Thinking about the future: training for new Slow Food leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean 

Aiming to strengthen the communities and the values of the movement, the Slow Food Latin America and the Caribbean office with the support of International representatives and national associations made possible a series of online training sessions for the new leaders in the region. 

The program was taught in Spanish, Portuguese, and English with translations included, in order to ensure proper integration and understanding in the group. The topics imparted included leadership, activism, communication and advocacy strategies, fundraising, planning, and an immersion in the philosophy of Slow Food.

I would recommend this experience to anyone. Christina Pooler, from Slow Food Barbados.

For Christina, going through this experience with the other Latin American and Caribbean Slow Food leaders was key to understanding how their chapters work and their different perspectives. In the same way, she was able to share her own experience and comprehend the implications of a leadership role.

Regarding the future, she is ready to implement strategies learned in the program along with the rest of the team of Slow Food Barbados, to support others plan their actions in an efficient way.

Christina says the content of the course “would help with the different events we have through the year, to have a clear idea of who our target is and what we are looking to achieve”. 

Participating in the program marks a before and after. Luis Quiroz, spokesperson for the Slow Food Tijuana Community of Gastronomy and Nutrition, Mexico.

From Luis’ perspective, every session brought something new to the table. Not only from an administrative or strategic scope but acting as a source of motivation to keep on working, helping expand their vision and establish contact with others in the region.

“We learned about fundraising, we had many ideas but we used to limit ourselves, having these sessions every 15 days with the experts was enriching”.

For him, this opportunity has become a catalyst to carry out bigger and more ambitious projects, learning that they can have more reach and be impactful if the network acts together.

In this regard, he is already planning on extending his net by thinking of future projects where he can contact Slow Food California and Ensenada as they are in proximity.

“We need to get closer to the urban community to start implementing practices that bring good, clean, and fair food to the city.” Zhamis Benicio – Slow Food Manaus pelo Legado Alimentar da Amazônia, Brazil.

Zhamis explains that one of the main benefits of a program like this is to generate links that help reinforce the movement of Slow Food, as he can share the information learned with the communities.

He is already hands-on incorporating everything he learned during the sessions in his work, taking actions and contacting other groups, planning to pass on the information and training to the people in Manaos, and beginning the articulation of a Slow Food indigenous community within the state that can develop shared projects from other networks in Latin America.

The material from the sessions has traveled to the community that defends the food heritage around the cassava, reaching people all over Brazil, which has also helped articulate their conjoint efforts and improve communication.

As Zhamis says “ the idea is to feed the circle, explode the bubble for us to find more people, communities, and actions”.

“The most valuable thing was to create the space for us to meet and exchange knowledge”. Mayra Galindo – Slow Food Biodiversity and  Food – Munti, Cesar in Colombia.

“When we are leaders in a territory, we face different challenges and situations that sometimes create doubts in what is developed and how to achieve what we plan, which is why listening to other voices that perform similar actions and go through similar situations and contexts convinces you that you are not alone, and that is when the magic happens and the desire to continue”, says Mayra who, together with Zhamis, Luis and Christina, appreciates the exchange of experiences between countries, as well as the tools for effective management and processes.

Mayra plans to include the knowledge in her current and future projects, such as the creation of a reserve that “will be a school forest where we will continually apply everything we have learned so that more people can unite their hearts in actions for the common good”.

Sharing knowledge, updating processes, and reinforcing Slow Food’s philosophy and raison d’être has not only been a source of motivation for these young leaders of the movement, but it has also given them tools for their work to generate impact in the conservation of biodiversity, resilient practices, and good, clean and fair food systems.

In order to access the full content of the training please visit Slow Food Youtube channel here

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