What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Thu, October 30, 2008 by Nathan Leamy
This Sunday at Back Forty restaurant, Jeff Lydon, Chef Peter Hoffman (Savoy and Back Forty), Hilary Baum (founder, Baum Forum), Francine Stephens (owner, Frannys Pizza) and Slow Food USA invite you to celebrate the third anniversary of the Betsy Lydon Ark Award and 2008 award recipients, Brian Campbell and Crystine Goldberg of Uprising Seeds/Uprising Organics.
While enjoying seasonal, locally sourced foods over brunch, Jeff will share the history and background of the award and introduce Brian and Crystine, who just got back from a fantastic week at Terra Madre 08.
Founded three years ago in Washington State, Uprising Seeds/Uprising Organics is a regional, organic seed company and fresh vegetable CSA farm that grows Ark of Taste produce and makes it available to all members of their community, regardless of income. To do this, they earmark roughly 75 percent of their CSA shares for families that receive food stamps. They also consult with farms nationwide to help them initiate Food Stamp CSA programs of their own.
Sundays brunch event will help to raise awareness and funds for the future of the Betsy Lydon Ark Award, and share the inspiring work of Uprising Seeds.
When: This Sunday, November 2nd
Where: Back Forty Restaurant 190 Avenue B at 12th Street, Manhattan
Price: $50/person for two course family style brunch, coffee and one drink (includes tax and tip)
RSVP: Space is limited to 35 people, so please RSVP by 5pm, Friday October 31st, to
If you cannot attend (or are too busy campaigning), but would like to contribute to the Award fund, please call Slow Food USA at 718-260-8000 or visit Slow Food USA.
Posted on Mon, October 27, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
By Paula McIntyre, co-founder of Up North Foodies
When Gary Nabhan visited northern Michigan earlier this month to lead a group of locals in identifying traditional foods at risk, I was stumped. The cherries and whitefish that first come to mind when thinking of our typical Up North menus are still prevalent. And the foods I remember from childhood are more of the Midwestern casserole variety; not a specific potato, or chicken or mushroom.
Stores and restaurants usually don’t list the varieties of their foods, with apples being a notable exception. And the generic term “heirloom” is the only hint a label might provide that a particular item isn’t your standard fare. I’m not conditioned to think of specific varieties.
So I wasn’t sure how much I could contribute to the conversation, and as it turns out, several other participants shared that same initial reaction. Perhaps the sheer size of Michigan’s list of potential at-risk foods intimidated us. Fifty wild foods and more than 300 historically cultivated foods were included, ranging from Frost Grape, Oswego Tea, and Aunt Mary’s corn, to the Shiawassee Beauty apple, the Beltsville White Turkey and Ayers Butternut.
Posted on Fri, October 24, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
Turns out, a lot.
Last March, KayCee Wimbish, winner of the $500 Culinate Youth Food Awareness scholarship to Terra Madre, uprooted her life in Brooklyn, NY and moved upstate to Tivoli to start Awesome Farm with fellow new farmer, Owen OConnor.
We asked KayCee, who is part of the growing Youth Food Movement and one of over 1,300 Youth Delegates at Terra Madre, a few questions about her farm, her philosophy and a certain security donkey.
Q: In a New York Times article on the new generation of farmers published March 16, you say that moving to NYC was the catalyst that got you farming. What pushed you to become a farmer? Given that you grew in the heartland of America, don’t you find this ironic?
A: New York City introduced me to an entirely different way of thinking about food. I learned about CSAs for the first time, joined one, and fell in love with the vegetables and the idea. Growing up in Oklahoma, I had very little contact with local foods, farmer’s markets, political ideas around food, and it was hard to eat out and not eat at chain restaurant. I grew up in the suburbs, and it sure didn’t feel like the heartland. Growing food is such a tangible political act. As I struggled to make sense of the injustices, inequities, racism and other huge, heady issues, farming made so much sense to me.
Q: Like Joel Salatin, you identify yourself as a Grass Farmer. Talk to us a little about your farming practices and philosophy.
A: We farm on rented land that is very marginal in quality. Vegetables could not be grown on this land, but our sheep can convert the grass and legumes and weeds into usable energy that people can then eat. We are actually improving the quality of the pasture, minimizing erosion and encouraging native plants and growing food at the same time.
We also have laying hens and raised meat chickens this year. The chickens are problematic for us because of their dependence on grain. Philosophically, I don’t want to be feeding animals grain: it is expensive, and although it is local and organic, we still have to drive and pick it up. The land used to the grow grain for the animals can be used for grain for humans. We want to kick out the middleman that is grain. We want to raise animals that eat grass. However, we love the laying hens and we want to be able to have eggs. We are trying an idea put forth by the Vermont Compost Company and are currently getting pre- and post-consumer waste from the cafeteria of the nearby elementary school in order to supplement the chickens’ foraging with community food scraps. Its a big experiment, but we are excited to keep food out of the landfill, use up a local resource and create more connections within the community.
Posted on Tue, October 21, 2008 by Nathan Leamy
by 2008 Terra Madre delegate Ariane Lotti
At Terra Madre, lets strategize to overcome the challenges to growing a good, clean, and fair agriculture.
After a stint spent working for the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition on the 2008 Farm Bill, I decided to spend some quality time in the Ground Zero of government-supported, conventional commodity agriculture: Rural Iowa, USA.
New to the land of corn and Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), I knew my mission was two-fold. I wanted to learn the ins and outs of the system that reportedly produces the cheapest, most abundant food supply in the world. I also wanted to find the points of resistance and weakness where the alternatives to a high-input, low-diversity production agriculture flourish.
For four months, I lived and worked on a farm five miles down a gravel road from the nearest town and eleven miles from the nearest internet connection. While I spent my spare time visiting CAFOs, riding in combines, going to county fairs, and driving down dusty roads, I farmed full-time for Jan Libbey and Tim Landgraf of One Step at a Time Gardens in North Central Iowa.
Posted on Thu, October 16, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Gary Paul Nabhan
When the leaves of New England begin to glow with crimsons, purples and golds, many of us remember that its time for crimson, purple and gold apples to be picked, packed, sequestered in storage sheds, or processed into cider, butter, sauces or pies. Apples exemplify that taste of the fall for many of us, but just what kind of apples we taste depends upon just where exactly we live, and how well we know our neighboring orchard-keepers.
Some eight hundred kinds of apples once enriched the kitchens, taverns and inns of New England, but most of these have already disappeared from the regions cuisines. In fact, just nineteen varieties monopolize the bins in our grocery stores, the pies of our cafes and the ciders of our bars. That is but a paltry sample of what it means to be an apple.
When the Renewing Americas Food Traditions (RAFT) held workshops in Vermont and Massachusetts last year, we learned that at least seventy of the heirloom apples unique to New England that remain are so infrequently featured in nurseries, farmers markets and roadside stands that they can be considered threatened or endangered.
If nothing is soon done about them, their colors, textures, flavors and fragrances might forever be lost from Yankee culinary traditions. But we might also forget the lovely poetry of their folk names: Baker Sweet, Bottle Greening, Coles Quince, Gloria Mundi, Graniwinkle, Hightop Sweet, Pumpkin Russet, and Sheepnose.
Posted on Wed, October 15, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
Hot on the heals of our last post about the Eat It to Save It philosophy comes this article, Survival of the Tastiest in (on?) FLYP Media, a new online, interactive magazine. Check out a video of Erika, our Executive Director, and explore some of the foods that the US Ark of Taste is working to catalog and promote in a cool little featurette.
While the article doesn’t necessarily break new ground for you old salts familiar with Slow Food and the Ark of Taste, it’s a good way to introduce others to our mission and one of our national programs. You can also remind them that that they can search for producers of Ark products at LocalHarvest.
Posted on Tue, October 14, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
If Michael Pollan were to write the future President a letter, would it get read? Lets say he published it in the New York Times, in the glossy Sunday magazine? It seems obvious that the President must read the Times, right ? And yet there was that confession by Bush in 2003 that he leaves newspaper reading to others, never touches the stuff. So.
A few weeks ago I saw a picture of Obama (in the Times, natch) getting out of an airplane with the Times tucked under his arma good sign. But how could he possibly have time for reading when I also saw footage of him just yesterday literally walking door to door introducing himself to every single Ohioan?
Lets just say I hope one of them (aw, heck, both of em) read it Sunday, since the special food issue of the magazine contained several important articles, including Michael Pollans letter to the future Commander-in-Chief. (N.b. other people are allowed to read it too).
Neither of the candidates are talking food on the campaign trail, but for a re-cap of each of their positions (because even though food is not a front burner public stumping issue, these guys do have positions on these matters), I recommend you take a look at the recent overview on Grist, by Tom Philpott, and then read Pollans letter. And then, the rest of the issue as well.
Posted on Tue, October 14, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Slow Food USA staffer Kate Evanishyn
As you can imagine, we like to eat well here in the Brooklyn offices of Slow Food USA. Generally, we gather around our communal table around 1:00, reading the paper, doing the Times crossword (it’s a group effort) and eating whatever we happen to bring that day. A few times a year, however, we like to organize a staff potluck, usually timed with a guest.
Marion Nestle is coming for lunch tomorrow, and we’re completely excited, talking about who’s bringing what all day and thrilled that we’ll have the chance to spend some time with one of our heroes. For my part, I thought a frittata would be a good addition to the mix of roasted root vegetables, autumn salads, tasty deserts and more. But the last thing I expected was a kitchen mishap. Or in my case, an explosion. My ceramic and supposedly direct flame safe casserole shattered in a volcanic showing of egg, cheese, chorizo and pottery.
I have a back up, but that was supposed to be tonight’s dinner. I’ve got to admit, I’m really concerned about how to scrape egg off the ceiling. The gruyere is like glue.
Posted on Fri, October 10, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
If you don’t know her, Slow Food New Orleans founder and leader, Poppy Tooker, is a chef, food activist and champion of the Eat It to Save It philosophy. In this MSN Practical Guide to Healthy Living video, follow Poppy around the Slow Food Nation Victory Garden as she visits with Ark of Taste farmers and food producers and discusses the importance of saving and reviving our delicious rare foods and food traditions.
Posted on Wed, October 08, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Slow Food USA staffer Patrick Keeler
Pssst you wanna be a (Slow) Food Network Star?
Despite all previous declarations that only megalomaniacs, bad karaoke junkies, select residents of Orange County, bored housewives and perennial bachelors were allowed or wanted to be reality TV stars, I made the bold and hypocritical move to audition for a reality television series. Not just any reali-tv show, but one with flavor”: Americas Next Food Network Star, but only after some coaxing from the rest of the SFUSA staff around the lunch table.