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July 21, 2019, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

A Taste of West Africa

Fonio is a tiny ancient grain that has been grown and celebrated across West Africa for thousands of years. Fonio has been found entombed in Egyptian pyramids. To the Dogon people of Mali, it is “the seed of the universe” — the grain at the root of all existence. In most of West Africa, fonio is served to guests as a sign of honor.

But how would you introduce an unknown ancient grain to the markets of the USA? Chef Pierre Thiam is from Senegal, now based in NYC, and is a champion of fonio. He has been igniting our imagination with his creative and innovative dishes. Come learn about fonio and food sovereignty in West Africa. We’ll follow the talk with a film screening of Burkinabè Bounty and a tasting featuring fonio prepared for you by chef Pierre Thiam.

Burkinabè Bounty, a documentary from Cultures of Resistance Films, chronicles agricultural resistance and the fight for food sovereignty in Burkina Faso—a small, landlocked country in West Africa. Showcasing activist farmers, students, artists, and leaders in the local Slow Food movement, the film looks at how the Burkinabè people are reclaiming their land and defending their traditions against the encroachment of corporate agriculture. From women gaining economic independence by selling “dolo” beer, to youth marching in the streets against companies like Monsanto, to hip-hop musicians reviving the revolutionary spirit of Thomas Sankara, Burkinabè Bounty shows the creative tactics people are using to take back control of their food, seeds, and future.

Slow Food Summits offer the opportunity to explore Where Tradition Meets Innovation and current topical issues related to good, clean and fair food. Each summit starts with a one hour talk followed by a 30-minute social gathering over small bites and/or beverages that relate to the talk.

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  • Pierre Thiam
  • John Kiwagalo
  • Cultures of Resistance
  • Yolélé