First published with The Advocate –

Feature image: Dylan Burns

“Eat better meat, less.” This is the mantra of the ‘slow meat’ movement.

It is a philosophy seen as an answer to industrial agriculture which has raised ecological, public health and animal welfare concerns.

Australia’s first Slow Meat Symposium, to be held in Daylesford from September 3 to 5, will bring together all elements of the food industry to create action plans to reform the future of meat consumption.

Farmer and Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance president Tammi Jonas said slow meat philosophy promised a “delicious future”.

“What we eat should only be the better stuff. Don’t just eat less of factory-farmed meat, eat less of animals raised outdoors in healthy environments. That is the crux of slow meat as a movement,” she said.

“We see the answer in slow meat as raising more diverse breeds of livestock and raising them outdoors, because I like to say ‘pigs only build houses in fairy tales’.

“Keep them outdoors and keep them at lower density so we are not creating more ecological damage and public health concerns.

“It all comes back to the same thing. Small is beautiful. Outdoors is where animals belong. We shouldn’t be putting antibiotics in the food system and we shouldn’t be growing grain and feeding it to animals.”

Farmers, butchers, chefs, restaurateurs, retailers and administrators are invited to the Slow Meat Symposium.

Ms Jonas said it was important to bring the industry together because the slow meat movement in Australia was “fledgling”.

“How will we take slow meat all the way to consumer change?,” she said.

Slow Foods Central Highlands leader Gary Thomas said the symposium will look at how the industry can work together to achieve a slow meat future.

“How do we get more slow meat into restaurants, how do we get more slow meat into butcher shops and what are the issues and obstacles and opportunities for small scale farmers?” he said.

Ms Jonas practises slow meat philosophy on her Eganstown farm, Jonai Farms and Meatsmiths. She said animals were moved regularly, healthy land was prioritised and animals were fed on food waste rather than bought grain.

Farmer and host of SBS’s For the Love of Meat, Mattthew Evans, said meat that is good for the animal and good for the environment had great flavour and was better for us.

“It is incumbent upon people who eat meat to care more about how their animals are raised and how they die,” he said.

Visit for symposium registration.