What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Thu, December 27, 2012 by Jenny Best
The publication that brings the experience of the world of Slow Food and Terra Madre to all of us. Now available free online!
It’s always a pleasure each year to present the Slow Food Almanac, the most reliable and, insofar as it is received by our members all over the world, the most looked at snapshot of what and who we are — though words and pictures alone cannot, of course, fully capture the many souls of our movement.
We represent a sizable portion of the people who, in the most disparate corners of the earth, put food at the center of their lives, though maybe no real way exists of conveying us completely in all our complexity.
We are aware, though, that much of the content of the Almanac — values, ideas for getting over the crisis, the new paradigms needed to ensure a future for the generations to come — and of what we represent as people and communities is shared by all the others too, even the most distant and diverse. A necessary part of the equation is the earth itself, which, since it nourishes us and lets us grow, we have to love and respect as best we can. It is the earth that gives us food and culture, strengthening our communities and families and allowing us, if we wish to, to share the knowledge that is our true wealth. Nor can we forget food which, when virtuous, is the highest possible expression of our interaction with the environment in which we live and of which we are an integral part.
As always, we have sought to speak about Slow Food and Terra Madre stories, projects, products and people. Simple storytelling, we believe, is the best way of doing justice to the lives of those engaged in the work summed up in the slogan of Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre 2012: “Foods that change the world”. The event conveys an idea of how, through food, we can put forward real alternatives to a development model that is no longer suitable for us or for the earth. What is needed is the constant, silent change that Edgar Morin evoked when he wrote that, “Everything must begin again and everything has already begun”. In our own small way, we are the proof of the fact that “everything has already begun”, because with our best practices we are a vanguard of change whose guiding light is the central role of food. Just as important as the Almanac, by the way, is the brief document we have drawn up for the World Congress in Turin entitled precisely “The Central Role of Food”. It has been distributed among members and, through them, as an object of discussion to civil society and the institutions. We are proud to consider it the nucleus of ideas that underpin our network and will lay the bases for the Congress ahead. It’s not too late here to ask you to read it one more time.
After which you can enjoy the Almanac, which explains exactly how we put food at the center of everything. As a celebration of what we are, it is a joy to read and browse through. You’ll find it revolutionary in its simplicity.
President of Slow Food
View the Almanac: http://asp-it.secure-zone.net/v2/index.jsp?id=307/431/1350&lng=en
Posted on Thu, December 27, 2012 by Jenny Best
A startup lab for the ideas and companies that will change the food system. By providing state-of-the-art entrepreneurial education and a dynamic network of diverse professional mentors, Local Food Lab supports entrepreneurs in transforming their ideas into thriving, sustainable ventures.
Local Food Lab is a startup lab for the ideas and companies that will change the food system. By providing state-of-the-art entrepreneurial education and a dynamic network of diverse professional mentors, Local Food Lab supports entrepreneurs in transforming their ideas into thriving, sustainable ventures. The final day to apply to our Winter Accelerator is January 14, but applications submitted before January 2 are eligible for a scholarship.
The Local Food Lab Accelerator is a six-week program located in the heart of Silicon Valley, where we help entrepreneurs take an early stage idea for a food or farm startup and turn it into a complete business plan and product concept. We will work with any food or farm idea that simultaneously shows strong business potential and a social commitment.
Each day is organized around a critical element of business education through the lens of sustainable food. Topics covered include market and industry analysis, product and service design, financial forecasting, sales and marketing strategy, development of a social mission statement, management of a mission aligned team, and the effective pitch and presentation of a new business. Students will learn from a wide variety of food and agriculture industry mentors while growing and developing their startups and networks. A delicious and sustainable lunch or dinner will be served at every class.
The Winter Accelerator culminates in the capstone Venture Fair, where students will showcase their startups to investors, industry leaders, potential co-founders and key partners in the good food economy.
Posted on Fri, December 07, 2012 by Jenny Best
As we all share meals with friends and families this holiday season, we hear from two Slow Food members about what sharing a meal means to them.
Meet Andrew and Betsy Fippinger, Slow Food members who live in New York City. As we all share meals with friends and families this holiday season, we wanted to hear from Andrew and Betsy about what sharing a meal means to them.
Q: What led you to become interested in Slow Food, and why do you support the organization?
A: We came to Slow Food in a way that we imagine many others have: we read Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Barbara Kingsolver, and realized (a) that there were gigantic problems in our [fast, industrial] food system and (b) that local foods taste better, are more interesting because more diverse, and therefore worth preserving. One thing that our engagement with Slow Food and the ideals of the food movement generally have taught us is to be humble about our eating habits. Sometimes we only cook for ourselves once or twice a week, but that’s still a step in the right direction.
Q: What does the notion of sharing a meal mean to you?
A: The most obvious is the table with family and friends, and just because that’s obvious does not undermine the incredible significance of such moments. Sharing a meal can also mean sharing what I cook with you. And finally, when we think of sharing, we think about the incredible network of people, animals, plants, and even minerals that go into a single meal.
Q: How does your notion of sharing a meal relate to the ideals of Slow Food?
A: We think that the relation between these ideas and the ideals of Slow Food should be pretty apparent. The notions of slowing down to share in a meal’s diversity, to discuss a meal or food in general, to share recipes and tricks, both new and old, are all ideals that Slow Food was founded on. Those are some of the ideals that Carlo Petrini, amongst others, was worried would be lost when a McDonalds opened in Rome.
Q: Could you provide a recipe that you will use in your house during this season?
A: Roasted root vegetables: this dish is a great way to experience the joys of Fall and Winter in colder climes. Take any root vegetables—an assortment is nice—chop them into cubes of approximately equal size. Season them with olive oil and salt (chopped thyme or sage can be a nice addition) and cook them in a 400 degree oven on a roasting pan. Depending on size, they should take 20-30 minutes. This is a great way to discover some vegetables you don’t normally eat: celery root, parsnip, and rutabaga, for instance. Who says this is a bad season for locavores?
Posted on Mon, December 03, 2012 by Slow Food USA
Farm to School grants will go a long way towards reshaping the interplay between our children, the schools that teach them, and the local farmers that feed us all.
By Eric Himmelfarb
On November 14th, USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the first-ever USDA Farm to School grants, which totaled more than $4.5 million for 68 different projects around the country, and will go a long way towards reshaping the interplay between our children, the schools that teach them, and the local farmers that feed us all.
The grant money will be used for projects serving a wide range of functions, including building school gardens, developing new partnerships between school districts and local farmers, and hiring staff to coordinate farm to school programs.
These USDA grants seem to be taking school food policy in a healthier, more sustainable direction, and this is why we should be excited about this as both a statement of policy and a philosophical shift in how the next generation will relate to its food. Add these grants to the new school food guidelines initially established in the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and then implemented this school year, and you have a clear shifting of the school food landscape.
When we think about the task of changing the way our food is grown and prepared in a substantive way, it can often seem like a daunting, Sisyphean task. Federal agricultural policies are firmly entrenched, to the point where the Farm Bill has become a 700-page monstrosity that is about a whole lot more than agricultural policy. Stakeholders who enjoy the status quo will defend that status quo at almost any cost (see: the $46 million spent against Prop 37 in California last month). Enormous systemic and political inertia can be hard to overcome.
Yet we can take small steps each day. We can always find ways to begin repairing our society’s relationship to its food. In our younger generation we can plant the seeds for a cultural shift, for a renewal and reinvention of the Slow Food values of good, clean and fair food for all. This unsustainable system was not built in a day, but every day we do not work to repair it is a day lost to inertia. It will take a long series of incremental shifts to put us on a more sustainable path.
Here in New York City, the cultural shift is happening right in front of our eyes in real time. As announced in the New York Times in November, the number of school gardens registered with the city has increased in the last two years from 40 to 232. I was an apprentice at Battery Urban Farm this fall and got to see firsthand the power of kids having their hands in soil and the ways this farm to school connection is much more than a simple exchange of food.
The experience for the kids on the farm is profound, as it gives them a way to connect to the earth that is unusual for city kids; to connect to the source of their continued livelihood; and to understand how the food that ends up on their plate begins its life.
More projects like this one – through the myriad connections to land, self, and community that they can create – will go a long way towards laying the groundwork for a culture of healthier and fairer food.
When I hear 7 year-old kids, on the way to the eggplant beds, excitedly calling out the names of other crops (“carrots!” “basil!”) that they spot along the way, I can’t help but feel that we are off to a good start here in our repair work. The new USDA grants bring us that much closer to the actualization of a healthier, fairer way of growing, preparing, and consuming our food.
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