What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Wed, September 29, 2010 by Jerusha Klemperer
Carlo Petrini, founder and president of the Slow Food organization will hold a series of talks on the future of food and the significance of biodiversity on a tour of several prestigious New England universities in October.
BRA, Italy, Sep 25, 2010 (Slow Food International)
Carlo Petrini, founder and president of the Slow Food organization will hold a series of talks on the future of food and the significance of biodiversity on a tour of several prestigious New England universities in October. The same subject is also the focus of his latest book, Terra Madre - Forging a New Global Network of Sustainable Food Communities, published in the US by Chelsea Green.
Petrini’s visit will include the following dates:
Oct 6, 12pm Tufts University – Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
Oct 6, 4.30pm Harvard University
Oct 8 Yale University
including an encounter with the Yale Sustainable Food Project
Oct 10 Princeton University
In the book, a conceptual follow-up to his Slow Food Nation (2005), Petrini takes a fresh look at his theories in the light of the ongoing global crisis and the dominant school of thought and development model that are its prime cause. This model has failed and is incapable of coming up with innovative solutions outside the global system it has created.
The starting point for these reflections is Terra Madre, the global network of food communities founded by Slow Food. The network is made up of thousands of fishermen, farmers, small-scale livestock breeders, but also chefs, academics and young food activists from over 153 countries who come together every two years in Turin (Italy), all of them involved every day in food communities in their home countries. This loose coalition of small-scale food producers is a new entity in the global panorama, and is poised to become one of the largest alliances at the service of the planet.
Food communities have a central role to play in creating a constructive dialogue between those who produce and those who eat, thus rebalancing the relationship between humankind and the Earth. This role is fundamental if we are to attribute the right value to food. Petrini asks us to regain sovereignty over our food system through active participation in food communities, which are a significant force in the revival of local economies. Food sovereignty must be rebuilt through an alliance between food producers capable of operating outside the prevailing school of thought and of working in a sustainable manner in harmony with nature and consumers
Universities and research centers play a pivotal role in the effort to maintain and strengthen a sustainable food production in collaboration with food communities. Through promotional and educational activities, event organization and exchanges, they can support small-scale socially and ecologically sustainable quality food production and defend the right to self-determination in the food sector, as well as actively participating in the education of the civil society and the training of agro-food sector professionals.
The young generation has gained an ever greater importance in the Terra Madre network. Young farmers, cooks, artisans, activists and students committed to changing the food system from an exploitative, unsustainable and unhealthy one to a situation where quality, diverse, sustainable food is within reach of all. Terra Madre 2008 saw over 1000 young farmers, chefs, students and activists from more than 65 countries coming together in Turin.
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Posted on Wed, September 29, 2010 by Jerusha Klemperer
I’ve just joined Slow Food USA as Membership Manager. I came to work at Slow Food USA because I got tired of seeing the problems in our food system and I wanted to change them.
I’ve just joined Slow Food USA as Membership Manager. I came to work at Slow Food USA because I got tired of seeing the problems in our food system and I wanted to change them. I’ve seen my Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn neighbors choose frozen pizza and mac-and-cheese over produce at my local grocery store because the lettuce was brown and the onions were covered in flies and mold.
There is something seriously wrong with our food system—people across the country are making the choice between nutritious food and junk because they can’t get affordable fresh produce where they live.
What is change in the food system? To me, it’s a selection of affordable fresh fruit and vegetables in your local grocery store, not week-old overpriced tomatoes that are starting to go moldy. It’s healthier meals for the nearly 400,000 school children who get free lunch at New York City public schools. It’s policies that help make bodegas and corner markets able to afford to sell vegetables over snack foods, alcohol and tobacco in low-income neighborhoods.
Slow Food USA unites powerful local communities in the grassroots movement for good, clean and fair food. But now more than ever, we need more changemakers to get involved. This month and next, we want to add 10,000 more voices to our powerful network of everyday people demanding a just and healthy food system. If you haven’t joined yet, now is the time, because a donation of $25 or more makes you a member*.
We did a lot of listening to our leaders, members and supporter and heard that we needed to make membership more affordable. So from now to October 22, you can become a member with a contribution of $25 or more. We’re testing this new membership structure and our success over the next 30 days will help us determine whether to make this a permanent change. If you’re already a member, you can tell a friend through this link:
People across the United States and around the world have dramatically shifted their consciousness around food system issues, with much greater concern for where their food comes from and how it gets to them. Half a billion dangerous eggs have been recalled. Obesity and diabetes are at record levels. Children’s school lunches are revoltingly unhealthy. And people across the nation are mobilized to change that. Will you join us?
*If you join with a donation of $60 or more, you can opt-in to get special offers.
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Posted on Sat, September 25, 2010 by Gordon Jenkins
On September 25, thousands of people participated in “Dig In,” a national day of action to connect to our food and farmers. Where did you dig in?
Today, thousands of people across the country broke ground together at local gardens, farms and community events, and then broke bread together to celebrate. It was all part of “Dig In,” a national day of action to connect to our food and farmers. Check out the photos here.
Where did you “Dig In” on September 25?
This blog post is open thread – share comments and stories from your event below.
Posted on Fri, September 24, 2010 by Gordon Jenkins
Tomorrow, thousands of Slow Food members across the country are digging into gardens, farms, and community events – and then breaking bread to celebrate!
Tomorrow’s the big day.
Tomorrow in Columbia, Missouri, the local Slow Food chapter is building a greenhouse for an elementary school to kick off their “Harvest-of-the-Month” program. Tomorrow in Salt Lake City, Slow Food members are teaching cooking classes and stirring up support for healthier school lunches. And in New York City tomorrow (which is where I’ll be), we’re painting murals and building compost bins for an “Urban-Style Barn Raising.”
All over the country, Slow Food members are gathering for “Dig In,” a national day of action to connect people to where their food comes from (and have a great time while doing it). There’s probably something happening near you – click here to find out.
Posted on Mon, September 20, 2010 by Jerusha Klemperer
The Child Nutrition Act expires on September 30th; let’s reach out to our House Reps and urge them to pass this billand reject any efforts to cut funding to other nutrition programs to do it.
For many children, school has been in session for weeks. Lots of things may have changed for them since they broke for vacation—they are taller, older, smarter perhaps. One thing definitely has not changed, and that’s their school lunch.
The Child Nutrition Act expires on September 30th—one year after it was originally supposed to be passed. School lunch advocates, parents and school nutrition directors are all waiting anxiously for Congress to demonstrate its commitment to the health of our nation’s children.
In mid August, right before their break, the Senate passed their version of the bill (Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act), but in a troubling move, they funded it by cutting money from food stamps (SNAP). Call me crazy, but this seems to be the nutritional equivalent of stealing from Peter to pay Paul.
As of Monday, Congress is back in session. That means that in the next 15 days the House must pass its version of the bill, and then Congress must reconcile the two and come up with one final version of the bill. That is a lot to do in a short amount of time. It is imperative that we all reach out to our House Reps and urge them to pass this bill before the deadline and to reject any efforts to cut funding to other nutrition programs to do it.
You have held eat-ins around the country; you have signed our petition declaring your support for real food in schools; you have written and called your legislators—you have been amazing grassroots advocates for this entire reauthorization process. Now we are in the homestretch.
Posted on Thu, September 16, 2010 by Slow Food USA
Watch our latest video telling the story behind the egg scandal, and sign the petition calling for food safety.
by Slow Food USA President Josh Viertel
This article was first posted on The Atlantic Monthly’s Food Channel
When I speak to groups of people, I urge them to know the story behind their food, and for that story to be one they can be proud of. Last month’s recall of nearly a half a billion eggs has pulled back the curtain on industrial egg production and shown many Americans the story they never knew about how their eggs get onto their plates. It’s not a story eaters can be proud of, nor is it one the farmer can be proud of, nor is it one our food regulatory agencies can be proud of.
In fact, there are so many unpleasant realities in this story, that we still don’t know exactly which elements contributed to the presence of salmonella—cramped cages, mouse droppings, dead insects, chicken feed containing chicken bone meal. But it’s not just a story about eggs, of course.
Over the past year the USDA and the Department of Justice have been holding anti-trust workshops all over the country, examining how consolidation is affecting our agricultural system. They have listened to hog farmers, cattle producers, dairy farmers in an attempt to understand what this means for small-mid sized farmers and ranchers, and what this ultimately means for the consumer.
When half a billion eggs get recalled, consumers are rightfully scared and wonder what their alternatives are. For most people, there isn’t one; when only a handful of companies control the majority of the market, it means that when disease strikes, and spreads, there aren’t many places to turn. People in all 50 states eat eggs, but 50% of our eggs are produced in only 5 states. The same week that the egg recall was announced, there was a beef recall. And we all remember recent widespread spinach and peanut recalls.
IIn each story there have been similar narrative elements: large companies trying to get away with as much as they can, even if it means selling consumers product they know is contaminated; ineffective communication about violations between FDA and USDA; repeated bad actors allowed to stay in business; rapid and far-reaching spread of the product, making it challenging to recall all of it effectively; sick consumers and sometimes, tragically, dead ones.
The Department of Justice is starting to learn the story, and consumers are starting to learn too. The next step will be for government and individuals alike to demand a system that respects farmers, respects the environment, and respects the health and safety of consumers. A great starting point is communication—let’s demand that the FDA and the USDA talk to each other to make sure that bad actors are held accountable and forced to clean up their act before contaminated food makes its way to our tables.
Posted on Wed, September 15, 2010 by Intern
Thanks to the work of the faculty and students of Avoyelles Charter Public School, Slow Food Avoyelles, and the wider community, a once-empty space has been transformed into a vibrant and lively Edible Schoolyard.
by intern Claire Brandow
Between a line of trees and the softball field at the Avoyelles Charter Public School in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana, is an abundant garden. Cauliflower, lettuce, and shallots grow. Corn, squash, and beans grow together as the “three sisters.” Sunflowers and rose bushes represent the flower population here, and a few fruit trees mark the beginning of an orchard. It’s hard to believe that just over a year ago, this space was an empty field. Thanks to the work of the faculty and students of Avoyelles Charter Public School, Slow Food Avoyelles, and the wider community, the once-empty space has been transformed into a vibrant and lively Edible Schoolyard. From seeds-and-dirt to fork-and-plate, the 700 students of ACPS are now engaging with their food from many different aspects.
In August 2009, after approval from school director Julie Durand, Paige Rabalais and Polly Boersig, officers of Slow Food Avoyelles, began the work to turn the space into the impressive program it is today. Community donations of time, labor, and resources resulted in the construction of a shed that serves the dual purposes of tool storage and outdoor instruction. Next, a winter of “lasagna gardening” helped to ready the space for planting. In “lasagna gardening,” a cover crop is planted over a thick layer of compost in one quarter of the garden. The planted quarter is then rotated over the entire garden, depositing vitamins and nutrients into the soil.
The latest facet to the students’ food education is the addition of a kitchen to the curriculum. Painted in vibrant hues and stocked with Anolon cookware donated by the company as part of its “Creating a Delicious Future” initiative, students are now learning to cook what they’ve grown in the garden. Cushaw, a squash favored by local Cajun traditions, was recently given a few culinary treatments. It was baked with butter and honey, pureed for soup, and the seeds were roasted for a snack. The students have created many other delicious dishes like fluffy omelets, fresh squeezed orange juice, okra fritters, and even an herbed gazpacho with homemade garlic croutons.
Posted on Thu, September 02, 2010 by Slow Food USA
Thanks to a program hosted by the Milagro Allegro Community Garden in Highland Park, Los Angeles, we now have proof that nutrition education helps kids stay healthy.
Thanks to a program hosted by the Milagro Allegro Community Garden in Highland Park, Los Angeles, we now have proof that nutrition education helps kids stay healthy. The program, called L.A. Sprouts, is one of the nation’s first research studies to measure and demonstrate the health benefits of youth focused long-term nutrition, cooking and gardening programs.
The after school course consisted of twelve weekly classes for fourth and fifth graders from a local school. Each meeting included a healthy cooking lesson followed by a gardening session with a master gardener. Workshop leaders demonstrated new recipes to the students weekly and, working together in groups of five, the students then prepared the meal themselves. As part of the program, the students regularly visited a local farmers market and received a voucher to buy a fruit or a vegetable to take home.
With the goal of converting learning into action, the L.A. Sprouts project focuses on making eating healthier a family affair by sharing information about recipes and farmers’ markets with the parents of participating children. The result? Workshop leaders found that children and families did make changes to their eating habits as a result of participating in this project.
“L.A. Sprouts participants had increased preference for vegetable intake, specifically carrots and nopales, and increased self-efficacy for cooking and gardening compared to control students, ” said one of the project organizers, Emily Ventura, PhD, MPH, University of Southern California.
Using cookware donated by Anolon, through a partnership with Slow Food USA, L.A. Sprouts students gained hands-on experience making complete and healthy meals like quesadillas with greens, quinoa salad with kale and winter squash, and whole-wheat pasta with vegetable ragout. L.A. Sprouts was organized by the Childhood Obesity Research Center at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.