What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Wed, January 25, 2012 by Slow Food USA
My favorite veggie burgers have a “no genetically modified ingredients” label, where is this label on the rest of my food? Tell the FDA to ‘Just Label It’
by Slow Food USA Associate Director of National Programs, Angelines M. Alba Lamb
This weekend I sent my partner to the grocery store for the weekly shop. He ventured out in the snow, and in exchange I put the apples in their bowl and the cornbread box in the pantry. As I was putting my favorite box of veggie burgers into the freezer, I noticed a label I’d never paid attention to: “No genetically modified ingredients.” Did all my food have this label? I took the cornbread back out, and read all 6 sides. I learned that if I ate one piece, I would ingest 3 grams of protein. I learned my favorite corn bread used corn flour, corn, and baking soda. But I didn’t learn where the corn came from. Was it genetically engineered, like 80% of all corn grown in the U.S.?
Why didn’t my cornbread have the same label as my veggie burger? Because companies don’t have to disclose genetically modified ingredients. Some do but most corporations don’t. They didn’t disclose any ingredients until later in the 20th century. Cigarettes didn’t get warning labels until 1966, years after evidence was found of their ill health effects. Ingredient boxes and health warnings appeared after people, just like you and I, demanded that their government do everything in their power to protect consumers. Protecting consumers means informing consumers. If you pick up a cigarette, knowing that it can cause cancer, then that is your right. If you choose to eat genetically engineered corn despite the label, then that is your choice. But we don’t have a choice with genetically engineered food.
Just Label It – a national initiative to secure labeling for genetically engineered food- is demanding that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) require all food that is genetically engineered, or made with genetically modified ingredients, be marked like my veggie burgers. They need you and I to add our voices and send a message to the FDA consumers want this labeling. Add your voice by sending a comment to the FDA letting them know how important this issue is to you.
Right now the soymilk smoothie you are sipping on could have been made with genetically modified soy. The alfalfa sprouts topping your salad could have been engineered in a lab. And you have a right to know and a right to choose if you want to put that into your body or feed it to your family. We don’t know yet how genetically engineered food interacts with human bodies. There isn’t enough research. But don’t you want the chance to make that decision for yourself? I sent a comment to the FDA because I want all of my food, including my corn bread, to have the same label like my veggie burgers. Join Just Label It and me and send your own comment.
Posted on Tue, January 24, 2012 by Slow Food USA
Slow Food USA’s president says he is not turning his back on the organization’s roots, but is instead trying to better understand its identity.
by Slow Food USA President, Josh Viertel
When my fiancée, Juliana, and I were farming, we grew the most beautiful produce I have ever seen. I do not mean to brag. It is sort of like being a parent, or a pet owner. Anyone who has grown food with love probably feels that way about the product of his or her labor. We grew 300 varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers, many heirloom varieties, and ingredients for cooking food from so many traditions. We sold them at a farmers’ market in a well-heeled neighborhood, and we charged a lot of money. We did not think twice about charging $16 per pound for salad greens. We knew what work went into it, we knew how good it was, and we knew it was worth it. We sold out. And we made $12,000 a year between the two of us. We thought we were doing pretty well.
When low-income people came to our stand with food stamps, we gave them two or three for the price of one. But something was broken. At $12,000, we had low incomes ourselves, and the only people we could feed had high incomes. I wanted to change the world, and I saw farming as a piece of that work. Fairness for the farmer seemed to mean injustice for the eater. Fairness for the eater seemed to mean injustice for the farmer. How could we simply choose to fight for one, with the knowledge that it undercut the other?
A few years later, I found myself standing in a room filled with about 300 extraordinary people—people working to take on the same paradox that had troubled me as a young farmer. Slow Food USA was putting on an enormous event in San Francisco in the fall of 2008 called Slow Food Nation. It brought the most inspiring artisan pickle makers, charcuterie curers, and bread bakers together with the most committed food activists and farmers. Alice Waters, Carlo Petrini, Wendell Berry, Eric Schlosser, Michael Pollan, Raj Patel, Van Jones, Vandana Shiva, Lucas Benitez, and many, many other heroes of mine were all in the same place, at the same time, to talk about food, farming, and the movement to transform both. Monsanto and Ronald McDonald would have done well to blow up the building.
Posted on Tue, January 17, 2012 by Slow Food USA
To celebrate FoodCorps’ first year, we give you a glimpse of what it might be like to be a service member through the eyes of current member, Robyn Wardell.
FoodCorps is a national non-profit—for which Slow Food USA is a founding partner—that addresses our nation’s painful and costly childhood obesity epidemic using a three recipe ingredient for change: hands-on nutrition education, growing and tending school gardens, and getting healthy local food onto school cafeteria trays. FoodCorps’ first year of service is winding down, but recruitment for next year’s class of service members begins this week. To celebrate FoodCorps’ first year, we give you a glimpse of what it might be like to be a service member through the eyes of current member, Robyn Wardell.
If reading Robyn’s story piques your interest, you can read more on the FoodCorps website: http://www.foodcorps.org or wa,tch their recruitment video (produced by Ian Cheney, co-creator of King Corn!) below:
The deadline for applications is March 25th.
A Day in the Life of a FoodCorps Service Member
by Robyn Wardell, serving at the Crim Fitness Foundation in Flint, MI
7:30 Wake up to my first alarm. Hit snooze.
7:35 Hit snooze again.
7:40 Hit snooze again…
8:00 Actually get out of bed
8:30 Head to the Crim Office to check e-mails and plan lessons.
10:00 Speak with farmer in Davison about supplying sweet corn and carrots to Flint school cafeterias.
10:30 Head over to Freeman to check up on the status of the newly-built hoophouse and hope the door won’t be stolen and or completely broken this time.
11:00 Teach lesson to Mr. Brown’s 6th grade class about food systems and how that relates to their school lunches. Plan a video project where students will interview one another about their feelings on their school meals to learn about how to form unbiased questions, edit video, and articulate what they’d like to get out of the food they eat.
12:00 Eat my own lunch and think about the systems that brought it to me.
12:30 Head to Eisenhower Elementary to plant spinach and lettuce with Ms. Walsh’s and Ms. Barker’s 2nd graders in the greenhouse. Try and get them to refrain from throwing snowballs at the building on their way to and from the greenhouse.
3:30 Head back to the Crim to pick up supplies for Scott Elementary after school program.
5:00 Meet up with 15 1st-3rd graders at Scott and convince them that kale is the best thing ever and that kale chips are even more delicious than potato chips. Make kale chips. Revel in the fact that they love them.
6:00 Head on home.
4 Comments | Categories:
Posted on Fri, January 13, 2012 by Slow Food USA
What made you most proud to be a part of the Slow Food movement in 2011? We list some of our favorite responses.
by Slow Food USA intern, Alaena Robbins
Recently many of you rang in the New Year reflecting along with SFUSA staff members about what had made you most proud to be a part of the Slow Food movement in 2011. As varied as your responses were, they shared a common thread of pride in past accomplishments and hope for what’s to come. Here is a look at what some of you had to say:
“The nourishment of ‘Slow Food’ goes beyond nutrition… it’s quality of life, livelihood, community, family.” – Martha Clark Krikava
“I am proud to be a young person who knows that slow food is WAY better than fast food and that eating more of it is better for all people, planet, and animals” – Birke Baehr
“I am most proud of the work that our leaders do to ensure that kids can grow up with a connection to real food” – Josh, SFUSA President
“I am happy that more and more people are working to have food be good, clean and fair in many different and important ways” – Doug Hiza
“I’m really proud to belong to an organization that is part of a global movement” – Sung E, SFUSA staff member
For most, the month of January symbolizes a new beginning, a fresh start, a time for change, but the New Year can also mean taking lessons from our history and using them to help us make a better tomorrow.
“I am filled with Pride…for my ancestors would be proud and my descendants will be thankful” – Barry Jarvis
What will 2012 bring for the Slow Food Movement? Will more schools do away with processed unhealthy foods? Will you make a personal commitment to supporting local farmers and good, clean, and fair food? Will government or people have more of an impact on the food system?
What do you hope to see in 2012?