What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Thu, September 13, 2012 by Slow Food USA
Lester & Linda L’Hoste have been working to preserve the organic Ark of Taste satsuma on their citrus farm in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and now Isaac.
Written by Poppy Tooker, former leader of Slow Food New Orleans
On August 29th, exactly seven years from the day that Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the surrounding area, a new storm blew in. Isaac was not expected to be much of a storm event as it came onshore as a mere category one.
Lester and Linda L’Hoste, organic citrus farmers in Braithwaite, LA and Crescent City Farmers Market vendors did not evacuate. As lifelong residents of Southern Louisiana, they had ridden out many a storm and believed this one was just going to bring a small amount of wind and rain.
The family enjoyed dinner together and Linda had spent the evening baking cookies before losing power about 10 pm. At 2 am Lester’s phone rang with the news that the levees were in danger of being overtopped and that they needed to evacuate. The water was rising quickly as the L’Hostes joined fifty other Braithwaite families trying to get out. Soon, it became apparent that it was too late as water rushed over the top of the levee reaching the floorboard of the truck, trapping them there.
Many Slow Food USA members will remember the L’Hostes from efforts made after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. At that time, chapters across the country came together in countless ways to help farmers, fishers and chefs of Louisiana rebuild the local food system following Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. That fall, the U.S. Ark of Taste committee sprang into action boarding several indigenous Gulf Coast foods suddenly endangered in the storm’s aftermath including the satsuma.
Posted on Fri, May 18, 2012 by Slow Food USA
Want to impact the food system? You can! The House Agriculture Committee is accepting comments until May 20th. Learn more…
If you could radically change the food we grow and eat in this country, would you? Would you ensure all children, elders, and adults had enough nutritious food to eat? Would you make it easier for young people, women, and folks of color to start their own small farms? Would you stop funding the devastating mess created by factory farming?
Well, you can.
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.”
Posted on Wed, March 21, 2012 by Slow Food USA
In an effort to defend Colorado’s North Fork Valley from a “land attack”, Slow Food Western Slope organized the Rocky Mountain region to save the Slope.
Written by Jim Brett, Slow Food Western Slope (CO) Chapter Leader
On December 7, 2011 (a day that will live in infamy again) western Colorado’s North Fork Valley received an early holiday gift from the Bureau of Land Management’s Uncompaghre Field Office, which announced that 22 parcels of over 30,000 acres will be up for oil and gas lease sale set for August 2012. Looking at the BLM map, we could see that the North Fork Valley is completely surrounded by these parcels.
This Valley is an agricultural gem that embodies Slow Food’s principles of envisioning a world in which all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the planet, and good for those who produce it.
There are over 70 winemakers, farmers, orchardists, ranchers and agricultural businesses in North Fork Valley - all of which depend on good and clean water, air and soil. If oil and gas interests start production on these leases, the very lifeblood of the agricultural producers will be seriously threatened and probably ruined since the parcels include the watersheds of the entire Valley. And just as damaging, air pollution will engulf the Valley. These circumstances are totally unacceptable to us.
Posted on Mon, February 27, 2012 by Slow Food USA
February 27th is Occupy Our Food Supply day of action. Dr. Vandana Shiva discusses why this day is important and why the “corporate takeover of the food system” will have “irreversible consequences” for all people.
Written by Dr Vandana Shiva, NAVDANYA
Today, Feb. 27, is an Occupy Our Food Supply day of action, a movement focussed on resisting the corporate control of food systems. Dr. Shiva has been one of the main supporters and voices in this movement.
The biggest corporate takeover on the planet is the hijacking of the food system, the cost of which has had huge and irreversible consequences for the Earth and people everywhere.
From the seed to the farm to the store to your table, corporations are seeking total control over biodiversity, land, and water. They are seeking control over how food is grown, processed, and distributed. And in seeking this total control, they are destroying the Earth’s ecological processes, our farmers, our health, and our freedoms.
It starts with seeds. Monsanto and a few other gene giants are trying to control and own the world’s seeds through genetic engineering and patents. Monsanto wrote the World Trade Organization treaty on Intellectual Property, which forces countries to patent seeds. As a Monsanto representative once said: “In drafting these agreements, we were the patient, diagnostician [and] physician all in one.”
They defined a problem, and for these corporate profiteers the problem was that farmers save seeds, making it difficult for them to continue wringing profits out of those farmers. So they offered a solution, and their solution was that seeds should be redefined as intellectual property, hence seed saving becomes theft and seed sharing is criminalized. I believe that saving seeds and protecting biodiversity is our ecological and ethical duty. That is why I started Navdanya 25 years ago.
Posted on Wed, January 25, 2012 by Slow Food USA
My favorite veggie burgers have a “no genetically modified ingredients” label, where is this label on the rest of my food? Tell the FDA to ‘Just Label It’
by Slow Food USA Associate Director of National Programs, Angelines M. Alba Lamb
This weekend I sent my partner to the grocery store for the weekly shop. He ventured out in the snow, and in exchange I put the apples in their bowl and the cornbread box in the pantry. As I was putting my favorite box of veggie burgers into the freezer, I noticed a label I’d never paid attention to: “No genetically modified ingredients.” Did all my food have this label? I took the cornbread back out, and read all 6 sides. I learned that if I ate one piece, I would ingest 3 grams of protein. I learned my favorite corn bread used corn flour, corn, and baking soda. But I didn’t learn where the corn came from. Was it genetically engineered, like 80% of all corn grown in the U.S.?
Why didn’t my cornbread have the same label as my veggie burger? Because companies don’t have to disclose genetically modified ingredients. Some do but most corporations don’t. They didn’t disclose any ingredients until later in the 20th century. Cigarettes didn’t get warning labels until 1966, years after evidence was found of their ill health effects. Ingredient boxes and health warnings appeared after people, just like you and I, demanded that their government do everything in their power to protect consumers. Protecting consumers means informing consumers. If you pick up a cigarette, knowing that it can cause cancer, then that is your right. If you choose to eat genetically engineered corn despite the label, then that is your choice. But we don’t have a choice with genetically engineered food.
Just Label It – a national initiative to secure labeling for genetically engineered food- is demanding that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) require all food that is genetically engineered, or made with genetically modified ingredients, be marked like my veggie burgers. They need you and I to add our voices and send a message to the FDA consumers want this labeling. Add your voice by sending a comment to the FDA letting them know how important this issue is to you.
Right now the soymilk smoothie you are sipping on could have been made with genetically modified soy. The alfalfa sprouts topping your salad could have been engineered in a lab. And you have a right to know and a right to choose if you want to put that into your body or feed it to your family. We don’t know yet how genetically engineered food interacts with human bodies. There isn’t enough research. But don’t you want the chance to make that decision for yourself? I sent a comment to the FDA because I want all of my food, including my corn bread, to have the same label like my veggie burgers. Join Just Label It and me and send your own comment.
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 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 Thu, September 29, 2011 by Slow Food USA
Guess who’s getting in on the $5 Challenge?
Just two weeks after 30,000 of you came together and took the $5 Challenge, the Partnership for a Healthier America—the foundation created for Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign—has announced they’re up to the challenge, too.
On November 29th, White House Chef Sam Kass will be hosting two cooking events designed to highlight that healthy food can be affordable and quick to prepare. In the first event, chefs will prepare a family meal on just $10 (typical SNAP budget for a family dinner); in the second, they will have chefs preparing healthy, three-course “gourmet” meals on a typical American dinner budget—$4.50 per person.
We are extremely excited that the White House is interested in pushing forward the dialogue on how cooking from scratch can be the most affordable and healthy option. And, lucky dogs, they’ve got a treasure trove of tips and tricks—compiled by you, the Slow Food community—available to them on our tumblr page.
We’d also like to see Kass, guest chefs Colicchio and others, as well as the Obamas, really dig deep into what’s really possible on that $4.50. What we heard from all of you was that:
...Whether you had a personal garden
Whether you are a farmer
Whether your friends and neighbors are farmers
Whether you belong to a CSA
Whether you live near a farmers market or good grocery
...all made a huge difference in terms of succeeding at the $5 Challenge. And not everyone has a CSA nearby or the space and time to start their own garden.
We hope the White House’s Great American Family Dinner Challenge acknowledges this “challenge” side of the issue, too. When federal policy is subsidizing the foods that are worst for us, and it’s easier in many communities to buy Froot Loops than it is to buy real fruit, it’s no wonder that cooking affordable meals is more challenging than it should be. Addressing those challenges is going to take all of us working together with the White House to fix the policies that stand in the way of making food truly good, clean, and fair for all.
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.