What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Tue, November 03, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
The debate between the National Parks Service and Drakes Bay Oyster Company rages on. Two days ago, the New York Times published an article rehashing the controversy between the 70 year-old oyster farm, whose operations inside Point Reyes National Seashore predate the parks establishment and the National Parks Service, who is seeking to shut down the operation when their lease expires in 2012. New developments for the pro-farm argument include the provision for a lease-extension in the Department of the Interiors 2010 appropriations bill pushed through by California Senator Dianne Feinstein while the pro-wilderness argument is bolstered by a report released by the park services local office, and supported by the National Academy of Sciences, that claims the farm disrupts seal mating habitat and poses a threat to native flora and fauna.
This local debate mirrors a much larger question troubling producers and preservationist across the country: What is an appropriate level of use for our National Parks, Forests and Seashores and what, exactly, are these spaces meant to protect and preserve? The National Parks Service safeguards 2,461 national historic landmarks, 582 national natural landmarks, 391 national parks, and 40 national heritage areas, with the mission to care for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage. The problem is that everyones got a different opinion about what caring for and heritage mean.
Many small-scale food producers see themselves as the ultimate caretakers of our natural environments keeping the land healthy and productive is in their best interest, after all. Their relationship with the land is part of our cultural and natural heritage and they often are the last line of defense between open-space and development. On the flip side, some preservationists argue that human activities in our National Park lands (which include food production, logging, etc.) negatively impact native ecosystems and that the appropriate interpretation of care for is to restore National Parkland to wilderness.
In some cases, both sides can work together to achieve lasting environmental and economic symbiosis. I think, for example, of a story told to me by a Western Massachusetts farmer, who worked with local landowners and conservationists to determine the best time to hay surrounding fields so that ground-nesting birds would not be disturbed and the fields could still be utilized for their economic purpose. If they had not reached an agreement, the fields would soon have overgrown, making them unsuitable for haying and also making them less attractive for the nesting pairs.
Use our comments section to share your opinions about how our parklands should be managed or your stories of communities working together to both preserve and produce.
[photo courtesy of adactio at flickr creative commons]
Posted on Mon, November 02, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
Food Inc., the movie that caused quite a stir earlier this year by exposing the shocking truth about the food we eat, was released today on DVD and Blu-Ray. As we previously highlighted on this blog, Slow Food USA and many of its chapters were intimately involved in helping to promote and pre-screen this film to shed light on how our food supply is controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, worker safety and our own environment.
What were the reactions of audience members to this film? What were your own thoughts as you watched it? What should we be doing to continue to push big Ag to change their ways? How can we help ensure sustainable farming (and growing, processing, distribution) practices become the norm rather than the exception? Share your thoughts in the comments section of this post.
The DVD release also contains some additional footage and news coverage that you may not have seen around the time the film was released, including:
Celebrity Public Service Announcements
ABC News Nightline You Are What You Eat: Food With Integrity
The Amazing Food Detective and Snacktown Smackdown: Stay Active and Eat Health
Also, n.b.: The Center for Ecoliteracy has published a Food, Inc. Discussion Guide, designed a classroom resource for grades 9 to 12.
The 102-page guide provides questions and activities about the films themes, including health, sustainability, animal welfare, and workers rights. It is designed to help high school students make more thoughtful choices about food and participate in a meaningful dialogue about food and food systems.
Posted on Mon, November 02, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
by intern Heather Teige
The first of Slow Food on Campus’ three-part event series focusing on good, clean, and fair kicked off October 24th. Slow Food on Campus (SFOC) chapters participated in, and coordinated on-campus events to help raise awareness of the “clean” part of Slow Food USAs mission. Our SFOC chapters supported 350.orgs International Day of Climate Action and were a part of the lively patchwork of creative and thoughtful events that advocated for better climate change policy (one that caps CO2 emissions at 350 parts per million).
Slow Food on Campus chapter efforts were part of more than 5,200 registered events around the globe; from these events, over 19,000 photos have been submitted and uploaded to 350.org. The incredible breadth of diversity found in these photos, whether it be where the photo was taken, or the personal thoughts on climate change that the photos express, is inspiring. The sheer number of people involved is a testament to the societal shift that has occurred in recent years and stands as proof of the commitment people are ready to make to help encourage better climate change policy.