Far Eastern University-Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (FEU-ITHM) and its academic organization, Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) Society in collaboration with the Slow Food Youth Network Philippines held a Student Leaders’ Congress last February 21, 2020 at the Mini-auditorium of Far Eastern University Manila.

Different universities from all over the country gathered to listen and learn from seven highly esteemed speakers from the hospitality industry, agricultural and other business sectors. This event aims to increase awareness on the slow food system that promotes clean, fair and healthy food.

The Slow Food Youth Network country head and the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement founder, Chef Jam Melchor, discussed the Slow Food Mantra that aims to revitalizing the movement. Chef Melchor is striving to educate more and more people about what’s on our plates—from tradition and sustainability to our colorful history and the future of food.

The Assistant Secretary for Agribusiness and Marketing of the Department of Agriculture, Asec. Kristine Evangelista talked about The Status of Philippine Agriculture that aims to call for young advocates from different discipline to take part in the agricultural sector as the Philippines is one of the ASEAN agricultural country. 

Mr. Ramon Uy Jr, President of Fresh Start Organic, talked about the Green Economy that promotes leadership in slow food system. He is a strong advocate of Organic Agriculture, Fair Trade, Slow Food, Eco-Agri Tourism, and Environmental Preservation.

Ms. Yvette Tan, managing editor of Agriculture.com.ph discussed the Multimedia Arts in the Food System on A Multi-Level Approach during the congress. She is strongly pushing for sustainable food sources and advocating food security, food sovereignty, and preservation of community foodways, she

“The Chef’s in the Slow Food System: A Conscious Effort” was shared by Chef Waya Araos-Wijangco, who is known for her sophisticated palate and her ability to weave wonderful flavors to create sumptuous dishes. Outside the kitchen, Chef Waya is an advocate of making a bigger mark in society – and that is through opening her heart and extending a helping hand to children with special needs. Chef Waya is the owner of Gourmet Gypsy Art Café that hires and train people with disability.

Raphael Teraoka Dacones, the Chief Farming Officer of Teraoka Family, shared how she grew her small business starting with 500 square meters of land to becoming a 200-hectare farm. It grows organic leafy greens, salad greens, lowland vegetables, and fruits. The farm aims to create livelihood opportunities to communities and help aid in poverty alleviation. With his experience, he was able to share the topic: “The Farmers in the Slow Food System: Inclusive, Interaction, and Independent”.

Mr. Carlo Sumaoang, the President of Novatech Group who founded the Manila Grow Kits and owns the Ragsak Family Farm, talked about managing his family’s agriculture business and how farming has become an intricate part of his life.  

FEU is hosting all of the events of Slow Food Youth Network this 2020. The SFYN Student Leaders’ Congress is the first event of FEU-ITHM and SFYN and were joined by nine schools and universities in the Philippines with a total number of 300 attendees. This event intensified the eagerness of students to take part on the event of this movement.

In addition, FEU-ITHM will be having a community extension project in Manila’s Bureau of Jail Management and Penology for women this coming March 2020 that will teach the in-mates and jail officers on sustaining life with urban gardening.

The culminating event of the collaboration is the SFYN World Disco Soup Day – Tamaraw’s Food and Beverage Festival on April 2020.  This will showcase the dishes cooked by the FEU-HRM students coming from the produce of the farmers and will be facilitated by an advocate chef of SFYN.