k Jenna Ansell k
k Founder of Amorevore Food & Arts Festival k
“Food matters. It brings community together. It sustains life. It connects humanity across borders.
It is at the heart of our relationship with our planet, our family and ourselves. It is a window to the world.
It is true love.”
Perched on a hilltop in rolling countryside with glorious views of Dalt Villa and the Mediterranean Sea, Casa Maca is the perfect setting for this month’s eagerly awaited Amorevore Food and Arts Festival. The brainchild of Jenna Ansell, one of the key figures in festival organisation around the world, this three day celebration and education is further proof of Ibiza’s emergence as one of the most important gastronomic destinations on the planet. Here, Love Food Ibiza speaks exclusively with Jenna in the run up to these three days of expert panel discussions, seminars and debates plus a whole variety of street food, wild walks, kids activities, local artisan produce, film screenings, experiential feasting, pop up dining, craft bars, hands on learning and sessions with expert chefs. Amorevore…where love, food and life comes together…
You traverse the globe working on different events with different cultures. How did this journey begin for you, what was the life dream back then?
Nomadism has definitely been a defining feature of my adult life…I studied Social Anthropology then International Relations at university as I find relentless pleasure in discovering other lands, people, food and culture. I’ve never questioned the call to travel and it’s always been in my heart – that’s how we grow as people and learn in the real School of Life.
You have produced numerous events in collaboration with many international festivals including Wilderness, Secret Garden Party and Lightning In A Bottle. The question burning on everyone’s lips, why did you choose Ibiza as the location for the launch of your very own Amorevore Festival?
Ibiza has a habit of choosing you rather than the other way around I think! As most people are here, I’m completely in love with the nature and energy of the island. There is already an incredible agricultural and food heritage here, but still there are some real challenges that we face environmentally, politically and economically with the food industry here. So I saw Amorevore as an opportunity to celebrate and showcase Ibiza’s food scene, but also to highlight key issues and to try and use the festival to help create solutions. If we can show the rest of the world what’s possible on one island, then hopefully that will be an inspiration to others.
The event is in partnership with Grupo Mambo and is taking place at one of their latest openings Casa Maca, a beautiful 300-year-old boutique rural hotel with stunning views of Dalt Vila. Why were these the perfect people to partner with and how did the venue tick every box for Amorevore?
Grupo Mambo is a well-established, family-based business here in Ibiza and they have the same values as Amorevore. They want to see a bright and strong future for Ibiza – not just one that pleases the tourists, but also one that honours the people who work and live here, and of course to protect and preserve the nature at the same time. Casa Maca could not be more perfect as our festival site – every building and inch of land on the site speaks to Ibiza’s agricultural past. We are so honoured to be partnering with Grupo Mambo!
What is your biggest strength when it comes to putting events like this together?
Keeping calm and centered when I am in the eye of the storm is crucial, but also choosing those I work with very carefully. The team is a phenomenal group of mostly women who work with integrity, passion and diligence. We also have fun together – it’s a family, and that family energy is a huge strength.
The festival is spread over three days, what are the themes of each day?
We kick off Amorevore on Day One (Friday October 26th) with a focus on Optimal Be-ing. Health and nutrition will be discussed through talks and workshops on subjects such as gut health, fermentation, herbs as medicine, longevity, food intolerances and debunking food myths.
Day Two (Saturday October 27th) is based around The Future of Heritage. Here we learn from the past to inform the future. Topics include culinary anthropology, connecting to ancestors and traditions, trade roots and the shaping of culture, New Generation Farmers, climate change, feeding the future, ancient grains and heirloom plants, seeds, viticulture, bees and mycelium.
Our final day on Sunday 28th of October will take guests on a journey of a New ERA – Entrepreneurism, Regeneration and Activism. Sessions will include local futures, animal farming, food policy, circular economy, new economic models, earth guardianship and indigenous land rights, hacking fine dining, food waste, and women in food.
You have a very impressive symposium of experts flying in for Amorevore. Who are you especially excited to hear speak at the festival?
Genuinely everyone will be sharing talks that I’m excited to listen to. If I really had to choose some highlights it would be…Jasmine Hemsley speaking on Ayurveda, Graham Hancock talking about the Food of the Gods, our New Generation Farming panel discussion, Anne Sijmonsbergen on Ibiza’s Food Heritage, Zoe Adjonyoh on the African Food Explosion, Jair Tellez (coming all the way from Mexico) on Hacking Fine Dining, and Gill Meller on his new book ‘Time’.
This week The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has announced that huge changes to farming are needed to avoid the planet’s ability to feed the 10 billion people expected to be on the planet in a few decades. In western countries, beef consumption needs to fall by 90% and be replaced by five times more beans and pulses. What is your opinion/hopes/ideas on this huge problem we are facing?
We will be tackling exactly this in our Vegan Debate on Friday the 26th. My position is that balance is crucial – as well as moderation in our eating choices. Its not about extremes for me, but about eating as locally and seasonally as possible. It’s also about efficient distribution of resources, that isn’t guided by corruption and nepotism. So much of the problem is created by us – the idea of scarcity is propagated by large companies to justify them running their businesses in extremely damaging ways! My hope is that people will become more aware about their power as consumers – their power to make healthy life decisions for themselves as well as for the planet.
I could go on for a long time on this subject!
What has impressed you the most about the food industry in Ibiza and what can other territories learn from what is going on here?
This is a tough question as the food industry here encompasses a huge range of practices – 90% of the food here is actually imported, which is completely crazy given the abundance at our fingertips. When you tap into the real grassroots – the producers and farmers – you reveal a culture of community, where everyone knows and helps each other – that is impressive to me, and that’s also the way we create a positive future together.
There are so many influential women here in Ibiza pushing the food industry forward ranging from authors, restaurateurs, organic farmers and environmentalists. What message does this give?
This of course gives such a powerful message. In curating Amorevore we were committed to representing women’s’ voices equally to men. I’m personally committed to giving women a platform and a voice wherever I can across all my projects.
These past few years has seen a huge explosion in the food scene here, how will Amorevore help continue the momentum and growth here?
Our primary aim with Amorevore is to put Ibiza firmly on the map as a sustainable food destination. Nothing like this has been done here in Ibiza before. Amorevore is a platform to educate and showcase what we have here. This isn’t something that’s limited to a three-day event – its something that we will be working on every day of the year with our partners and food family.
If you could go back in time and stop one food practise ever starting, what would it be?
Most probably battery farming / intensive factory animal farming. Its beyond horrific what happens.
What are some of the important things you want to achieve at this year’s festival?
– Connecting people and creating a community that inspires each other to create positive change.
– Raising awareness of the important work that our partners such as Love Ibiza Now and the Ibiza Preservation Fund are already doing and galvanizing more support for them.
– Starting crucial conversations between key players in the food industry to identify current challenges and to come together as Solutionaries.
– Celebrating the delicious food and amazing producers and farmers that exist here!
You are constantly on the move. Do you ever think it would be lovely to just call one place home? Or are there too many adventures out there to be had?
I will always adventure, that I know for sure – the only constant is change! However, I have decided to make Ibiza my home moving forwards, and that feels completely right for now.
And finally. Not many know this, but Jenna Ansell is really good at…
The Amorevore Food & Arts Festival takes place 26-28 October at Casa Maca. Catch Love Food Ibiza’s Tess Prince on Saturday afternoon when she will be presenting her food demonstration ‘Making Healthy Beautiful’.
Book tickets for the festival here…