What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Thu, March 05, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Slow Food USA intern Laura Kate Morris
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need Cicero
Perhaps youve grown your own vegetables in a community garden, infusing them with the terroir of your soil, eating them at your kitchen table. But that is only part of the circle what about the seeds? Nearly all seeds available today have been shipped from states (if not countries) away, and at the end of the season are lost back to the soil. What if, in the spirit of sustainability, we closed that circle of seed, plant, table and back to seed?
The Hudson Valley Seed Library in Accord, NY, is trying to do just that. It brings together rare and regional open-pollinated seeds, a sustainable business model, local artists, the conservation of traditional skills, and your local library? I spoke with the founder of HVSL for further insight into how anyone could possibly fit so many ideas into a tiny packet of seeds.
Co-created by Ken Greene and Doug Muller to support their homesteading habit, the company is committed to staying small and growing food without fossil fuels. Choosing to raise their seeds by hand, HVSL shies away from a bigger size that would require specialized seed-cleaning equipment, tractors, and machinery. They look toward a sustainable, community-focused model and away from the nationalized corporation. (To start finding out more about the corporate seed world, check out this post on Civil Eats.) The Seed Library operates in part like your local library, substituting seeds for books. You can become a member, check out the items of your choice, enjoy and learn from them (in this case, grow them and save them), and return them at the end of the season.
Posted on Thu, February 26, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
This past weekend I, along with a Slow Food USA national office colleague and 300+ college students, ventured to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for the Northeast Real Food Summit, organized by the Real Food Challenge.
Whats the Real Food Challenge, you ask?
First, its a campaign that is seeking to make concrete and lasting change in university dining halls, with a target to redirect 20% of all food purchased by colleges and universities (currently 4 billion dollars) towards real food by 2020. Second, it is a network of students around the country that shares information and resources about how to achieve this goal, as well as the larger goals of reforming the food system at large.
Slow Food works closely with the Real Food Challenge and its student activists so when we were asked to present a workshop during the Summit, there was no hesitation. While we discussed Slow Food, focusing on Slow Food on Campus, the youth experience at Terra Madre and Slow Food Nation and the youth movement as a whole, students in other workshops learned about procuring local, organic, seasonal and sustainable food for their campus dining services. They heard about strategies for approaching university presidents and dining service directors, with an emphasis on universities’ and colleges’ present desire to improve their sustainability ratings.
The dining service providers that supplied our meals for the weekend pulled out all the stops to impress the collection of food activists and left no empty bellies. Overall, the weekend inspired conversations, connections, education, networking, and inspiration for all participants and left everyone with a renewed excitement for the youth movement.
To get involved in the Real Food Challenge (and find out information on the 4 other regional summits happening in the next few weeks), click here.
To read about efforts in sustainable dining on the University of Montana campus, read our post from a few days ago.
Posted on Mon, February 23, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
All around the country, there is a revolution occurring in University Dining Halls. In some cases, universities and colleges are realizing the importance of sustainability/green initiatives in attracting students to their campuses; in other cases, these changes to a more sustainable and delicious food supply are happening as the result of student efforts. At the University of Montana, Dining Services is working with a local community-based food coalition. In today’s post, Lianna Bishop, a recent college grad and Terra Madre 2008 youth delegate writes to us from Missoula Montana about her role in helping the University’s dining services go local.
Greetings from Big Sky Country Missoula, Montana! After graduating from Marquette University in May of 2008, I continued on the next step of my journey in strengthening local food communities at the University of Montana. In July, I began work as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer working in conjunction with The University of Montana Dining Services and the nonprofit organization Grow Montana, a broad-based coalition that works to support policies that promote community based food production. The AmeriCorps VISTA program is specifically designed to fight poverty and address food insecurity issues. As the Farm to College Coordinator at the University of Montana, I join four other FoodCorps volunteers around the state to promote community economic development policies that improve citizen access, particularly in schools and universities, to local Montana foods.
Posted on Thu, January 29, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
Do you know about all the upcoming conferences for young people involved in the food movement? Below you can find information about a few that caught our attention—some of them will have panels or workshops on Slow Food and the Youth Food Movement. If you know of other events that we should be aware of, fill us in!
2nd Annual Strengthening the Roots Food & Justice Convergence:
February 13 15, 2009
Santa Cruz, California
Click here for website
The Convergence hopes to develop and strengthen networks and encourage collaboration to grow and enhance the sustainable food and fair trade movements. Join the Real Food community and the energized students involved with United Students for Fair Trade in Santa Cruz for an exciting and inspirational weekend of real work and planning for the future of the movement.
Southeast Youth Food Activist Summit
February 13 15, 2009
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Click here for website
The Southeast Youth Food Activist Summit is the first of its kind in the region, bringing together students and youth activists from throughout the Southeast to strategize and strengthen the youth network in the region for greater accessibility and use in growing movement.
Posted on Mon, January 26, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Slow Food USA staffer Julia Middleton
Sparkseed (formerly Conscious Lifestyle) is offering an exciting opportunity to get your great idea turned into a real social venture with financial backing, guidance from a team of mentors and webspace to display your accomplishments and inspire others. Sparkseed has partnered with Slow Food on Campus for the second year in a row and reserved one of their 10 new venture spots specifically for a project from one of our chapters. And, even if you are not involved with Slow Food on Campus—and you really should be—but you have an awesome idea for a social venture, you are eligible to participate in Sparkseed’s program.
Sparkseed is currently accepting applications; the deadline is March 1, 2009. Go to their website and check it out. You must be a college student in your first or second year of school so that Sparkseed can work with you for two years, helping you to spread your project to other campuses across the country. However, if you are a part of an organization—such as Slow Food on Campus—that collectively comes up with a really great idea for a venture, nominate a representative or two to take on the leadership of the project as a facet of your greater work as a group.
check out Sparkseed!
Posted on Sun, January 04, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Sam Levin, one of three coordinators of Project Sprout. Project Sprout is a student led and inspired onsite garden that supplements food served in the Monument Mountain High School (in Great Barrington, MA).
The best part of the beginning of a new year is when everyone makes their resolution. Every New Years Eve, sitting around the table, my family and I set our goals for the coming year. Tasting roast leg of lamb and swallowing bites of chocolate cake, we throw out suggestions like trying to do something that scares us once a month or doing something special for one of our neighbors every two weeks. Most of the time one of my brothers suggests something that cripples us with laughter, and someone else tosses out a hallmark card suggestion that gets dismissed with a little disgust. Usually after dinner, in honor of an old Latin American tradition, each of us eats twelve grapes to bring good luck to every month of the coming year. However, its not just that I love setting goals for myself, or hearing Will tell me with a grin that his goal is to cover his clothes with duct tape every day. That piece of it is great, but this year, I discovered something even better. That piece of it is great, but this year, I discovered something even better.
On New Years Eve I decided that I would resolve to get garden projects initiated in six other high schools. And as I thought about what that meant, I have to admit, I started to get a little excited. As I sat at the table listening to my family members laugh and eat and talk, I began to think about all of the other people in the world sitting at their own tables, counting down to 2009, and resolving to accomplish their own goals.
Posted on Mon, December 29, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
If it helps, please insert
a) a drumroll
b) a celebrity reading the list straight to camera
c) a lot of enthusiasm, as indicated by the proliferation of exclamation points (!)
10) A New Office: The SFUSA staff enjoyed a move down two flights into a space double the size of our old one. Although we miss tripping over each other, we’re sure happy about having more room. Stop by and say hello if you’re ever in Brooklyn.
9) A New Baby: Finance Manager Kehinde Yeku welcomed the birth of her baby girl Ebu last May!
8) New States in the Union: Our first ever chapter in West Virginia.
7) Two Staff Weddings: Deena Goldman in June and Erika Lesser in November!
6) A New National Statute: This year, with the help of chapter leaders from around the country, we revised our national statute. It’s leaner, cleaner, and clearer.
5) Terra Madre: For the third biennial small-scale sustainable food producers conference, we brought over 700 US delegates with us, including a huge number under the age of 30.
4) A New Book: The publication of here for an article about in in the New York Times.
3) Can’t stop growing: 8,000 new members!
2) A New President: Nope, we’re not talking about Obama, we’re talking about Josh Viertel, Slow Food USA’s first ever President!
and the number 1 highlight of 2008…...
1) Slow Food Nation: Slow Food’s first US-based national scale event. With everything from sustainable street food to a victory garden on San Francisco’s Civic Center steps to star-studded discussion panels, Slow Food Nation brought San Franciscans—and the country—together in a conversation about the future of our food system. The event, our first annual, attracted over 85,000 people over the course of three days.
Posted on Mon, December 01, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Gina Fiorello-Brady
Do you have a Slow Food In Schools Project? Do you want to start a Slow Food In Schools Project? Weve come across a few funding opportunities for our chapters and project leaders.
Fiskars’ Project Orange Thumb to Support Garden Programs.
Deadline: February 17, 2009
Launched in 2003, Fiskars’ Project Orange Thumb has awarded grants totaling more than $300,000 to over a hundred community groups, schools, churches, and other organizations for their garden programs. This year, the program will award grants to twenty organizations in the United States and Canada. Each grantee will receive up to $1,500 in Fiskars garden tools and up to $800 in gardening-related materials (i.e. green goods). Gardens and/or gardening projects geared toward community involvement, neighborhood beautification, sustainable agriculture, and/or horticultural education are eligible. Community garden groups as well as schools, youth groups, community centers, camps, clubs, and treatment facilities are all encouraged to apply.
General Mills Champion for Health Kids
Deadline: January 15, 2009
The General Mills Foundation, in partnership with the American Dietetic Association Foundation and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, developed the Champions for Healthy Kids grant program in 2002. Each year since inception, the General Mills Foundation awards 50 grants of $10,000 each to community-based groups that develop creative ways to help youth adopt a balanced diet and physically active lifestyle.
Posted on Thu, November 13, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Slow Food USA staffer Cecily Upton
If we’re ever going to meet the rising demand for good, clean and fair food, we’re going to need new farmers. Lots of em. And these new farmers are going to have to do things a little bit differently from the generation before them.
With a sea change happening in the agricultural sector, and with many young farmers making a commitment to the land with little or no farming experience, how will they learn the skills necessary to produce enough food for growing demand?
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture has one answer. They’re organizing a Young Farmers Conference, where young and new farmers can learn the skills they need. From seed to market, workshops will cover the basics of getting started within the context of our global food system.
Young Farmers Conference, December 4 and 5, 2008
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
Check out the full list of conference workshops
Photo by Michael Moran
Posted on Wed, November 12, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Sam Levin
Sam Levin is one of three co-founders, along with Sarah Steadman and Natalie Akers, of Project Sprout, an organic, student-run garden on the grounds of Monument High School in Great Barrington, Mass. Now in its second year, Project Sprout supplies the school’s cafeteria with fresh fruits and vegetables, helps feed the hungry in the community and serves as a living laboratory for students of the Monument school system.
Sam, a Sophomore at Monument, gave a speech at the opening ceremony of Terra Madre ‘08 in Italy, and inspired thousands of delegates from around the world who traveled to Turin for the event. The Slow Food USA blog is thrilled to share his remarks with our readers.
Exactly one year ago Monday, I walked through the doors of my public high school in Massachusetts planning on presenting the idea of Project Sprout to my Guidance counselor. And thats all it was, an idea. I had not one detail worked out, only that I wanted the students of my school and the people of my community to begin paying more attention to their food, and in turn the natural world around them. I was already an avid naturalist, and when I wasnt in the woods or swamps, I was spending time on the farm down the road from my house, playing soccer with the pigs or riding the cows. So, after talking to my guidance counselor, Mr. Powell, I connected with two other students, Sarah a junior who loved gardening and children and Natalie a sophomore who was desperate for delicious vegetables in the cafeteria, and together we began refining the idea and figuring out the details of the project. Within weeks we had a plan.
The plan was simple. Create a student-run organic vegetable garden on school grounds, that would be used as an educational tool for students ages 2-18, provide delicious produce for the school lunches, and ultimately build connections with nature and food for the children of our district. And with that plan, along with some energy, excitement, and motivation, we began working towards our goal.
We met with local farmers and gardeners, landscapers and designers, teachers and groundskeepers. We worked with non-profit leaders and most importantly, we worked together. I couldnt walk by Mr. Powells office without stopping in to talk to him. Sarah and Natalie and I met in between classes and during lunch, after school and before school. Although we hadnt even known each other before October, as time went on, our relationship became unbreakable. As we know, food brings people together. But as I have learned, working to save food creates unbelievably powerful bonds between people.
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.