.

Conference opening and Earth Market launch

12noon – 1:00pm Launch of Australia’s first ever Slow Food Earth Market, Maitland and opening of Slow Food in Australia National Conference 2017. Location: The Levee, Central Maitland.

The opening of the National Conference and the opening of the Earth Market are combined events and will include a Welcome to Country by Aunty Aisne, the national anthem performed by children of Telarah Public School, the City Mayor’s welcome to Maitland, and the official opening of both the conference and Earth Market by Associate Professor  Francesco Sottile, Slow Food International. Join the producers in the ringing of the bell to signify the start of the first Earth Market in Australia.

1:00pm – 2:00pm Lunch in The Levee. Enjoy lunch at participating venues in and around The Levee and the Slow Food Earth market, Maitland. Enjoy lunch at participating venues in and around The Levee and the Slow Food Earth market, Maitland. A list of participating venues and lunch vouchers will be supplied to all delegates when the bookings are confirmed.

Earth Market

2:00pm – 6:00pm Slow Food Earth Market Maitland. Location: The Levee, Maitland.

Attend Australia’s first Earth Market as a market-goer, a volunteer on a stall, or as a stallholder (selling your own produce from your region).

Volunteer to Assist Earth Market farmers / producers
Slow Food members and friends are invited to work on a stall with a local farmer and help sell produce to local market-goers. You will experience local Hunter Valley culture up-close and personal and have some fun at the same time. If you have a t-shirt or apron that identifies your convivium please pack it and wear it for this special event. The local community will also be invited to participate in the festivities of the combined National Conference / Earth Market launch.

Participate as farmer/producer
Any producers from any of the other convivia who wish to participate in this first-ever Australian Earth market by selling produce from their own area will need to let us know of their intentions.

To participate
If you would like to volunteer on a stall with a local farmer or if you want to represent your area at the Earth Market by selling produce from your area, please email Anne Kelly, Honorary Secretary, at slowfoodhuntervalley@gmail.com.

A thought-provoking evening

6:00pm – 8:00pm Bruce Pascoe, Dark Emu (Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident?) Venue: Tocal Agricultural College

Working together with Maitland City Library’s “Look Who’s Talking” events, we are proud to bring this thought-provoking presentation. The evening is open to the public and Slow Food conference attendees alike. In his book, Dark Emu, Bruce Pascoe argues for the reconsideration of our understanding of the way Aboriginal people lived up to early colonial times, drawing extensively from the journals of explorers to present evidence about the agricultural and technological sophistication of Aborigines. He is joined in conversation with Amorelle Dempster, leader of Slow Food Hunter Valley and the Australian Councillor for Slow Food International.

8:00pm – 10:30pm ($30) Spit roast dinner featuring Galloway Beef (this breed of beef is listed on the Slow Food Ark of Taste) with local beer and wine. Venue: Tocal Agricultural College.

This dinner is open to delegates and the general public. Delegates will be given a voucher. Members of the general public who are not members of Slow Food can purchase tickets via Try Booking.

Friday 4 August

Symposium: From the land and its people

9:00 am – 5:00 pm The symposium is open to delegates and the public and will be focussing on local food issues with national implications. Venue: Tocal Agricultural College.

Registration and welcome

8:30am – 9:00am Symposium registration.

9:00am Welcome and introduction of the first keynote speaker.

Keynote presentations

9:10am Keynote presentation 1: Educating future farmers by Darren Bayley, Principal of Tocal College.

9:40am Question time.

9:50am Keynote presentation 2: Food Biodiversity in the Hunter, Noel Jupp-Horticulturalist, Riverdene Nurseries in the Hunter Valley.

10:30am Question time.

10:45am Morning tea.


Forum Panel 1 Bread, bees and honey

11:15am Forum Panel 1 will focus on the issues facing our staples such as bread, bees and honey, the interconnectivity between these staples and the issues and challenges these producers face.

Forum details
Focus: Conservation of grain and bees, and the threats to honey production.
Moderator: Kelly Lees (Urban Hum, urban honey producer).
Panel members: Simon Brownbridge, Biodynamic Farmer & Sourdough Baker (grain), Carolyn Sonter, Danielle Lloyd-Prichard, Lecturer in Bees at Tocal College (bees and honey).

12:15pm Question time.

12:30pm Lunch, including workshop on making bee hotels.

Forum Panel 2 Guerrilla farmers

1:30pm Forum panel 2 will focus on Guerrilla farmers (overcoming the regulatory challenges to becoming a viable, small scale, good, clean and fair farmer).

Forum details
Focus: Changing food and agriculture policy, legislation and regulation in Australia.
Moderator: Tammi Jonas – Owner, Jonai Farm & Meatsmiths.
Panel members: Sarah Sivyer (egg farmer, Just Been Laid), Joanna Blunden (development officer—eggs, Tocal College), Matt Dennis (vegetable farmer), Mathew Grace (Merrifield Farm, free range pig farmer).

2:30pm Question time.

2:45pm Afternoon tea.

Forum Panel 3 Slow Meat: Eat less meat, of better quality

3:15pm Forum Panel 3 will focus on Slow Meat: Eat less meat, of better quality and have a major impact on the environment.

Forum details
Focus: Raising awareness of meat that is raised humanely, naturally and with minimal impact on the environment. Learn that a cow is not only made up of steaks.
Moderator: Greg Venticinque (Galloway beef).
Panel members: Tammi Jonas (Jonai Farms & Meatsmiths), Kelly Easton and Simon Carroll (owners, Little Hill Farm) Steph Teterin (lecturer, Tocal College), Pam Johnston, (Porkery Piggery).

3.45pm Question time.

Summary and close

4.00pm Summary of main points raised during the day by Elena Aniere, Slow Food International Program Development co-ordinator, Australia Oceania.

4.15 Stephanie Teterin (lecturer, Tocal College) and Bosley – the 1000kg demonstration bull.

5:00pm Close.

But wait … there’s more (dinner and yarns)

6:00pm – 9:00pm Winter Heat: Dinner and a good yarn around the fire in Wonnarua Country. Enjoy a sumptuous feast of both Indigenous and Eritrean food. Participate in food stories told around a fire.

Members of the public are welcome to be part of this event. Dinner vouchers will be sent electronically to anyone who has pre-booked this event and to delegates who have purchased the full conference package (remember to book via Try Booking).

Please note: tickets may still be available to delegates and the public on night (if this event is not sold out).

Saturday 5 August

Conference: Good, clean and fair food for all

9:00 am – 5:00 pm The symposium is open to delegates and the public and will be focussing on local food issues with

Setting the foundation

8:45am – 5:00pm Slow Food in Australia meeting at Tocal Agricultural College.

8.45am Message from Carlo Petrini (via video).

9:00am – 9.30am Shaping the future of Slow Food by Associate Professor Francesco Sottile, The University of Palermo, Italy, Representing the Foundation for Biodiversity.

9.30am –11.00am Don’t miss an opportunity to get your neurons firing. Come with your thinking cap for a wild ride for an hour and a half.

11-11.15 Morning tea.

11.15 – 11.30am Sharing of biodiversity Projects, events & campaigns from the International network – Elena Aniere.


Panel 1 Building the Slow Food Networks

11.30am –12.30pm Panel 1 will focus on Building the Slow Food Networks (with moderator – Q&A ideas).

Networks and project representatives (each representative will make a 10 minute presentation)
Terra Madre Network: Lee Galloway, Leader of the Terra Madre project in the Hunter Valley.
Creating the Chef’s alliance for Australia: Alison Peak, Slow Food Melbourne.
Slow Food Youth Network: Tom Christie, Terra Madre delegate and winner of the inaugural Slow Food Hunter Valley scholarship.

Please note: other speakers may be added to this forum as the conference approaches.

Panel 1 discussion (a working lunch)

12.30pm – 1.30pm A working lunch focussing on “Building the Network”. During this time delegates will work in groups. Delegates can choose to sit with the presenter of their choice and focus on the presenter’s topic and how to continue building either the Terra Madre Network, the Chef’s alliance or Slow Food Youth Network.

Panel 2 Slow Food Biodiversity Projects

1.30pm – 2.30pm Panel 2 will focus on Slow Food Biodiversity Projects (with moderator – Q&A ideas).

Biodiversity topics and project representatives (each representative will make a 10 minute presentation)
Ark of Taste: Vince Velletri, Slow Food Swan Valley and Leader of Ark of Taste working group.
Earth Market: Amorelle Dempster.
Indigenous Food Gardens: Andrew Dempster.
Food Education: Noelene McBride and Anne Kelly.

Panel 2 discussion (a working afternoon tea)

2.30pm –3.30pm – A working afternoon tea focussing on biodiversity projects. During this time delegates will work in groups. Delegates can choose to sit with the presenter of their choice and focus on the presenter’s biodiversity project topic.

Panel 3 Events and Campaigns

3.30pm –4.30pm Panel 3 will focus on Events and Campaigns (with moderator – Q&A ideas).

Campaigns/events and speakers (each speaker will make a 10 minute presentation)
Snail of approval: Erika Hackett, Slow Food Noosa – hear about Noosa’s creative Snail of Approval campaign.
Slow Fish: Alison Peake, Slow Food Melbourne – Alison brings back wisdom and campaign ideas from Slow Fish in Genoa.
Slow Meat: Gary Thomas, Slow Food Western Victoria – Gary – and his peer Tammi Jonas – are organising a Slow Meat event to highlight sustainable meat consumption.
Slow Olive: Mildura – Slow Food Mildura will share with us their Slow Olive event.
Slow Pig: Mildura – Slow Food Mildura will share with us their Slow Pig event.

National campaigns and Projects

4.30pm – 5.30pm – General discussion on national campaigns and convivia commitment to projects, events & campaigns.

But wait … there’s more (dining at the Maitland Regional Art Gallery)

7:00 pm – 10:00 pm – Celebrating Slow Wine in The Hunter Valley at the Maitland Regional Art Gallery (MRAG)

Features local seasonal produce and local Slow Wine. Between courses, a forum panel (Ross McDonald, Macquariedale Organic Wines; Daniel Honan; The Wine Idealist; Professor John Germov & Dr Julie McIntyre University of Newcastle will raise awareness of the challenges facing vignerons and wine makers to produce wine that is clean and fair, as well as good.

Sunday 6 August

Breakfast – Delegates’ responsibility.

Business meeting

9:00am – 11:30am Business Meeting for Slow Food in Australia (open to all Slow Food in Australia members and observers). 


The agenda items for this meeting are:
Report on the work of the Slow Food in Australia Management Committee.
Presentation of the accounts since the previous national meeting.
Presentation of the budget for 2017.
Review of roles and responsibilities for the following 4 years.
Report and presentation of the new Communications Plan for Slow Food in Australia.
The appointment of the Chair and members of the Slow Food in Australia Management Group.
Confirmation by individual Convivia of commitment for Slow Food projects, campaign and events nationally and locally.

Winding up

11:30am – 11:45am closing remarks from representatives of Slow Food International.

11:45am – 12:00pm Presentation of proposed Next Slow Food in Australia National Conference.

12:00pm – 12:30pm Thank you to delegates, sponsors and volunteers.

12:30pm Formal close of conference.

But wait … there’s more (what else but a picnic?)

1:30pm onwards Closing picnic (optional).

Although it is traditional for most delegates at the national conference to travel home on the Sunday afternoon, it is hoped that some people will be tempted to stay another evening in the Hunter Valley. This picnic will be provided by Slow Food Hunter Valley, and will feature more of our best local produce. The venue will be the historical and picturesque Walka Water Works near Maitland.