What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Sat, October 29, 2011 by Hnin
Even beyond the shared connection of good, clean, and fair food values, there’s a whole crop of reasons for why people in the food movement should be paying attention to and learning from OWS. Here’s our top 3.
Grassroots. Hungry for change. Growing a new vision every day. We’re talking about the hundreds of gardens, farmers markets, and community potlucks that Slow Food members have helped to seed over the past 10 years—and we’re talking about Occupy Wall Street. Even beyond the shared connection of good, clean, and fair food values, there’s a whole crop of reasons for why people in the food movement should be paying attention to and learning from OWS—a people’s movement against Big Banks. Big Corporations. And yes, Big Ag—or what we call industrial agribusiness. Here are our top 3 reasons (so far):
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Posted on Fri, October 28, 2011 by Slow Food USA
Two developments this week indicate that massive congressional budget cuts might not spell disaster for nutrition programs and support for small farmers after all.
In this time of national financial crisis, agricultural funding has been flagged to take a big hit. Two big developments this week indicate that congress is waking up to the potential that regionally focused agriculture holds for job creation, improvements to public health, and economic development.
The first came earlier this week—on Food Day—when Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced a bill that she plans to introduce to the House: The Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act. The bill will provide new kinds of support to farmers growing healthy food; make it easier to use food stamps at farmers markets; and require USDA research to focus less narrowly on genetically modified plants. A companion bill is on its way to the Senate.
Tell your Congressmen to be a part of the Recipe for Change by supporting the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act.
Posted on Mon, October 24, 2011 by Slow Food USA
Congress is planning dramatic cuts to the American budget and anything and everything is on the chopping block. The agricultural sector is likely to take a big hit but will the special Congressional “super committee” make positive change or keep pandering to Big Ag?
That’s no way to balance a budget: that’s a recipe for disaster.
Posted on Thu, October 20, 2011 by Tim Smith
Heading into Food Day—a national campaign for everyday people to take back control of their food, health, and environment—this coming Mon. (Oct. 24), we can’t help but think that more than ever before, there is potential for legislative impact.
Heading into Food Day—a national campaign for everyday people to take back control of their food, health, and environment—this coming Mon. (Oct. 24), we can’t help but think that more than ever before, there is potential for legislative impact. Coming off the heels of our $5 Challenge and this past weekend’s World Food Day—and with Congress’ Super Committee poised to greatly influence the 2012 Farm Bill by deciding where to cut funds for food and agriculture programs by their Nov. 23rd deadline—this is a big moment for the food movement.
For the first time since the 2008 Farm Bill, we have a clear pathway to government. Better yet, we have an opportunity to write a new chapter in America’s story of food and farming—where everyday people rally together to challenge Congress to do the right thing: to make food that’s good for consumers, good for producers, and good for the environment accessible and affordable for everyone, every day.
At the core of Food Day’s mission is a desire to fix America’s broken food system. As an official partner, Slow Food USA could not be more supportive of the day’s participants and their demands, which include:
It’s going to take each of us rolling up our sleeves to balance the currently unjust and unsustainable food system. The good news is that there are lots of us and lots of ways to keep the pressure on Congress. On Food Day, can send a message to Congress by signing on to the Eat Real agenda or by taking the $5 Challenge or by doing both! You can exercise your right to free speech and talk about the right to good food online or to the media. Many food activists across the country have even joined up with their local Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movements to protest injustices in the food system.. The tactics you choose are entirely up to you; the greater meaning is to believe that when everyday people take action together, we can make a difference with what ends up on each of our plates.
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Posted on Tue, October 18, 2011 by Slow Food USA
Slow Food Chicago is helping its community enjoy the bounty year round. Canning and preserving workshops have kicked off and will be continuing through the winter months. It’s amazing what some cookware, fresh food and willing hands can do!
Submitted by Slow Food Chicago Leader Jennifer Breckner. Photos by Megan Larmer
The Summer months here in Chicago are definitely bountiful. And, through a partnership with Slow Food USA, Anolon Cookware is helping us extend that bounty to the other seasons. Slow Food Chicago hears all the time that our community wants hands-on food production workshops; they want a sense of self-sufficiency and they want to learn! Particularly important to us are affordable opportunities that demystify the canning process, extend the harvest throughout the year, and that connect individuals with local produce on an intimate level.
Anolon stepped in to support this great cause, generously providing Slow Food Chicago with over $1,000 in cookware and utensils to start up a pilot canning and preservation program, which will be held seasonally, throughout the year. The first two workshops, organized by Megan Larmer, Slow Food Chicago board member, and Samantha Radov, workshop instructor, were held over the summer at Logan Square Kitchen, a “shared kitchen” that supports local entrepreneurs getting their start. As a bonus, it’s the only LEED Gold private event space in Chicago.
“Anolon’s donation is invaluable. By not having to purchase cookware, we made a profit on the first workshop. We also were able to plan the entire series at once, knowing the equipment will last. Now we can begin improving the workshops with the very next installment. This gift ensures the longevity and success of the workshop series,” explained Larmer.
Slow Food Chicago received an enthusiastic response to the canning classes, which sold out quickly. Thirty people joined instructor Radov, a Slow Food enthusiast and pastry chef at Publican, to can tomatoes. The workshops were fun, informative, and absolutely messy. As one person said, “I’m interested in the sourcing of my food, and preserving it for myself. I never knew [that] I liked tomatoes until I had “real” one. FOOD IS SO COOL!”
We agree! Holding these canning workshops was for some a way to connect with near-forgotten family traditions, and for others a time to start a new one. Slow Food Chicago is excited for its future workshops: apples in November, citrus in February, and rhubarb in May. Onward!
Posted on Mon, October 17, 2011 by Hnin
Slow Food USA is going on the road to meet with the next generation of food movement leaders—and our last stop is Twitter! On Friday, October 21st at 4pm EST, we will host a live Twitter chat with students across the country.
Slow Food USA is going on the road to meet with the next generation of food movement leaders—and our last stop is Twitter! On Friday, October 21st at 4pm EST, @JoshViertel will host a live Twitter chat with students across the country #SlowFoodEDU. The topic of discussion is the current state of food and farming, and what students can do to grow the movement for better food.
The Twitter party will serve as the exclamation mark to a 3-day campus tour from Oct. 16 to 19—when Slow Food USA President Josh Viertel will be hitting up the Northeast, chatting with hundreds of college and high school students about the role of young people in the food movement.
While engaging students in the fight for better food policies is not new to Slow Food (our Slow Food on Campus program is growing and is now active on 47 campuses nationwide!), Josh’s campus tour is happening at an important time:
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Posted on Fri, October 14, 2011 by Slow Food USA
Today marks the deadline for various groups—including those representing agriculture—to submit their recommendations to Congress’s “super committee”, whose task of trimming our nation’s budget by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years will undoubtedly impact the food we eat.
As we head into the season of super suppers, Congress is preparing for some hard conversations about what’s for dinner. In August, when our government almost shut down because Congress couldn’t agree on how to balance our budget—they came up with the idea of a “super committee” aka. the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to decide which programs to save and which to scrap—including those that impact the food we eat. Between now and Thanksgiving, this group of 6 Democrats and 6 Republicans will come to the table with the task of trimming our budget by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.
Today marks the deadline for various groups—including those representing agriculture—to submit their recommendations to the super committee. If they can’t reach consensus on an action plan by Nov. 23, automatic across-the-board cuts will kick in to the tune of $1.2 trillion—affecting everything from defense to healthcare. If they are able to come to an agreement, Congress will make the final vote to approve the super committee’s proposal on Dec. 23.
We’re on our toes. On the chopping block are some of the programs that make it easier for all of us to eat good, clean, and fair food:
• SNAP (aka food stamps)
• Conservation programs—such as Value Added Producer Grants for small producers, grants for organic fruit and vegetable production, and funding for community food projects
But there’s an opportunity here! Also on the chopping block—for the first time in history—are programs that make it easier to eat overprocessed foods that are bad for us and the planet. We’re talking about direct subsidies for commodity crops (like corn, soy, wheat, etc) in particular. This is a critical moment for the future of food and we want Congress to do the right thing: save the programs that promote good, clean, and fair food and scrap the ones that promote an unhealthy, unsustainable America.
While the politics of spending cuts and tax increases can get a bit messy on the Hill, one thing is clear: We can’t afford to skimp on keeping America nourished and healthy. Last month, when 30,000 people took the $5 Challenge—to cook Slow Food for less than it costs to buy fast food—we saw a nation ready for change. We need policy that makes it easier for everyone to grow and eat food that reflect our values: food that’s good for the people who eat it, good for the farm and food workers who produce it, and good for the planet. So will the super committee be the super heroes or super villains for better food and farming?
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Posted on Fri, October 14, 2011 by Slow Food USA
The Cultiva Youth Project and Slow Food Boulder have teamed up with Anolon Cookware to provide top-notch cooking education and leadership opportunities in North Boulder. Here, teens get to cook and eat together, as well as learn from their peers. And, of course, brand new cookware doesn’t hurt!
Submitted by Ellie Goldberg of Growing Gardens’ Cultiva Youth Project
Here at Growing Gardens’ Cultiva Youth Project we are so thankful for our ongoing partnership with Slow Food Boulder! Each spring and summer, Cultiva youth participate in Slow Food cooking classes with local chefs, preparing meals at our garden in north Boulder, at the market, and in a downtown church kitchen. Slow Food recruits the chefs, purchases the ingredients, and helps staff the class. This time around, Anolon Cookware has given us the pots and pans.
The chefs choose recipes that use the vegetables the Cultiva youth grow at our organic market garden. Cultiva teens come from all walks of life; participants come from all socio-economic levels and represent a diverse cross section of Boulder County youth in all ways. Many of the teens have never prepared an entire meal from scratch, especially using vegetables they grew and under the guidance of a professional chef. Slow Food cooking classes are definitely a highlight of working at Cultiva; the teens love working together in the kitchen, learning new techniques and recipes from a pro, and above all, sitting together and enjoying a tasty home-cooked meal. To see a documentary about our Cultiva summer program, click here!
Thanks to Anolon’s generous donation of top-notch cooking supplies, we were also able to offer 6 youth-led cooking classes in the garden. The teens harvested vegetables and prepared garlic scape pesto, kale chips, and zucchini pancakes. The youth loved cooking using the shiny new tools!
But that’s not all we’ve been up to! This season, we had the opportunity to visit Shamane’s Bake Shoppe and bake with Shamane herself, prepare pizzas at the market with Antonio Laudisio, make kale tacos with Rayme and Serena on the Comida taco truck, and prepare a meal at the church with Tim Payne of Terroir. We’re excited to keep on growing.
Posted on Wed, October 12, 2011 by Slow Food USA
This week is National School Lunch Week, to celebrate we’re asking you, “How can we can we create a better school food system?” Answer to win a free copy of Nourish Short Films: 54 Bite-Sized Videos About the Story of Your Food.
This week, October 10-14th, is National School Lunch Week, a time to raise awareness about the importance of school meals in children’s health and our food system.
This month, Nourish, an educational initiative designed to open a meaningful conversation about food and sustainability, particularly in schools and communities, is showcasing perspectives on school lunch, from farm to school programs to parent activism. In this new video from Nourish Short Films: 54 Bite-Sized Videos About the Story of Your Food, food journalist Michael Pollan advocates for a better menu for America’s children.
In addition to Michael Pollan, the Nourish short films features segments with Jamie Oliver, Alice Waters, Bryant Terry, and other voices of the food movement, and such topics as “Edible Education,” “Grow, Cook, Learn,” and “Youth Making Change.” Our own Josh Viertel remarked that, “These short films bring to life a vision of a world where food is good for the people who eat it, good for the people who grow and pick it, and good for the planet.”
To celebrate National School Lunch Week, we’re giving away one of these free Nourish Short Films DVDs! But we want to hear from you first. Leave a comment below in answer to the question, How can we can we create a better school food system? We will select a winner at random, so there are no right answers, but send us your answers now – the contest will close on Sunday October 16th.
Posted on Sat, October 08, 2011 by Slow Food USA
The demands of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) - which is broadly defined as a protest against economic inequality - are as diverse as its growing camp of activists. Two of those demands speak directly to the corporate mishandling of our food system. But food and farming isn’t just central to their platform; it’s central to sustaining the day-to-day life of the movement.
What began with an encampment of makeshift cardboard tents and an impromptu sidewalk gallery of protest signs has exploded into a movement that’s spawning sister protests nationwide. But as numbers grow, so do logistical challenges: how do you feed a crowd of 20,000?
At the cafeteria-style “kitchen” in Zuccotti Square (the OWS base camp), plates of donated food are doled out by a rotating cast of volunteers, including trained chefs (the overwhelming quantity of donated food has organizers scrambling to donate to local shelters, ensuring nothing is wasted.) Operating on 100% food donations means the kitchen team has to improvise based on what’s at hand, and prepare any hot meals at apartments or kitchen space in the neighborhood. However improvised, the kitchen supports the values of the activists: food scraps go into a compost bin, and dishwater passes through a filter to be reused.
And good, clean, and fair food IS a value of the activists. But what does it have to do with Wall Street? Food justice writer and activist Jan Poppendeick says the connection is corporate control of agriculture. The statistics are staggering (90% of the corn market is dominated by 3 companies, for example) and the resulting degradation of human health and the environment endangers our health, and the future health of our food supply. Reclaiming control of the food system from corporate entities is one of the written tenets of the OWS declaration: “[corporations] have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.” Another tenet speaks to animal cruelty inflicted by the common industrial practice of confining animals into tight quarters with abhorrent conditions.
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