What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Tue, April 12, 2011 by Slow Food USA
Slow Food on Campus leader Erin Swenson-Klatt reports back on her trip to Washington DC.
Thank you so much for the generous donation that helped send me to Washington D.C. to advocate for sustainable agriculture programs with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. I know that you too believe in the need for a Good, Clean and Fair food system – the kind of food system that will ensure that our children, land and communities are healthy ones – and I appreciate your help in passing that message on directly to our congressional leaders.
At a time when we are all feeling the effects of a tough economy, some seem to think that programs supporting sustainable farming practices, young and minority farmers, conservation in our rural communities and forward-thinking agriculture research are luxuries we can’t afford as a nation. To the contrary, it is the loss of such programs that we can’t afford!
This week I visited four congressional offices in D.C. with two farmers from the Toledo area, Kurt and Marty, to remind our elected representatives that real people will be affected by cuts to sustainable agriculture programs. We knew that these programs are efficient and effective both at offering greater resources to innovative farmers and at revitalizing rural communities, which is something we should all be able to get behind.
While the current economic crisis demands sacrifices, it should also necessitate compromises among everyone who draws on agriculture funding. This was a critical week for us to make this message heard in Washington D.C., and Kurt and I were proud to be there among more than 30 other farmers and farm advocates from around the country to represent Slow Food USA.
Posted on Sat, April 02, 2011 by Slow Food USA
Help schools serve healthy food: email the USDA with your suggestions for implementing the Child Nutrition Act.
Last year, thanks to your efforts, the Child Nutrition Act passed with increased funding for each school meal, commitment to farm to school programs, and increased nutrition standards for all foods found on school campuses. THANK YOU.
Now that the dust has settled, we must ensure that schools are given the tools to put these historic wins into practice. What will those changes mean for lunch ladies and school nutrition directors as they try to get real food onto the lunch trays of our nation’s children? As the USDA figures out how to move forward from legislation to real live lunch, they are seeking input from you. The comment period is open until April 13th.
Help schools serve healthy food: email the USDA with your suggestions for implementing the Child Nutrition Act. We’ve got suggested comments here that you can simply copy and then paste onto the USDA’s form. Of course you should also feel very free to write in your own words.
Simply CLICK ON THIS LINK. Then you paste/type your comments into the comment box. Easy!
We commend the USDA for updating school standards—we just want to make sure that school food directors are empowered to make these changes, and given the support they need. These updated standards should be allowed to succeed rather than becoming unfair burdens to the schools as they try to implement them. We’re following the lead of our partners at School Food FOCUS, who work with school nutrition directors, and understand the on-the-ground challenges they face. We think it is vitally important to support school cafeterias so that they can bring healthy, delicious, local food to the lunchroom.
We urge the USDA to:
Posted on Tue, March 22, 2011 by Slow Food USA
This April we are working with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) to send one of our Slow Food on Campus leaders, Erin, to Washington DC to meet with her Representative.
This April we are working with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) to send one of our Slow Food on Campus leaders, Erin, to Washington DC to meet with her Representative. She will head to Congress with her local farmer to share her concern about H.R. 1, a bill that unfairly targets programs that serve sustainable and organic farmers. It makes steep cuts in agricultural research, extension and farm credit. It makes deep cuts to funding provided in the 2008 Farm Bill for conservation and would terminate programs that serve beginning and minority farmers without making any cuts to commodity or crop insurance funding.
In short: it unfairly targets agriculture and programs that are essential to good, clean and fair farmers. These cuts would destroy critical programs that make sustainable farming viable, programs like SARE and VAPG.
You can stand up for good, clean, and fair farmers. You can help send Erin and her local farmer to DC to let their representatives know how important these programs are to our food system by clicking here.
Can’t donate right now, but still want to let Congress know how important these programs are?
Contact your Senator now and ask them to oppose H.R.1, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act: click here to go to NSAC’s web site where you can find info on how to contact your Senator as well as more background on these cuts.
Posted on Thu, March 03, 2011 by Slow Food USA
President Josh Viertel joined over 900 people for a march to demand that Stop & Shop and its parent company Ahold do their part improve wages and working conditions for farm workers in the tomato fields of Immokalee, Florida.
by Slow Food USA President Josh Viertel
Yesterday I joined over 900 friends for a two-mile march in the snow through Boston. We were there to demand that Stop & Shop and its parent company Ahold do their part improve wages and working conditions for farm workers in the tomato fields of Immokalee, Florida. The march was organized by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers with support from allies, including the Student/Farm Workers Alliance.
The CIW and its allies are asking major supermarkets to sign on to the same agreement that fast food companies and college food service companies have signed through their Campaign for Fair Food. The CIW has posted a photojournal from the march here and a video here.
Below is a copy of the remarks I made at the opening rally:
I am here today because the food movement cannot be separate from the farm workers movement. We are one.
Imagine that today two babies will be born. One in Tarrytown, NY. One in Zacatecas, Mexico. On their first day, they will be the same. They will be all possibility. Like twins.
But over the next eighteen years, if conditions continue as they are, opportunity will blossom for one, and whither for another. In eighteen years, one may be standing here in Boston, finishing his first year in college, while the other stands 1,500 miles to the south, paid poverty wages to pick tomatoes in the fields of Immokalee, Florida.
Unseen, unknown to each other, one young man will nourish the other, picking the oranges that go into the juice he drinks for breakfast, and the tomatoes he buys in the supermarket. Oranges and tomatoes tainted, not just with chemicals, but tainted with the suffering of an unknown twin.
Gerardo Reyes was born in Zacatecas, Mexico. [Gerardo is a farm worker, an organizer with the CIW, and a friend.] I grew up in Tarrytown, NY. We are the same age.
This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Food Channel. To read the rest of it, please click here.
Posted on Fri, February 11, 2011 by Slow Food USA
Slow Food USA President Josh Viertel asked President Obama why it is cheaper to feed our kids Froot Loops than it is to feed them fruit, and what he was doing to reverse it. His response? He talked about Walmart.
by Slow Food USA President Josh Viertel
Last week, we all had the chance to submit a question to President Obama for a YouTube World View interview following the State of the Union address. Questions could be posted online, and people voted for their favorites. The most popular questions would be chosen, and the president would be asked to respond.
I posted a question. I asked President Obama why it is cheaper to feed our kids Froot Loops than it is to feed them fruit, and what he was doing to reverse it. I had been disappointed that he failed to talk at all about America’s broken food and farming system during his State of the Union, and I hoped my question would give him an opportunity to address it.
With 142,649 questions posted, it was going to be a long shot. Then, I got a text message: 1,279 people voted for my question and it was selected. People wanted to hear our leader talk about what needs to be changed when it comes to food and farming in our country. We had the president’s ear. I felt like I had won the lottery! That is, until I had a chance to listen to his answer.
President Obama didn’t use the opportunity to answer our concerns, nor did he speak to our hopes. He didn’t talk about how he was going to make it easier to access fruit than Froot Loops. He didn’t talk about how he was going to reduce federal support for the crops that are most damaging to our health and environment, and he didn’t talk about what he was going to do to increase support for a sustainable food system. The president didn’t talk about taking on the massive consolidation in agribusiness that makes it cheaper and easier to get unhealthy processed food than it is to buy whole ingredients. Though he touched on it, he didn’t talk about addressing food insecurity in any meaningful way and he didn’t talk about the power of citizens as shoppers ... or as voters.
Instead, he talked about Walmart.
To read the full article, click here to go to The Atlantic Food Channel
Posted on Thu, February 10, 2011 by Slow Food USA
This year February 14th is no longer “Valentines’ Day,” but Love your Farmer Day!
This year February 14th is no longer “Valentines’ Day,” but Love your Farmer Day, in support of the family farmers who raise our poultry. They need our help, so before we head out to buy teddy bears and chocolate hearts or make dinner for our loved ones, we’re calling the White House to demand that the USDA level the playing field for these farmers.
Won’t you join us?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking too long to implement rules that would level the playing field for small poultry farmers – it would protect them from big companies that force them to work harder for less and severely limits their options in raising and selling their livestock.
On Valentine’s Day, Monday February 14th, please take 2 minutes to call the White House and tell President Obama to level the playing field for poultry farmers.
Here’s how you do it:
HI! Happy Love Your Farmer Day! I’m ________ (name) from _________ (city and state or state) calling in support of the USDA’s livestock and poultry rule. Please tell President Obama to make sure that the USDA puts this rule into practice, so that our poultry farmers have a level playing field. Thanks!
Tell us how it went by leaving a comment below.
Want some more info about the rule, which you may have heard referred to as the GIPSA rule, and what it would do for poultry farmers? Read below:
1. Allows family farmers and ranchers to find out what prices and terms of sale are being offered for livestock.
2. Increases and ensures better market access for family farm livestock producers;
3. Identifies violations and leads to improved enforcement and curtailment of the most abusive and unfair procurement practices used by corporate meatpackers.
4. Stops a common practice that allows packers to avoid competitive bidding in the marketplace, keeping open market prices artificially low.
5. Prevents meat packers from paying large volume producers higher prices simply based on the number of animals they deliver without offering the same prices to groups of producers who could collectively deliver the same number of animals.
6. Prevents packers from offering favorable price premiums to a few preferred producers without offering them to other producers who could meet the same standards.
Posted on Fri, December 03, 2010 by Jerusha Klemperer
On December 8th, in Washington DC, the Dept of Justice and the USDA will be holding a workshop (kind of like a town hall) to hear from farmers and consumers. Join us!
On December 8th, in Washington DC, the Dept of Justice and the USDA will be holding a workshop (kind of like a town hall) to hear from farmers and consumers. Would you like to go and share your experience of how, as a consumer and/or food producer you are affected by the consolidation of our food system?
Maybe you’ve noticed prices rising at the supermarket even while most big food companies made record profits this year.
Maybe your local farm has gone out of business because it couldn’t compete with the prices set by industrial farms and consolidated buyers.
Maybe you know consumers having trouble finding good food at affordable prices, as well as farmers having trouble getting good food into mainstream markets.
To join Slow Food members and staff in Washington DC next week, please email Angelines at angelines[at]slowfoodusa.org
Posted on Thu, December 02, 2010 by Jerusha Klemperer
After a year and a half of campaigning, we are very happy to see that the House today passed the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act.
After a year and a half of campaigning, we are thrilled to see that the House today passed the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act. Our nation’s school children were long overdue for an improved child nutrition bill that would allow schools to serve an improved, healthier school lunch.
There were significant and frustrating compromises made along the way: most recently, the funding of the bill with SNAP money—an aggressive move made initially in the Senate version, but then eventually also adopted by the House—that was likely intended to split the school food advocacy community and thus kill the bill. The school food advocacy community were rightfully outraged at the notion of taking money from hungry kids to….feed hungry kids. We described our somewhat reluctant shift of tactic in an earlier blog post—you can click here to read it.
Ultimately 1,350 organizations ranging from Feeding America to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to Slow Food USA joined together in a letter to the House of Representatives urging them to pass the bill before the end of the year. Today, it seems, that pressure finally worked.
It’s an imperfect bill, one that fell short of our hopes, however, it has several important gains within. What’s good about this bill:
Posted on Fri, November 19, 2010 by Jerusha Klemperer
Michael Blanding’s book aims to tell the real story behind that happy global picture of people who speak different languages and have different color skin but sway arm in arm singing songs and drinking Coke.
A version of this piece first appeared on Civil Eats
My dirty truth is that I have a collection of Coke bottles from around the world: one from Mexico, one with Arabic script, one covered in unrecognizable lettering and filled with Yugoslavian beach glass (a present from a friend who traveled there with her family in 1990 and brought it back as a present for me). And on and on. I was a teenager when I gathered them, and totally oblivious to the implications behind this international menagerie of emptied glass. This drink was everywhere, tailored slightly through variations in local water and variations in bottle size, but ultimately the same. I loved that I could find it anywhere: the great unifier.
Michael Blanding’s book, The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink, aims to tell the real story behind that happy global picture of people who speak different languages and have different color skin but sway arm in arm singing songs and drinking Coke. He tells Coke’s story from the beginning, starting with the beverage’s origins in 1886 as a snake oil tonic and extending all the way up to its present incarnation as a multinational beverage corporation.
It’s a measure of my tremendous cynicism about corporations that more of this book didn’t shock the pants off of me. The story of the company’s early days, carving out an identity and working to convince the public that this refreshing leisure drink was a necessity, was captivatingly told and a great example of how iconic brands are built. In Coke’s case it was built aggressively with a focus on growth and led by unprecedentedly well-funded advertising campaigns.
Market growth is It for Coke, and Blanding chronicles how the company’s desire for growth eventually led them to bottle tap water, add some secret minerals and corner a whole new market. After all, there is a limit to how much soda one person can drink, right? Actually, that limit might be higher than you expect. One of the more troubling accounts in the book is of a town in Mexico called San Juan de Chamula, where newborns are fed Coke in their bottles, and locals worship their Saints by downing ritual glasses of Coca-Cola and leaving cola offerings at church altars. As one local guide explains it “Here Coca-Cola is cash, poison, magic, passion, pleasure, torture, love and medicine.” But not everyone has welcomed Coke’s presence.
Posted on Wed, November 17, 2010 by Jerusha Klemperer
UPDATE: This bill will be voted on Wednesday Dec. 1. Slow Food USA joins hundreds of organizations around the country in writing a letter to Reps. Miller and Kline strongly urging them to pass the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act immediately.
UPDATE: This bill will be voted on Wednesday Dec. 1.
After one year of hard work on the part of activists, school nutrition directors, parents and politicians to pass improved school lunch legislation, everything seemed hinged to collapse this Fall after the Senate passed a version of the bill that would take money from future food stamp funding.
This move succeeded in splitting the school lunch advocacy community. Some felt that a badly-funded bill was better than no bill at all; others felt that it was crazy to take money from hungry children in order to…. feed hungry children. At that time we asked you to call your House Reps to say “No! Don’t pass a bad bill, we’d rather have no bill at all.”
Now, as Congress people return post-election for what is called their “lame duck session,” urgency mounts and tactics shift. On November 11th Slow Food USA joined hundreds of organizations around the country in writing a letter to Reps. Miller and Kline strongly urging them to pass the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act immediately, express concerns about SNAP funding, and acknowledging the rock-and-a-hard place we’re all in.
In light of how difficult it will be to pass such a significant piece of legislation in the more fiscally-conservative congress, we felt it important to join many of our allies to urge the House to pass the significantly improved legislation despite the current cuts to SNAP. We will fight to return those funds, but we must pass CNR now.
As Rep George Miller said yesterday : “It’s this opportunity or we lose it.”
We have decided that the most important thing right now is to get an improved school lunch bill passed as soon as possible. We feel that our children have waited long enough and that the several improvements in this bill—including more money per child per meal and improved guidelines for food sold outside the lunch line—represent something worth fighting for.
Call Congress to let to let them know that we want the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act (S.3307) passed now, not later. Dial 1-877-698-8228 and enter your zip code to be connected to your Representative.
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.