Valerie Lugonja is…. A Canadian Foodie: Food Philosophy
The kitchen is the center of my home as I believe food made at home and shared among family and friends builds relationships and creates traditions that bind us to one another for generations.
As a passionate member of Slow Food Edmonton, the Executive Secretary for Slow Food in Canada from 2011-2015, the founder of Eat Alberta, in 2011, a Director on the Alberta Culinary Tourism Board from 2012 – 2015, the creator of The Canadian Food Experience Project, 2013 to present, a Sales Consultant and Regional Team Leader for Thermomix Canada and the owner or Taste Tripping: Culinary Tours, Travel and Cooking Classes…
I am committed to working with and promoting good, clean and fair Canadian regional heritage cuisine.
I envision a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet.
Food production and consumption systems most common today are harmful to the earth, to its ecosystems and to the peoples that inhabit it and I work to promote Canadian food that does not harm “the existence of others or the environmental equilibria of the planet we live on.”
I believe the food that we buy and serve to our family each day is a political act as “the consumer orients the market and production with their choices.” Consumption clearly influences production and in that manner, the consumer becomes a “co-producer”.
Believing this, I work to be very careful with my personal choices in my home kitchen.
Genetically Modified Food (GMO)
I do not promote prduce or products that contain genetically modified foods, unless the amounts are miniscule. It is difficult to avoid using corn syrups, and other such gmo ridden ingredients, today. But if the main ingredients are corn or soy, those ingredients must be GMO free.
All of our meat is purchased from a farmer we know well, and a farm we have visited. We buy 1/2 a Cow (Nouveau Beef), a whole Tamworth Pig, and 15 chickens a year, all in the fall.
Fish and Seafood
As we live on the prairies, and fresh-water fish is available only with a fishing license, we buy what we can from our local farmer’s market, our local fish monger (which is not very good) but we try to travel to Kelowna each year to buy our supply from Codfather’s.
Delicatessen Meats and Cheeses
We make our own sausages, cured meats and cheeses, at times. We also purchase others through small, independent local Canadian businesses that make their own and align with our food philosophy.
During the growing season, I garden which provides all we need, and more, during that time. Farmer’s Markets are my first line for food. Developing relationships with people that grow our food is an important aspect of my life. I am a prairie girl, first generation off of the farm. I believe knowing where our food comes from and supporting our local farmers is critical to the survival of the family farm and to waste reduction.
Slow Food International’s Definition of Good Clean and Fair
1) Good. A food’s flavor and aroma, recognizable to educated, well-trained senses, is the fruit of the competence of the producer and of choice of raw materials and production methods, which should in no way alter its naturalness.
2) Clean. The environment has to be respected and sustainable practices of farming, animal husbandry, processing, marketing and consumption should be taken into serious consideration. Every stage in the agro-industrial production chain, consumption included, should protect ecosystems and biodiversity, safeguarding the health of the consumer and the producer.
3) Fair. Social justice should be pursued through the creation of conditions of labor respectful of man and his rights and capable of generating adequate rewards; through the pursuit of balanced global economies; through the practice of sympathy and solidarity; through respect for cultural diversities and traditions.