What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Thu, September 29, 2011 by Slow Food USA
Guess who’s getting in on the $5 Challenge?
Just two weeks after 30,000 of you came together and took the $5 Challenge, the Partnership for a Healthier America—the foundation created for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign—has announced they’re up to the challenge, too.
On November 29th, White House Chef Sam Kass will be hosting two cooking events designed to highlight that healthy food can be affordable and quick to prepare. In the first event, chefs will prepare a family meal on just $10 (typical SNAP budget for a family dinner); in the second, they will have chefs preparing healthy, three-course “gourmet” meals on a typical American dinner budget—$4.50 per person.
We are extremely excited that the White House is interested in pushing forward the dialogue on how cooking from scratch can be the most affordable and healthy option. And, lucky dogs, they’ve got a treasure trove of tips and tricks—compiled by you, the Slow Food community—available to them on our tumblr page.
We’d also like to see Kass, guest chefs Colicchio and others, as well as the Obamas, really dig deep into what’s really possible on that $4.50. What we heard from all of you was that:
...Whether you had a personal garden
Whether you are a farmer
Whether your friends and neighbors are farmers
Whether you belong to a CSA
Whether you live near a farmers market or good grocery
...all made a huge difference in terms of succeeding at the $5 Challenge. And not everyone has a CSA nearby or the space and time to start their own garden.
We hope the White House’s Great American Family Dinner Challenge acknowledges this “challenge” side of the issue, too. When federal policy is subsidizing the foods that are worst for us, and it’s easier in many communities to buy Froot Loops than it is to buy real fruit, it’s no wonder that cooking affordable meals is more challenging than it should be. Addressing those challenges is going to take all of us working together with the White House to fix the policies that stand in the way of making food truly good, clean, and fair for all.
Posted on Wed, September 21, 2011 by Slow Food USA
Author Anna Lappe makes a homemade organic egg/muffin sandwich and tries to answer the question: Is fast food really cheaper, no matter how you slice it? And if so, what does that even mean for the nation’s poor?
by Anna Lappé
I hear it all the time: I can’t eat healthy; organic food is so expensive! Over the weekend, Slow Food USA brought together more than 30,000 people around the country to tackle this lament with the “$5 Challenge,” showing how we can eat well on five bucks. Sure, if you go to a Whole Foods in Manhattan you can be set back $20 bucks before you know it, and with little to show for it. But, as Team SFUSA helped reveal, there are ways to stretch your dollar and eat well.
Still, all this got me wondering: Is fast food really cheaper, no matter how you slice it?
At a McDonald’s in Greenpoint, a friend pointed out to me, Egg McMuffins were going for $2.99. Seems cheap, right? (Of course, if you know much about our modern industrial food system and its costs, you’d know that this price tag doesn’t account for how much you and I are really paying: the billions in health care costs because of preventable diet-related illnesses; the billions more in pollution clean-up costs, largely from the factory farms producing the meat, including that McMuffin bacon. You get the idea.)
But let’s stick with the actual price: $2.99. And compare that with what it would cost to make an organic, homemade Egg Mc-ish-muffin.
I priced out the ingredients from a Brooklyn supermarket (not a Whole Foods, mind you) and calculated the specific price per ingredient based on a comparable portion size. The grand total for the organic, homemade one? $2.59. Yup, that’s forty cents less than the fast food “cheap” meal.
Posted on Sun, September 18, 2011 by Slow Food USA
Yesterday, as part of the $5 Challenge, over 5,570 meals took place all over the country. Hundreds of people submitted photos as well as sharing what parts of the challenge were difficult and what made it difficult.
Yesterday, as part of the $5 Challenge, over 5,570 meals took place!
Click here to see photos from Hawai’i to Illinois to New York to Texas….from potlucks to family dinners to community suppers to food truck rallies,
No matter where they were or how they came together, they were all trying to answer the question: is it possible to make a healthy, local, and delicious meal for under $5 per person?
People got creative and brought their own flair to it—like Bear Braumoeller of Slow Food Columbus, who decided to take the $5 Challenge one step further. He attempted (and, SPOILER ALERT, succeeded) to create a sustainable $5 meal in 15 minutes—to show that sustainable cooking can be quick as well as affordable. Also he live tweeted it.
Bear wasn’t the only one tweeting his progress. Joe Yonan, food editor of the Washington Post, asked his 6,000+ followers questions like “My #5challenge dilemma: Cut which of these to make budget: 3 of 8 apples 4 tart? Squash (ergo soup)? Sausage 4 stuffed peppers (more rice)?”
Posted on Fri, September 16, 2011 by Gordon Jenkins
Tamar Adler, author of An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace, shares a recipe for cooking a vegetable that’s always easy to find.
’The golden age only comes to men when they have forgotten gold.’
-Gilbert K. Chesterton
One of the hardest parts of trying to cook affordably and well is figuring out vegetables. Fundamental to good eating, vegetables present all sorts of hurdles. They’re often expensive; they’re perishable—if you don’t get to them as quickly as you’d like, you watch your money wilt and liquefy—and unless you buy them cut up, which isn’t as good a bargain as it appears, they’re labor intensive.
Probably the greatest hurdle to regular vegetable eating is that, depending where you live and the time of year, a good, reasonably priced vegetable can seem hard to come by. I recommend considering the possibility that there’s a vegetable hiding in plain sight. There’s usually one closer at hand than you think as long as you know how to look: it’s probably hidden in the dark corner of your pantry, or in a dusty bin at your corner store. As soon as you dig it out and dust it off, you’ll find yourself rich in vegetables that you’d had all along.
Posted on Wed, September 14, 2011 by Emily Vaughn
Slow Food Upstate leader Janette Wesley tells us what makes Earth Markets different from other farmers markets, how the project got started, and what’s next for the market.
Our chapter ran into a large dilemma when we were developing plans for the market which became our primary reason to see the realization of the project. At first we had reservations about starting a market in Greenville because our region has many established markets. As Earth Markets have a strict no-GMO policy, we began to discover, to our astonishment, there were no producers in the entire southeastern USA making a non-GMO animal feed. Therefore, many otherwise good producers of meat, cheese, poultry, and eggs were knocked out of the application process.
Although many farmers who raise animals or use animal products in their foods would be interested in being GMO-free, the closest source of non-GMO animal feed is in Ohio, rendering it too expensive and logistically complicated to be a viable feed option. We also discovered that “Certified Organic” gives an option if non-gmo feed is not available or too cost prohibitive to allow for GMO animal feed to be included under the certification, and we felt the consumer had a right to this information.
However as a result of our conversations, and the discovery of how widespread the conundrum goes, we now have formed a small group of producers who are looking for ways to manage this problem, and have an apple grower in North Carolina who has grown this summer non-GMO corn for feed, and which is now ready to harvest and mill.
Posted on Mon, September 12, 2011 by Intern
Slow Food NYC has gotten its hands dirty in school gardens throughout the city with its Urban Harvest program. This summer they took those organizing skills to South Africa to partner with a local school to build a garden that gets more fresh fruits and veggies into the cafeteria.
by interns Sasha Hippard and Alaena Robbins
Artworks for Youth, a volunteer driven not-for-profit based out of New York City, provides year-long after school art instruction to under-served students across South Africa. Last year, they became interested in starting school gardens due to a necessity they saw when the school district could no longer feed a meal to the children during the day. Instead of just continuing to provide meals to the students, Artworks for Youth approached Slow Food NYC’s chapter leader Sandra McLean to take on a garden project at one of the South African schools. Sandra’s mission was to travel to Joe Slovo primary school, located in the Joe Slovo township, and help develop a school “feeding garden” that would serve both educational as well as practical purposes. With the help of $800 from fundraising and anonymous matching donor, Sandra was able to get to South Africa and collect the supplies needed to get the project started.
Posted on Fri, September 09, 2011 by Slow Food USA
Out of work and prospects dim for the foreseeable future, Amy knew that her household food budget had to take a hit. She also knew that she didn’t want to lose enthusiasm for cooking, for sharing meals with her family, and her friends. This is her story.
by Slow Food Rhode Island chapter leader Amy McCoy
There’s much to love about Slow Food – the story of its inception, Carlo Petrini and his band of hungry activists, doling out pasta at Rome’s Spanish Steps in protest of fast food (can’t you just see yourself, walking down the street, men and women with pots of pasta and pasta forks approaching you, asking if you’d care for a bowl with nonna’s sauce? How could you say no?), its evolution into an advocacy group, a group that cares about where our food comes from, that the people who grow and make our food earn a fair wage, and that good, clean, fair food be accessible to all.
Along with all of the other Slow Food devotees out there, I am passionate about these issues. How can you not be once you learn a little, and then a little more, about where your food comes from?
But if I’m being totally honest, the thing that initially lured me in – that got me hooked on Slow Food and its ideals – is that this is an organization dedicated to the love of food and the joy that sharing a good meal, made with care and high-quality ingredients, with friends and family could bring. You know that joy, too. The laughter and conversation, the smiling faces of your loved ones basking in the glow of a good meal. That’s as much a part of the enjoyment of food as is the flavor. And sharing that love – of food, family, and friends – was the biggest motivation for my food blog when I started it in 2008.
Out of work and prospects dim for the foreseeable future, I knew that our household food budget had to take a hit. A sizable hit at that. Yet, I also knew that I didn’t want to lose enthusiasm for cooking, for sharing meals with my husband, our extended family, and our friends. I also didn’t want to start shopping where the store’s values were different than my own just because the prices were lower on items like meat. I didn’t want to skip the farm stand or farmers market, and I still wanted to visit my friends at my favorite Italian market, even if Parmigiano-Reggiano and prosciutto had to be relegated to special occasions only.
So a few adjustments were required. First, I set my weekly food budget. Then I did some research about sales. I became very familiar with the prices at the farm stand. I bought copious amounts of slightly blemished butternut squash from my farmer neighbors (and other fall vegetables, too, but, boy, did we eat a lot of butternut squash that first fall. Good thing we’re winter squash obsessed.). I made a meal plan for the week. The shopping list followed the meal plan. And I slapped myself silly – figuratively, of course, that would be over-the-top weird to whack myself in the store - every time I so much as looked at an item not on the list. “Stick to the list, only the list,” I chided myself.
Posted on Wed, September 07, 2011 by Slow Food USA
Can 8 co-workers navigate multiple palates, tastes, and dislikes to cook for each other every day? Nine months, two participant shuffles, six steady members, and three check-in meetings later, the Slow Food USA Lunch Co-op is a huge success!
A New York January isn’t the best time to start a cooking experiment whose ground rules include sourcing local ingredients. But after months of fantasizing about relief from dinner leftovers and overpriced takeout for lunch, eight Slow Food staffers risked their taste buds and reached their kale-and-winter squash recipe limit to begin a lunch cooperative. Inspired to action by a Civil Eats article chronicling another lunch co-op adventure (written by our very own Jerusha Klemperer—Slow Food’s Associate Director of Campaigns and Projects) we met and discussed the structure. On an eight –day rotation, a different person would cook for all other co-op members once every eight days. With multiple palates, tastes, and dislikes, we needed to set out some ground rules: 1.) As many whole, local and organic ingredients as possible. 2.) Each per person cost had to be less than $5. The whole meal could not cost more than $40 3.) Vegeterian meals only or at least one vegetarian serving for our meat-free member. 4.) Limit spicy dishes and anything with tuna or eggplant. 5.) Be bold and creative.
We also needed to make sure that the ball never got dropped. Using a Google doc calendar (see picture) to schedule the rotation has allowed us to edit whenever we want. It’s also color coded—meaning every eight-day cycle is a different color—immediately making clear which days in each cycle still need to be taken. The day’s chef sends an email with the menu so she can get feedback and also so everyone else gets excited!
Posted on Wed, September 07, 2011 by Hnin
This online directory is already helping to connect the ever-growing network of farmers and food activists of color.
From its inception to its launch, The Color of Food directory took 9 months to realize. Delivered into a world where representation in the food movement is largely white and privileged, it is a fresh initiative that is already helping to connect the ever-growing network of farmers and food activists of color.
Connecting the dots between race and food is important for the success and integrity of the food movement. Tied to this is the choice we all have to invest in the voice and leadership of people of color—especially the youth. According to 28 year-old Natasha Bowens, the founder of The Color of Food and Brown.Girl.Farming, youth have the power to break barriers in transforming the food system:
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Posted on Fri, September 02, 2011 by Slow Food USA
How can I learn more about the movement? Here’s a good list to start from. Have any other suggestions?
By Aimee Campbell
Slow Food USA
When I started at Slow Food USA a few months ago, I asked everyone I met:
How I can learn more about this movement?
Little did I know someone would be asking me this same question almost every day!
Here are some recommended resources for learning more about Slow Food, the movement, the issues, and the “slow” way of life. Have other suggestions? Post them here and share with us all.Articles:
Michael Pollan, “Food Movement Rising”
Josh Viertel, “Why Big Ag Won’t Feed the World”
Eric Schlosser, “Slow Food for Thought”
Michael Pollan, “An Open Letter to the Next Farmer in Chief”
Jane Black, “The New Front in the Culture Wars: Food”
Kurt Friese, “How I beat KFC’s Family Meal Challenge”
If you decide to add any of these books or documentaries to your home library, please use these links – 15% of your purchase price will come back to Slow Food USA and support national campaigns to make good, clean, and fair food more accessible and affordable for everyone.
Grown in Detroit
Websites & Organizations
Slow Food International
The international parent organization of Slow Food USA
Find Fresh, Local Food:
Find farmers’ markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.
Comprehensive, accurate information about the benefits of raising animals on pasture, and links to farms that sell all-natural, delicious, grass-fed products.
Thousands of listings for family farms, restaurants, farmers’ markets, grocery stores, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, U-pick orchards and more.
Cook Good Food:
Food52 grew out of the idea that the best recipes come from home cooks. Home cooks are practical and inventive, and these qualities lead to great recipes.
Articles, cooking tips, interviews, recipes, podcasts, food news, blog posts to help put real food at the center of life.
The EatingWell mission is to provide the inspiration and information people need to make healthy eating a way of life.
Grow Your Own:
Kitchen Gardeners International
Tools to empower individuals, families, and communities to achieve greater levels of food self-reliance through kitchen gardening, home-cooking, and sustainable local food systems.
An organization dedicated to bringing fresh, sustainably-grown produce from regional farmers to the local grocery store.
Farm Aid works to create more markets for family farmers, giving more people the opportunity to access farm food.
National Family Farm Coalition
The National Family Farm Coalition represents family farm and rural groups whose members face the challenge of the deepening economic recession in rural communities.
Civil Eats is a blog with many contributors on a variety of food-related topics that promote critical thought about sustainable agriculture and food systems as part of building economically and socially just communities.
The personal blog of the celebrated food writer, cookbook author, television personality, and avid home cook working to “get people cooking simply, comfortably, and well.”
FoodCorps places motivated young leaders in limited-resource communities for a year of public service, doing hands-on nutrition education, building school gardens, and bringing high-quality local foods into public school cafeterias.
A national initiative of young food activists that promotes “a people’s movement for real food solutions.”
Real Food Challenge
The Real Food Challenge leverages the power of youth and universities to create a healthy, fair and green food system. Their primary campaign is to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets away from industrial farms and junk food and towards local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound and humane food sources by 2020.
This grassroots organization is made up of young farmers whose mission is to recruit, promote and support the new generation of farmers.
CoFed is a national cooperative network and training program committed to empowering students to create ethically-sourced, cooperatively-run food enterprises on college campuses.
The website of the Institute for Food and Development Policy, shaping how people think by analyzing the root causes of global hunger, poverty, and ecological degradation and developing solutions in partnership with movements working for social change.
US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA)
This organization works to end poverty, rebuild local food economies, and assert democratic control over the food system.
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