In addition to organizing around the resources that we develop, Slow Food on Campus chapters have been hosting events that highlight their local producers, traditions, and communities. Below are descriptions of some of the most recent SFOC actions.
“A group of us attended a very informative taro pounding workshop (video) to learn the authentic Hawaiian method of making what was once the Hawaiians’ staple food, poi. The workshop is a weekly community event that involves local Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian families and promotes a hands-on return to tradition. Our group was very impressed, not just by the method which is very involved and requires a lot of skill to do properly, but also by the product which is more than just a bowl of purple paste that one sees at a Luau. The pounded taro, which is called pai’ai until you mix it with water and is then called poi, actually lends itself to many uses that as culinary students we are excited to discover.”
In addition to the taro pounding, the chapter also held cooking demos at a local farmers market and had a cheesemaking workshop from a local producer.
“Thom and Nancy Curry, and Catherine Pepe, who own and run Temecula Olive Oil are remarkable in their efforts to be as sustainable as possible while producing their locally revered olive oil. Just to name a few ways in which they make sure nothing goes to waste, they use extra oil to make soap, and even for biodeisel to run their trucks. Just by growing olive trees in Southern California, they are promoting a crop which our region can truly sustain and excel at because of how little water it requires. Their method of growing olives uses absolutely no pesticides and the olives are pressed in a machine that never applies heat, so the quality is not masked. Even their flavored oils are made by pressing fresh basil, blood oranges or roasted garlic in with the olives, making some of the most delicious and unique olive oils I’ve ever tasted.
Our tasting took place outside in their beautiful wrap-around counter, which, like the rest of the property is decorated in recycled items from nature and the original property. We drank small sips of olive oil to appreciate the true flavors and aroma undistracted by bread. Some of the favorites in our tasting of about ten included a white balsamic with honey, a late harvest mission olive oil, and the unique flavored oils.
Thom Curry gave us with a wealth of knowledge about the history and differences between olive oils, growing olives, producing oil, and of course how to taste them. More then a few of us left inspired to find our own way to work with our hands, and with the earth in such a beautiful and giving way that farming and artisan production embodies.”
On May 7, 2010, Slow Food Cal Poly held their first Eat-In. For this Eat-In students gathered together to celebrate local and seasonal food by making side dishes made from seasonal ingredients from farmer’s markets or the Cal Poly Organic Farm that is located right on campus. For the event, we gathered outside on a beautiful day at a local park and barbecued sausage, chicken, and burgers with meat raised and processed by Cal Poly Meats, located right on campus as well. While eating delicious food, we all learned and appreciated the quality, freshness, and great taste of food that is local and in season. Eating local not only benefits the planet, but we also promote and support the financial stability of local farms and enterprises.
“On Tuesday April 13, we held a documentary screening of the film Black Gold, followed by a discussion with Jeff Roberts (of NECI) and Courtney Lang (of the Burlington Fair Trade Town Council). The discussion was focused on the place of Fair Trade in the Local Food Movement (and vice versa). Jeff also spoke about how Terra Madre has transformed the way many people think of the globalization of food culture and trade. The film showed many of the problems associated with the international trade relationships established over a single commodity product, such as coffee, and the discussion allowed us to question whether we should be buying coffee at all, fair trade or not.
On Saturday, April 17, we joined Slow Food NECI on a Wild Crafting trip with none other than Nova and Less. They led us on a walk through the woods, stopping every few feet to show us something else that is edible or used for medicinal purposes. It was amazing to see how much of a bounty the earth offers without us having to do a thing. We picked asparagus along the stream, and found Morels on a grassy hillside. We tasted some amazing greens, and roots right out of the ground, and were taught how to use these items in a meal. Nova was also able to speak on the wonder which is Terra Madre, and encouraged as many people to attend as possible. Despite the cold rain, we all had a blast and look forward to meeting them again in the future.”
“We held our demo at our local greenmarket which was a great success. We wound up handing out approximately 800 samples of our ‘Green Market Frittata’ while generating discussion about Slow Food and utilizing locally produced ingredients in your cooking.”
On April 14, Slow Food URI teamed up with the Nutrition Club and Slow Food URI adviser/Slow Food RI secretary Ingrid Lofgren to participate in a book talk held on the URI campus. Among those in the crowded Costal Institute auditorium were faculty, students, and community members. The talk was held by Slow Food RI chair Amy McCoy, author of Poor Girl Gourmet. She discussed the hardship and struggles as well as the successes and accomplishments which led to the making of the book. Published from blog to book, Poor Girl Gourmet is an excellent example of good, wholesome food at a reasonable price with a bonus of beautiful, delicious photographs. Slow Food URI baked some tasty scones and cookies from Amy’s blog to serve for refreshments. Poor Girl Gourmet will be available in stores June 1st.
On April 22, students, faculty and community members gathered to celebrate Earth Day at The University of Rhode Island. The sunny weather was accompanied by cool music and the chatter and excitement of everyone gathering together. We immediately starting setting up our booth with posters, handouts and Organic Fair Trade Chocolate from Theo, which drew in a crowd. Some were brave enough to try the Spicy Chili flavored dark chocolate. Over 100 people signed our Hungry for Change petition to show URI Dining that there IS a demand for good food! The Earth Day celebration helped us raise awareness of Slow Food on campus and we recruited 25 more members. Hopefully with a strong Slow Food URI membership and ambition, we can give students and faculty at URI access to good, clean and fair food.
On Friday April 30th Slow Food URI participated in the second annual “Celebration of Local Food” in Charlestown, RI. The evening was full of music, food tastings, and conversation with others about Rhode Island’s initiatives for growing the already bountiful local food movement in our state. The evening’s delicious food tastings featured Narragansett Creamery cheeses, bread from The Village Hearth, samples from Mazie’s Organics and Little Farm Catering, Matunuck Oysters, and more! To add to the festivities, local foodie experts participated in a panel discussion further leading to the sharing of ideas, innovative approaches to local food, and celebratory stories from passionate activists!
Also in April, our group held our final meeting of the semester at Local 121, an outstanding restaurant in Providence, RI with a stellar local menu. We used this opportunity to attend Local 121’s double feature - a special screening of Fresh and a delicious dinner buffet. Our night was filled with plate upon plate of local greens, roasted local root vegetables, local meat, and pear tarts! Much to our delight, our last official meeting was spent in the presence of good food, good people, and much hope for the new school year in the fall!
“Slow Food UConn recently co-hosted the First Annual UConn Earth Day Film Festival. The festival ran continuously from 10:00 am until 7:00 pm and included popular and eclectic films such as Fresh, The Real Dirt on Farmer John , Eating Alaska, and Food, Inc. We also featured Rick Hermanot, the largest free-range turkey farmer in Connecticut, as a guest speaker.”
“April 23-25 is Rutgers’ Day Weekend on campus. We connected with a local farmer last year and will again this year to provide the thousands of people that show up with first-of-the-season Asparagus from New Jersey.”
On April 8th, Slow Food, in cooperation with Emory Food Service Administration, hosted a Jam Making workshop in the Few Hall Demonstration Kitchen. Kim Conner from Fairywood Thicket Farm, a vendor at Emory Farmers Market, along with her three school aged children, taught the students the art of preserving the harvest by making jellies and jams. Ms. Conner taught the students to make strawberry-lavender jam, blueberry jam, and mayhaw jelly, which they intend to sell as a fundraiser for the club.
Preserving the harvest of local, seasonal fruits and vegetables is a way to eat more sustainably. The students left the workshop with the knowledge and enthusiasm for making their own preserves. The students learned the art of pickling the harvest in a previous workshop, and as summer approaches, now feel ready to put their knowledge to good use.
“If you have ever been to Spain, Italy, or Greece, you have surely noted that meals move at more measured pace. Restaurants do not try to get you in and out the door, but strive to provide an experience that coincides with the flow of evening life. The guest chef for the evening, Greek native Charalambos (Harry) Michael, did a marvelous job replicating this mood in the Crossing basement Monday. The night began in a relaxed manner—foodies unwound from a long Monday by browsing entries in the week’s Coffee Label Contest and delighting themselves in an appetizer that included an assortment of veggies, hummus, Tzatziki sauce, The main course, pastitsio, consisted of three layers—bucatini pasta, a meat (lamb from Pin Oak Farms and pork from Lange Farms) or eggplant layer, and a rich cream sauce. The main course complimented the appetizer wonderfully, and left guests both sated and upbeat.Throughout the evening, casual Greek music had created a pleasant and calm dining atmosphere. Following dinner, Chef Harry ramped up the tunes and led the revitalized dinner guests in a bat(r) matizvah-esk Greek dance steps. Thanks for a wonderful dinner, Harry! Opa!”
“This spring, Slow Food-UW also co-hosted a sustainable dinner with University Housing in celebration of Earth Day. The meal took place in a campus dining hall. It featured a menu of foods all sourced from within 200 miles of Madison. Students got to chose from familiar options like hamburgers and pasta, or from less common items like parsnip soup and beet salad. Slow Food-UW tabled at this event. The highlight of the tabling display was a large map of Wisconsin pinpointing the farms from which the menu’s ingredients came. Diners that night were able to visualize exactly what “local” means. Slow Food-UW answered students’ questions about local food, sustainability, and the other values the Slow Food movement embodies. It was a successful—and delicious—event!”