What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Wed, December 26, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
This time last year, The New York Times Food Section remarked on 2006 as one in which everyone was talking about the politics of food. How about 2007? What are the pundits saying?
Over at Grist, we've got the top green food stories of 2007.
And at chow.com, a multi-faceted, very comprehensive Year in Food.
Check out the Philly Inquirer for 2007's buzzwords; alas, no Slow Food, but unfortunately yes to food on speed dial.
Reuters' round-up of top health issues in 2007 were 90% food stories. If the connection has not been clear before, here it is, writ simply and large: "Food=health."
Any other roundups you've seen?
Posted on Tue, December 25, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
On December 19th, our colleagues at Slow Food International posted on their website regretfully announcing the death of Sarah Freeman, British food writer, cook, and good friend of Slow Food. She was a regular contributor to the Slow journal, and a tireless supporter and promoter of the Ark of Taste.
Executive Director Erika Lesser has fond memories of traveling with her and about 60 others as part of an International Ark meeting in Florence in the fall of 2005. You can read Freeman's vivid account of it here.
A Spring 2003 Virginia Quarterly Review article called "The New Look–and taste–of Modern British Cuisine," places Sarah Freeman and her 1995 book, The Best of Modern British Cookery, as an essential link in the chain of British Food history. In the book Freeman–like a good Slow Food devotee– highlights British food classics, while concentrating on using local and seasonal ingredients.
Posted on Thu, December 20, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
An article in the business section of the NY Times earlier this week, about the revival of home milk delivery, got us thinking about the lost art of door-to-door guys. Interesting to note that in one of the photographs for the article, you can see that the milk is in plastic jugs, not the old fashioned (and sometimes quite beautiful) glass ones. A great example of old meets new–the revival of the old tradition, but with the accessories of new, disposable, fast life. One of the smart things about milk delivery is the recycling of the glass bottles, no?
Seltzer delivery services, on the other hand, nearly extinct, are still done in the old glass bottles with the silver nozzles. Did some searching around to see if anyone is still doing this and found two notable examples: the Seltzer Sisters in the Bay Area, and Walter Backerman, the seltzer man, of the New York Beverage Co. He is featured in this interesting piece from NPR on New York's vanishing professions.
And what about the knife sharpening guys? Who used to travel around on a truck? We've seen one here in New York City, parked around town now and then. Do you have knife sharpening guys where you live? Seltzer delivery? Glass milk bottle delivery? Let us know…
Posted on Wed, December 19, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
As our weather becomes more and more extreme, it seems that it's a story of droughts and floods, droughts and floods. When farmers get hit by these weather events, it can be devastating.
The floods that hit the Pacific Northwest on December 1st hit farmers and cheesemakers in the Portland region hard. The Black Sheep Creamery near Chehalis lost two-thirds of its herd and sustained devastating damage to the creamery, barns, and house. See below for articles about farmers in need and avenues through which one can help–some are best suited to local residents, of course. Thanks to Carol Havens, Jean Rogers and the Port Townsend Cooperative for compiling these resources.
Local Farmers Need Help!
Olympia Food Co-op - All farmers who supply the co-op
3111 Pacific Ave. SE Olympia, WA
or call Grace at (360) 357-1106 for information.
Olympia Farmers Market
700 Capitol Way S Olympia, WA 98501
or call: (360) 352-9096
or donate online at: www.olympiafarmersmarket.com
Neighborhood Farmers Market Association Good Farmer Fund - For growers who sell at Seattle markets.
Mail checks to: 4519 ∏ University Way NE #200, Seattle, WA 98105
Tilth Producers of Washington - For organic sustainable farmers within the Tilth Producers community.
Mail checks to: PO Box 85056, Seattle, WA 98145
Or donate online at: www.networkforgood.org
Karen Kerr, Adna Grange - Direct assistance and food for Adna area farms and families (not limited to farms) Accepting gift, debit and diesel gas cards with a set cash amount and financial donations.
PO Box #63
Adna, WA 98522
Full Circle Farm - For direct donations to farms, contact Lizzie. You can make a donation via Ace Hardware in Adna or Sears in Chehalis and Lizzie will pick up and deliver items to farms: (work gloves, extension cords, respirators, etc.)
Washington Farm Bureau Flood Relief - Lewis County farmers primarily.
PO Box 8690, Lacey, WA 98509
pledge form online at: www.wsfb.com
or call (800) 331-3276 to donate over the phone via credit/debit
Art Wedig Relief Fund - For any Washington Farmers that are with the company Organic Valley.
Art Wedig Relief Fund, c/o Organic Valley, 1 Organic Way, LaFarge, WI 54639
or call: 1.888.444.6455
Posted on Mon, December 17, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
The Farm Bill passed last week on the Senate floor, with a vote of 79-14. There were some major disappointments, and some modest but important successes. However, no one can argue with the fact that this was a Farm Bill debate unlike any that has come before it. For the first time ever, citizens at large–not just farmers and politicians–saw that this was a piece of legislation that affected their lives.
According to the Washington Post, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), (yes, that is a real name of a real person) the ranking Republican on the Agriculture Committee, called the bill "truly representative of American agriculture." This may be the case, but probably not exactly in the way he means.
Now, what's left is for the House and Senate to reconcile their two versions of the bill.
For the general overview, read the AP story here.
For Grist's "post-mortem," click here.
Posted on Fri, December 14, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
Nothing slow about running around like a (heritage, free-range) chicken with your head cut off looking for last minute gift ideas. Our intern Leo has a nice, short list of "Sustainable Santa" ideas over on the Slow Food on Campus blog, and right here, a few more ideas.
Books: Check out Jeff Roberts' Atlas of American Artisan Cheese, the first comprehensive guide to the artisan cheese movement. Or an oldie but goodie, Gary Nabhan's Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Foods.
Food: Consider ordering something from Native Harvest, the online catalogue of the White Earth Land Recovery Project in Minnesota. Here you can buy an assortment of Manoomin Wild rice products, in addition to coffee, honeys, hominy, and more.
Magazine: Order someone a subscription to GOOD, "the magazine for people who give a damn." When you order, the entirety of your subscription money goes to one of the 12 selected charity partners–and you get to choose which one! Guess who is one of the 12 partners this year…? Slow Food USA.
Posted on Fri, December 14, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
As of today, the Dorgan-Grassley amendment– the amendment that proposed payment limits for subsidies–failed on the Senate floor, 56-43. That's 56 votes FOR the amendment, and yet, that counts as failure, oddly enough, based on an agreement made by the two parties that 60 votes would be needed for it to pass.
For many of us, educating ourselves on the Farm Bill has been an education in the evils of subsidies, so the failure of this amendment is a disappointment, if not a complete surprise. It is worth noting, however, that this amendment, like several others, was the source of some debate amongst sustainable ag proponents.
Much in the same way, the School nutrition amendment has also ruffled some feathers. While this amendment puts some major restrictions on what kind of junk food and what size packages can be sold/served in public schools, many are upset because it allows these foods in at all.
Both of these are good object lessons in what a labrynthine tangle this Farm Bill is, and how difficult it is to make change wihin an existing (messed up) system.
That being said!
Despite the failure of Dorgan-Grassley, there are nearly 40 more amendments taking the floor in the upcoming days, including the Tester amendment — which would help make it easier for independent livestock producers to get their animals to market , and an amendment to be offered by Senator Lincoln (boo! hiss!) that would limit eligibility for conservation programs. Now is a terrific time to call your Senators and reiterate your priorities: 202-224-3121
Posted on Fri, December 07, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
After a giant log-jam, as of yesterday, things are finally moving in the Senate again. This means that the (Food and) Farm Bill has a shot at getting passed before the Senate takes its holiday recess. Of course, many speculate that the President will veto the passed version, but we'll try not to get ahead of ourselves.
In the meantime, 260 amendments to the bill are going to be up for debate (that's a lot of amendments to get through in just a few weeks!) and we'll be highlighting some of them in upcoming posts. Stay tuned…
Posted on Fri, December 07, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
You might know Eric Schlosser best for Fast Food Nation, and the subsequent movie version, and the subsequent for-teens book called Chew On This. It turns out that his muckraking about the food system created an itch to uncover food worker abuses, an itch he's been scratching for the past few years. After exposing the horrific conditions of immigrant workers in the beef slaughterhouses that supply our nation's fast food restaurants, he next turned his pen on the abused hog slaughterhouse workers at the Smithfield plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina.
For his incisive and hard-hitting 2006 piece called "Hog Hell," in The Nation, click here.
For ways that you can help take action against Smithfield's treatment of workers, and in particular their treatment of workers who try to unionize, click here.
Next up for Schlosser? The plight of egregiously underpaid tomato pickers in Southern Florida, whose tomatoes end up on the burgers at all of the major fast food chains. In 2005, the Coalition of Immokalee workers (Immokalee is a small town in Florida) succeeded in getting Taco Bell to agree to a one cent per pound increase. Sounds like a pittance, and to Taco Bell it is; to the workers, it's a colossal difference. When Erika Lesser, our Executive Director, met members of the Immokalee Coalition at the Kellogg Conference last Spring, the news was good–they had their sights set next on the other big chains.
In his recent NY Times opinion piece, however, Schlosser documents the glitch in their plan–the Florida Growers Exchange's threat to growers who pay this extra penny per pound. Schlosser pulls no punches in his disgust for the greed of Burger King and one of its top shareholders–Goldman Sachs. To read all about it, click here.
Posted on Thu, November 29, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
People are a-buzz about Oxford University Press' selection of "locavore" as its word of the year (having beat out several words some of us may never have heard of– "bacn," anyone?).
It's interesting to think about buzz and how it helps or hinders an idea or movement. If a word is chosen as a word of the year, does that mean it won't be relevant next year ("locavore" is SO 2007), or does it signal it's arrival ("locavore" is here to stay)? And if the press grabs a word and runs with it, is it destined to be paraphrased, simpified, and/or plain misunderstood?
Many people scoff at the notion of local eating because it seems impractical, if not impossible, in many parts of the country. Comments on the Oxford University Press blog reflect some of that cynicism–"Another nice conceit for those in lotus land!" When eating local is understood only as an experiment or something that works only if you follow it to the letter, it is destined to end up a forgotten or rejected "concept." We're all better off, surely, if local can become a pragmatic ideal–to eat local for as much of your diet as it makes sense (i.e.: why eat a New Zealand apple when the farmer in your town/city/county/state is growing beautiful ones just next door?), and to retrain our bodies to eat seasonally as much as possible.
(for some "local" reading: Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and "My Empire of Dirt.")
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.