In Conversation with Scotland’s Youth Delegates – Sarah Gowanlock

Over the coming weeks before Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2018 commences we are sharing short interviews with some of the youth delegates and other Scottish food leaders attending the biggest global gathering of food communities in the world! 

Next up is Sarah Gowanlock, a graduate of St Andrews University who previously worked at Brooklyn Botanic Garden before returning to Scotland and getting involved in Scottish food policy and research. Sarah is a key member of the SFYN Scotland team and is currently researching and writing about Scotland’s food history in her monthly blog series.

Sarah G

What’s your happiest food memory?

My happiest food memory is visiting Jake’s farm stand as a child. He would tell me where each of the fruits came from — plums from his brother, blueberries from his cousin — hawked his famous corn, and did all the sums in his head. His truck had pictures of his family eating the corn and signs explaining that when the corn was gone, Jake was gone.

What originally inspired you to get involved in your work?

I originally joined Slow Food Youth Network because I was inspired by the organisation’s inclusion of heritage in discussions about food. There are so many debates around food and what kind of food we should be eating, but these can be focused on sustainability or health and detached from not only what grows locally, but what has historically been eaten.

How are you helping to or hoping to build a better food system?

I want to increase awareness of the rich food history of Scotland through a blog with SFYN. As an immigrant to Scotland, I’ve heard a lot of jokes about how I must not have moved for the food and I’m often asked by curious friends and family back home whether I’ve tried haggis yet (my usual response: it tastes just like meatloaf). But I have a feeling there’s more to Scotland’s food than haggis, and so I’m going on a journey to explore Scotland’s culinary roots.

What’s the most pressing issue in food and agriculture that you’d like to see solved?

I think the most pressing issue is lack of knowledge about how to take unprocessed food and turn it into a meal.

How can we best stimulate young adults curiosity about food and agriculture and encourage their participation in building healthier food systems?

Cooking for and with others is revolutionary. You share, you care, you build relationships and you learn from one another.

Which of this years Terra Madre themes most relates to your work and why?

Food and Health: In order to move forward, I think we need to look to our past. Have we always eaten this way? No! In fact eighteenth century Scots were revered for their vigor and health. So what can we bring back from our past, in new and innovative ways?

If you could travel to one country in the world to experience their food culture where would it be?

I’m going to cheat and say Scotland because there is still so much to discover!

You might not know this but…

I hated mushrooms for the first 20 years of my life. Now I love them. What a waste!


You can find out a little more about our 19 delegates from Scotland and what they’re hoping to gain from attending Terra Madre Salone del Gusto this September in our earlier blog post!

Find out about what SFYN international will be doing at Terra Madre Salone Del Gusto by viewing the official events programme

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