What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Fri, April 27, 2012 by Slow Food USA
Looking for a more tangible connection to her food, Lizzy spent a summer Wwoofing in Sonoma County, CA and found a food system based on quality and community.
Written by Slow Food USA Intern Lizzy Ott
In this age of take out containers and fast food chains, the gap between food and consumer has become wider than ever. With hopes of establishing a more tangible connection to my food, I decided that I wanted to volunteer on an organic farm. But how? And where? I typed “volunteer on an organic farm” into Google and found my answer—World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (Wwoof for short). Wwoof serves as a platform for connecting organic farmers with volunteers just like me. For $30 members are given access to farms throughout the entire world, ranging from the far reaches of Asia to your next-door neighbor. With over 1,300 farms in the US alone, the possibilities seemed endless and I found the long farm lists insanely daunting. How to narrow down the choices?
Posted on Wed, April 18, 2012 by Slow Food USA
A high school science project becomes a community mission for local food; leads to a cafeteria rooftop greenhouse and the community’s first produce market.
Written by Kate Soto, Slow Food USA member who can also be found at her blog, DomestiKating
Humboldt Park is one of Chicago’s 77 neighborhood areas, just west of trendy Wicker Park. It’s known for its beautiful 207-acre park, as well as its deeply rooted Puerto Rican community. Every June, thousands descend upon California and Division Streets to celebrate the Puerto Rican People’s Parade, where you can buy corn and arepas and any number of delicious foods. Yet, this neighborhood, comprised of a community with strong ties to cuisine, is considered a food desert.
The term food desert has been buzzing around Chicago since Mayor Emanuel declared it one of the key issues of his tenure. Approximately 40 percent of the city lives in a ‘food desert’, characterized by a lack of access to fresh, healthy food and grocery stores. These areas happen to occur exclusively in low-income African-American and Latino neighborhoods—like Humboldt Park.
Long before Mayor Emanuel took office, groups had been exploring the implications of food deserts on health and community. In 2006, Mari Gallagher produced a notable report examining their negative impact on public health. Around the same time, Sinai Urban Health Institute did a study that identified Humboldt Park’s obesity rate as considerably higher than the city average: 50 percent of Humboldt Park’s children were found to be obese.
Posted on Fri, April 06, 2012 by Slow Food USA
The Thousand Gardens in Africa project has already engaged 608 communities in developing sustainable food plots. Through funding from Slow Food’s international network, 561 gardens have been adopted so far.
Written by Slow Food International
In Africa, the local coordinators of the Thousand Gardens project have already engaged 608 communities in developing sustainable food plots. In the rest of the world, Slow Food’s international network has sprung into action to collect the funds and 561 gardens have been adopted so far.
In the lush green highlands of northern Malawi, the Slow Food network has been busy creating 10 sustainable food gardens with schools and communities, assisted by experienced horticulturalist Frederick Msiska. Around the town of Nchenachena, 500 kilometers north of the country’s capital, Msiska is known as “the plant doctor” for his vast knowledge of sustainable agriculture. Together with the Terra Madre learning community in Nchenachena, he’s organizing seminars to teach local farmers how to make bokash (a solid natural fertilizer made from soil, grass, eggshells and paper) and to build rainwater collection tanks for irrigation. Msiska moves tirelessly from one garden to the next, overseeing schoolchildren, teachers and farmers as they cultivate traditional varieties, like those known as ziku, malezi and kamughangi in the local chitumbuka language.
In South Africa, more and more emerging farmers are returning to land that was taken away from black people during apartheid. In a context in which big farms are benefiting from cheap labor, incentives for young people are lacking and access to land is still a burning issue, even a small garden plot can be of great importance. In the wide valleys of the Western and Northern Cape, the Surplus People Project, the organization coordinating the Thousand Gardens in Africa project on a national level, is working with emerging farmers to plant agroecological food gardens that can satisfy the food needs of their families and serve as educational showcases. Farmers in Porterville, a small town north of Cape Town, for example, are cultivating a site to inspire households and schools in the community to plant their own food gardens. “How can we fight poverty? How can we help people be independent of social welfare?” asks Anthony Cloete, the coordinator of the Porterville community garden. “Teach people how to produce seeds and to plant them each new season.”