In February and March 2009, Slow Food Milan organized a campaign aimed at the general public and schools to raise awareness about the excesses of the fishing industry and the importance of sustainable fish consumption, working in collaboration with Greenpeace, the WWF, the Milan Aquarium, the Shark Alliance and other environmental associations.
A series of public talks highlighted the most serious issues threatening the world's fish resources and suggested points for further reflection as well as concrete actions for consumers. Milan's rich fish market was discussed, as were current consumption habits, comparing them with ancient Mediterranean recipes. Unlike today's sushi and salmon, the traditional cultures of Tuscany, Sardinia or the Marche, and even Tunisia and Morocco, use fish to "flavor" couscous, soups and stews, making the most of every part of locally caught species.
To show the goodness and accessibility of sustainable fish, chef Andrea Provenzani prepared a Sicilian dinner based on under-utilized species like anchovies and Atlantic bonito (palamita), sourced from the Cooperativa del Golfo, the Consorzio Le Galline Felici and the Slow Food Magghia Masculina Presidium, organizations based in eastern Sicily which fully respect the environment and work to promote local, seasonal fish. The producers also had a chance to sell their catch directly to consumers at Milan's Earth Market on February 20, creating a virtuous circle that brought producers and consumers together at the dinner table and the market stall.
A display was set up within the Milan Aquarium with artworks by sculptor Gianni Depaoli, using hard-hitting language to create maximum impact and emphasizing that the fundamental rule for consumers is to be informed and to take responsibility for what they buy and the resulting environmental and social costs.
The education project Edumare is at the center of the campaign; promoted by Slow Food and its partners, it aims to raise awareness among high-school students with theoretical classroom lessons and e-learning seminars held by experts in the field, practical training and observation activities (aquarium visits, snorkeling, field trips), visits to the facilities where fresh and frozen fish is distributed and sold and workshops to evaluate the price/quality relationship as compared to the sustainability of exploiting the marine environment, taking into consideration the provenance of marine species, their distribution, the consequences of fishing and critical environmental issues.
For more information about Edumare:
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