Coconuts, bananas, passion fruit, citrus fruit.. peppers, tomatoes, avocadoes, breadfruit, bread and coffee. In San Juan (Portorico), the Mercado Agricola Natural is a feast of scents, colors and tastes. It only hosts producers from the island and is always on the move.
Every Saturday morning, it comes to life with 20 producers and the help of the Slow Food Boricua Convivium, which has always paid great attention to health and the relationship between food and natural lifestyles (some of the stalls are dedicated to street food and sell vegetarian dishes made with the market organic ingredients). The whole month of March is devoted to these topics. Healthy food, food education for children and adults, the fight against GMOs, the importance of health and a correct diet are the leitmotifs of the four events at the San Juan Earth Market.
The first is on Saturday March 2 (from 11 am to 1 pm) with Rebecca Méndez del Valle (better known as Chef Rebecca, a Puerto Rican cook who focuses on vegetarian food and currently manages Afrodita, a catering and personal chef business) and Elizama Montalvo (Convivium leader and expert in homeopathy). Together, they will explain tourists and market regulars that feeding children with top quality, alternative products is possible.
Raw milk cheese and the consumption of raw food are the focus of the second meeting, on Saturday March 9. Producer Wanda Otero will explain her products, while Laura Cortes, vegetarian chef, will give some easy and fun tips on how to eat raw products and prepare them. Also, coffee producer Elena Biamon and Elizama Montalvo will explain how local food can help prevent cancer.
It all continues on Saturday March 16 (when the issues discussed with Marisol MacManus and Vero Rodriguez include the fight against GMOs, Puerto Rican herbs and their benefits, and the correct approach to eating) and Saturday March 23, with expert diabetologist Josè Rodriguez and Dalma Cartagena, a local ecologist teacher and an expert on vegetable gardens for children.
March also sees the launch of the new campaign of the Slow Food Boricua Convivium: Slow Healing. Barbacua - which has always placed great emphasis on taste education - wants to keep on raising awareness among the island citizens on the importance of food for our lives, the environment and communities. Meetings, workshops and debates are an opportunity to explain that eating slowly and taking the right time to enjoy meals help our health and promote socialization, and that sharing convivial times is good for the spirit.
The Slow Food Boricua Convivium is certainly one of the most active in the Caribbean in terms of activities organized in Puerto Rico and internationally. In 2011, it funded the creation of the Degwariri community garden in Somalia for the Thousand Gardens in Africa project. In 2013 and 2014, thanks to the activities of Bartus Allen (massager and acupuncturist), it will raise the funds to send one member of the Convivium to the next edition of Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre.
Follow the activities of the San Juan Earth Market!
If you want to know more:
Member of the Slow Food Boricua Convivium
Slow Food Boricua Convivium Leader
When and where?
Internal courtyard of the Arts and History Museum
San Juan, Puerto Rico