What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Mon, April 18, 2011 by Jerusha Klemperer
After months of planning and planting, a fleet of 25 Truck Farmers across the country are about to take to the road. One snag! Not enough trucks.
by Hnin Hnin
Some farmers have thousands of acres of land. Some farmers have a few. Truck Farmers have a pile of dirt in the back of a pickup truck. Truck Farm is a simple concept with a big impact. It’s a mini-mobile farm, an edible exhibit, and the focus of a documentary coming out this winter. What exactly can you do with a 4x8 bed of soil and seeds on wheels? Add an ambitious farmer with the passion to teach kids about growing and eating healthy food, and you’ve got one of the coolest urban agriculture projects around. That’s why Slow Food USA has partnered up with Truck Farm to recruit some of the freshest new urban farmers in town.
After months of planning and planting, a fleet of 25 Truck Farmers across the country are about to take to the road, popping up at schools, camps, street fairs, outdoor concerts, and anywhere else large groups of youth congregate. They’re revved up and ready to go…
BUT there’s one snag—7 of the 25 farmers don’t have a truck! Meet Cate Brennan, a student and leader of Slow Food University of Rhode Island. With your help, she and her group can become some of the youngest Truck Farmers on the fleet.
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 Mon, April 11, 2011 by Slow Food USA
When local chef Nathalie Dupree suggested Slow Food Charleston enter the Let’s Move for Healthy Kids Contest, they had no idea it would be a hit; they’re now one of fifteen semifinalists across the country!
When local chef Nathalie Dupree suggested Slow Food Charleston enter the Let’s Move! Recipes for Healthy Kids Contest, they had no idea it would be a hit; they’re now one of fifteen semifinalists across the country! Partnering with local school food service directors, chefs, local culinary schools representatives, and MUSC Lean Team! advocates, the team got to work. The group worked quickly to bring together a team of students from Burke Middle/High School, a Title One school. Together they collaborated with students to create a kid-approved Southern-style soup that met strict nutritional guidelines. They call it Confetti Soup.
The Recipes for Healthy Kids project marks the beginning of a larger Chefs in Schools initiative developed by Slow Food Charleston. As part of the new initiative, the chapter hopes to improve the quality of food in schools, and with it, create a new generation of healthy eaters. Chefs in Schools will provide ‘taste education’ to students by working directly with area chefs to make great tasting healthy food and provide food service personnel with the tools necessary to bring fresh, healthy meals to students by funding classes at nearby culinary schools. The pilot program is set to begin this summer in two counties.
In the meantime, Burke Middle/High School and Slow Food Charleston are enjoying their semifinalist status, and looking forward to the next stages of the competition. This spring a team of USDA judges will visit the school to try out the Confetti Soup and determine whether or not the group will move on to the final round. You can show your support by voting for the group’s Confetti Soup recipe as the People’s Choice. Simply visit this site (click here) between now and May 15th to cast your vote!
The winning team is pictured above (left to right):
Ms. Carol Rivers (Burke Culinary Arts Teacher)
Jennifer Moore (MUSC Lean Team and Slow Food Charleston)
Auja Ravanel (Burke Middle School student)
Keshawn Jones (Burke Middle School student)
Craig Deihl (Executive Chef- Cypress Restaurant)
Quantifah Lockwood (Burke High School student)
Tyler Manigault (Burke High School student)
Erin Boudolf (CCSD School Nutrition Services Dietician)
(not pictured-Coleen Martin- MUSC Lean Team)
Posted on Thu, April 07, 2011 by Slow Food USA
Every Sunday night at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, one might find students gathered for a shared meal of any type of theme or global cuisine.
by Claire Brandow
Every Sunday night at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, one might find students gathered for a shared meal of any type of theme or global cuisine. Dinner could be Vietnamese banh mi, a feast of Indian aloo mater and kheer, or an impressive spread of ramp pesto and sorrel soup for a local foods dinner. Though the food and atmosphere change weekly, the objective stays the same: with each of these Family Dinner Nights, the members of Slow Food University of Wisconsin put the philosophy of Slow Food into action. Every meal is a chance to educate and promote the value of good, clean, and fair food in a convivial atmosphere.
Slow Food University of Wisconsin-Madison is particularly active in two venues: improving the campus food system and campaigning to raise awareness about food and agriculture issues. The Family Dinner Nights are at the core of SFUW’s work. Each night includes a cooking lesson followed by a communal dinner. SFUW recently received a gift of pots, pans, and kitchen gadgets from Anolon Cookware as part of the company’s “Creating a Delicious Future” initiative. Everything from the cooking to cleaning is communal: not only is the food prepared and enjoyed together, five people each week sign up to help with cleaning in exchange for a free meal.
The two-year tradition of Family Dinner Night now attracts as many as 100 students each week. SFUW uses each night to educate on a different topic, whether it is a cultural lesson on the country of that meal’s origins or a lecture on the food movement and food sovereignty. Dinners also often serve to benefit local family farms and promote local producers and vendors.
SFUW co-leader Danny Spitzberg insists newcomers should always feel welcome. “We don’t bite until dinner is ready! We’re an evolving community. We always welcome anyone interested in eating good food, meeting new people, and having good old fashioned fun.”
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 Wed, March 02, 2011 by Slow Food USA
Honeybees are under attack but despite years of research the culprit for colony collapse disorder (CCD) has yet to be identified.
Honeybees are under attack but despite years of research the culprit for colony collapse disorder (CCD) has yet to be identified.
What we do know is that there’s probably not just one thing causing the massive die-offs, but several factors interacting to cause a perfect, lethal storm.
What difference does it make?
How can I help?
SIGN the petition. The EPA recently pledged to take a closer look at one of the factors that watchdog organizations like Beyond Pesticides and Pesticide Action Network believe to be a contributing cause of CCD. Together we can hold the EPA accountable to its promise to dig deeper into some of the likeliest causes of CCD, like a new class of agricultural pesticides. If you’d like to gather petition signatures on your own—at a screening, or outside your supermarket—and send them to us, you can download a petition sheet by clicking here.
PLANT a bee friendly habitat in your garden or windowsill with pollen- and nectar-rich flowering plants like sunflowers, berries, gourds, and most herbs.
REDUCE your usage of insecticides and herbicides around the home. They may get rid of pests, but they can also harm “non-target” insects such as honeybees.
SUPPORT your local beekeepers, and producers of rare honey. Learn about honey varieties in your area and those on the US Ark of Taste.
The threat that this phenomenon poses to our food security and our economy is grave. We can’t just swat this problem away.
Thanks for being a part of the solution. And if you haven’t yet signed our petition to the EPA, click here.
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
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.