What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Mon, November 07, 2011 by Slow Food USA
Slow Food Denver supports their local farmers and makes it fun!
What can a “Crop Mob” do for you? Actually, a lot! What is a crop mob? A crop mob is a group of individuals who gather to work on small, sustainable farms to help with everyday tasks assigned by the farmers! With the help of a group of supportive organizations, Laurie Schneyer of Slow Food Denver was able to create a series of Crop Mobs in the Denver area to assist sustainable farmers.
The project got started when Laurie came across Crop Mobbing in Urban Farm Magazine; Laurie perused the Crop Mob website, learning about the model. She took it, made a few adjustments, and used the system to help small farmers in the Denver area. She began networking; creating a coalition of concerned citizens with the goal of creating Crop Mobs of their own. Although the Crob Mob website suggests that any group only undertake one mob a month, Laurie decided to up the ante and in the first couple of months she had already organized 4 events, 2 of which occurred on the same day.
These events included successful Crop Mobs at Ekar Farm, the mobile farmers market known as The Gypsy Farm Bus, and the Urban Farm at Stapleton. Trees were planted at the Urban Farm courtesy of donations from the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation and the volunteers included students from the local schools. Other successful Crop Mobs were held at one of Grow Local Colorado’s park gardens, and the vegetable gardens at the Governor’s Mansion. Each event had a turnout of 10+ volunteers, and the larger events had 20-40 people to help mulch, plant, turn soil, and weed. The volunteers are almost never repeats, as the group gives people the opportunity to help out without a long-term commitment.
Laurie and Slow Food continue to gather forces in Denver, with the hopes that each month there will be more Crop Mobs and greater turnout. With the sponsorship and help of local organizations such as Slow Food Denver, Grow Local Colorado, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, and Greater Denver Urban Homesteaders, the Crop Mobs continue to grow and sustainable farms continue to flourish.
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 Fri, October 07, 2011 by Emily Vaughn
Why is it so hard to figure out how to buy seafood sustainably? How did we get here? Roots of Change takes a deep dive into the problem with California salmon and points to some solutions.
By Bobbie Peyton for Roots of Change
California salmon feed the country but their habitat is threatened to a perilous degree. To understand how that came to be, we have to acknowledge the complex, interconnected reality of our food system.
In California, the current salmon crisis can be traced to the early 1900s when the state chose to use its finite water supply to develop its urban centers and industrial agriculture, rather than maintaining its free-running inland waterways (i.e. rivers and creeks). The dams created to bring water to cities and farms did so at the expense of maintaining healthy aquatic ecosystems, and blocked salmon spawning routes.
Indeed the appropriation of abundant amounts of water and the creation of 1,400 dams transformed California into a “cornucopia,” the largest agricultural state in the U.S. But this choice to favor agriculture and developing cities still haunts us today.
Posted on Mon, October 03, 2011 by Slow Food USA
October 16th is World Food Day. How about hosting a $5 challenge meal?
It sure is the harvest season!
You’ve heard of Food Day—to be held on October 24th. But did you also know that on October 16th it’s WORLD food day? That’s one more chance to host a $5 challenge meal, this time as part of our partner Oxfam America’s Sunday Suppers/World Food Day campaign.
As Oxfam describes it:
This World Food Day, Oxfam America is teaming up with a host of allies across the US and around the globe. We have a simple yet compelling idea—to host a Sunday Dinner October 16th that fosters a conversation about where your food comes from, who cultivates it, and how we can make the food system more just and sustainable.
You can order materials to help you host your dinner and register your event by clicking here.
And of course you can read a ton of wonderful tips and tricks collected as part of our $5 Challenge initiative by going to our tumblr (click here).
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 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 Mon, August 15, 2011 by Slow Food USA
Slow Food USA officially joined several other food & farming organizations in support of the plaintiff farmers in the recently filed lawsuit against Monsanto.
In June we shared an interview with farmer (and Slow Food leader) Tom Willey (click here to read). Tom is one of many plaintiffs in a landmark case against Monsanto.
Monsanto has a history of taking farmers to court if they’re found to be in possession of patented plant material without permission, even if the plant material came to their fields inadvertently. Tired of living in fear of lawsuits that they claim are unjust, a group of farmers, seed savers, and farm advocates is challenging the agribusiness giant’s right to continue the practice.
In solidarity with the plaintiffs, and in collaboration with several other food and farming organizations, Slow Food USA has signed an “amicus brief” that expresses why we feel that patenting of seeds is bad for farmers and bad for farming.
To read the entire brief click here.
Slow Food International also runs a publishing company, Slow Food Editore, which specializes in tourism, food and wine. The library now contains about 40 titles and houses Slow, the award-winning quarterly herald of taste and culture, available in five languages: Italian, English, French, German and Spanish.