What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Thu, November 06, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
Theres still a buzz on the streets todayits the buzz of huge voter turnout, of citizen investment, of millions of Americans throwing their hats in the ring.
What better time for Slow Food USA to in the words of our Executive Director Erika Lesser at the US Meeting at Terra Madreget political?
Theres a lot to report from Slow Foods most recent edition of Terra Madre, a gathering of food communities from around the world, but today Ill start with a report back on the US meeting. This gathering of over 800 food producers, cooks, students, and educators from around the country was the one opportunity at the conference for the US to discuss our agenda, our platform for moving forward into what is proving to be a new dawn. The agenda was laid out by Erika Lesser and our new President, Josh Viertel, in his first public address in his new position.
As discussed in yesterday’s post, our agenda: Building a future food system.
How are we going to do this?
Viertel put forth an emphasis on fostering youth involvement and development, as well as a strong cry for promoting and supporting Food Justice (the vexing conundrum of paying farmers a fair wage while also making sure that food is affordable to all).
The next Food and Farm Bill needs us; urban farms need us. And heyits official now: Barack Obama needs us. More specifically, he needs to hear from us, and part of our plan moving forward is to figure how to say what we need to say, and how to make sure its heard. As mentioned yesterday, you can add your voice to the Declaration for Health Food and Agriculture and the US Working Group on the Food Crisis Call to Action.
For a wide array of coverage, and an outside perspectiveeverything from the speakers, to the food, to the waterplease check out:
And over the next couple weeks, well share the words of farmers, cooks and activists who shared their stories and visions for the future of our food system at Terra Madre.
Posted on Wed, November 05, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Slow Food USA
On this day after the election, the staff of Slow Food USA took a moment to talk about how we can build on the momentum of Barack Obamas historic Presidential win. While were hopeful that our new President and all the men and women elected in races across the nation yesterday will put the FOOD back into food policy, we understand that we cant assume anything. We know that to help make change in our broken food system, much of the work must come from the ground up while we keep our leaders feet to the fire.
Journalist Michael Pollan, a Slow Food Advisory Board member, recently wrote a great letter challenging the next President to improve our nation’s food policy. In an October 23 article in Time Magazine, President Elect Obama responded, saying that our current industrialized food system is creating monocultures that are vulnerable to national security threats, are now vulnerable to sky-high food prices or crashes in food prices, huge swings in commodity prices, and are partly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs.
We need to work with the incoming administration to create new green collar jobs; to increase the availability of fresh food in underserved communities and urban food deserts; to fight for small farmers and food producers who supply the thousands of farmers markets and CSAs across the country; and to bring healthy food and educational gardens into the public school system so that our children can grow up healthy and understand their connection to the land and the food they eat.
Make a start by signing on and adding your comments to the Declaration for Healthy Food and Agriculture and the new Call to Action for food system reform organized by the US Working Group on the Food Crisis.
We have a long road ahead. Together, we must ensure that good, clean and fair food is accessible to all Americans. Through our collective voice and hard work around the country, a new food system is possible.
Posted on Tue, November 04, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Slow Food USA intern, Cecilia Estriech
As Thanksgiving approaches, many of us are steeling ourselves for yet another holiday feast featuring a mealy industrially produced bird. Turkey, in most American households, is the white elephant on the buffet tableeveryone knows that the nearly ubiquitous broad-breasted white is dry and flavorless, but most of us are too polite to say anything (it is a holiday after all). The members of Slow Food Russian River are trying to change our turkey experience one heritage breed at a time.
Situated in Californias Sonoma valley where the broad-breasted white was first bred in the 1950s, Slow Food Russian River has established the Heritage Turkey Project to encourage the production of endangered breeds. The three-year old program partners with 4-H and Future Farmers of America to get kids in the region involved in raising the turkeys. Every year, six to ten young people raise two-hundred heritage breed turkeys provided by the Russian River chapter. Once they reach maturity, the birds are sold at market price$7.50 per pound this year. For their labor, the kids receive all the revenue from sales.
In addition to providing kids with hands-on experience working with heritage breeds, it also encourages consumers in the community to expand their palates. Russian River committee leader Rick Theis remarks that residents are learning about Heritage Turkeys and the Slow Food Movement, and tasting the results. The turkeys have become so popular, in fact, that they consistently sell out with an ample waitlist.
Posted on Sat, November 01, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Jennifer M. Hall
There was no shortage of story displayed around the room, but as you would hope, the best story was on the plate…plate after plate of Salmon Nation. Al Kowitz, who explained that he went to culinary school (at an age when most are looking to retire!) to learn to cook with local foods, without a doubt taught more than he took away. Yes, he has a better handle on the mechanics now. But what he shared with his peers and instructors about the names, the names behind the names and the flavors of local foods was unparalleled.
Equipped with history as a farmer, Washington State University Extension specialist and doctorate in Communications, Al offered those he touched at Spokane Community College a new relationship with food daily. Not only did he serve ozette potatoes in his graduation menu, he grew them. He was the first student to break stride with the rules and personally source most of his meal. Al made a place at the table for tradition, indigenous culture and creative spirit (see how he plated his courses to match pieces of art).