Slow Food Youth Network Azerbaijan is Launched

The Slow Food Youth Network (SFYN) is a worldwide network of young people working together to create a better future through food. Young activists from Azerbaijan have now also adopted the aims of Slow Food and decided to form a branch of the Youth Network as part of the COVCHEG project.

On November 10th, 2019 young enthusiasts gathered in Baku and discussed the first steps towards founding SFYN Azerbaijan: this was one of the preliminary objectives of the ambitious EU-funded COVCHEG (Community-based Value Chain Enhancement in the Greater Caucasus Mountains area) project, which also aims to raise wider public awareness on environmental issues.

Slow Food is implementing the COVCHEG project together with the Animal Protection Public Union (APPU) and National Association of Rural Municipalities of Azerbaijan (NARMA). The project aims to restore value to local gastronomy and cultural heritage and foster economic regeneration for rural communities in Azerbaijan. The three-year project promotes a development model that combines the preservation of agricultural biodiversity,economic development and poverty reduction as mutually-supportive objectives that can be achieved by the sound management and productive use of agro-biodiversity resources. Slow Food, an important contributor, works around the world to protect food biodiversity, build links between producers and consumers, and raise awareness of some of the most pressing topics affecting our food system. 

The Slow Food Youth Network of Azerbaijan was launched with the goals of encouraging biodiversity protection, raising awareness of environmental issues and supporting small-scale farmers. 

The network looks forward to motivating local producers by informing them of possible opportunities to expand their market access for their products; collaborating with organic food shops to promote Ark of Taste and Presidia products; increasing public awareness through social media and presentations at schools and universities, and by organizing events to promote local products, healthy nutrition, recycling and zero waste.

The new network has already delivered several presentations to promote key project components, with special attention on the Ark of Taste through social media and events to support local producers and farmers. The flagship Slow Food catalog of endangered food products helped to encourage others to nominate food products through Ark of Taste Contest, and to involve more farmers and small-businesses across rural Azerbaijan. Last but not least, the network actively tried to reach enthusiastic chefs, food bloggers and organic food shops and motivate them to join the Slow Food Cooks’ Alliance and support Presidia producers.

“Actively engaging in collaborative work increases confidence and leads to wide-ranging improvements. The mindset of the Slow Food Youth Network Azerbaijan between October and January was focused purely on maximizing active engagement with the wider public”.

Mustafa Bayramli, (Slow Food Youth Network member)

These first efforts have made great progress towards the goal of ensuring Azerbaijan’s biodiversity is preserved for future generations, but of course, much remains to be done! Onwards and upwards!