What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Tue, July 08, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
The main civic garden on our minds these days is the Victory Garden being planted on the front lawn of City Hall in San Francisco, for Slow Food Nation. However, there's a group out there that has its eyes on a bigger prize: the White House Lawn.*
Most interesting might be their PR tactics–in an effort to ride the immense PR coattails of the new iPhone that debuts this Friday, they are linking their campaign for an organic garden on the White House lawn to Apple's big push. They call themselves "Waiting for Apples," and although this article paints them as a bit unclear on how these two things mesh beyond their Apple-ness, it provides an opportunity to think about how small grassroots campaigns can piggyback on big corporate ones.
To join the effort, you can, er, buy yourself a new iPhone, or sign a petition here.
To follow the progress of the Slow Food Nation Victory Garden, check out their blog.
* For a fun account of Alice Waters' efforts during the Clinton administration to have Bill plant a garden at the White House, read Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, by Thomas McNamee.
Posted on Wed, March 19, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
by Slow Food in Schools Coordinator, Cecily Upton
Here at Slow Food USA, we've been noticing an interesting and exciting trend: young folks eschewing the corporate/industrial complex and going back to the land and back to the kitchen.
We're not the only ones who noticed it either–Saturday's New York Times Style Section included a lengthy article about young farmers, featuring Slow Food friend and filmmaker Severine Von Tscharner Fleming and my very own CSA farmers from Hearty Roots Community Farm and Awesome Farm, Ltd.
Beyond the Times article, though, we've heard from other youngsters about how Slow Food has helped shape their career choices. Slow Food Princeton campus chapter leader Joe Vellone writes:
"Having taken classes on food in American culture, environmental science, and economics, I've learned a learned a lot about the theories behind farming practices, food distribution, and markets. But learning about those concepts and experiencing them first-hand are two completely different things. Sure, I could have spent this summer working for an investment bank like so many of my classmates, but ultimately I would have come out empty this summer (though my wallet would have been full!).
A summer working on an organic farm, or volunteering for a greenmarket, or interning at a nonprofit in the food sector isn't just about the experience: it's about walking the walk instead of just talking the talk by eating locally and buying organic."
Katy Anderson, another Princetonian, said "After working in wealth management over the summer, I thought heavily about taking an offer from JP Morgan for a three year position after college. But ultimately, my interest in sustainable food won out - with a background in farming and a passion for good, clean, fair food expanded by my experience with Slow Food, I am incredibly excited to take this riskier, less straightforward route."
Severine, whose film "The Greenhorns" documents the experiences of young farmers across the country, has some words of advice for those looking to support this movement:
"Many in the Slow Food movement have a commitment to place, a dedication to their regional cuisine, a nose for apricot season. If you are lucky enough to own land, you might consider lending your land to a young farmer tenant. One, three, twelve, forty acres/hectares might very well not be economically viable to farm for a holiday-owner, or even for a conventional local producer of citrus, or olive, or apple–but that might be just enough land for a young intrepid farmer to grow a crop of dry-farmed tomatoes for sauce, or marjoram to dry, or even a small
vegetable operation for one of those restaurants which is on the cusp of buying locally- except that the supply is missing.
Begin to negotiate the terms of a new interaction with place, with the community relations that inform sensitive stewardship, begin a conversation with the next generation, share what you know, and nurture their fierce idealism with a piece of land to practice it upon."
Posted on Tue, March 04, 2008 by Jerusha Klemperer
When people call us here at Slow Food USA asking about undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Studies/Gastronomy, we've in the past only had a few directions in which to steer them.
First, there's the University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG), Slow Food's University with campuses in Pollenzo and Colorno. One can go there for the undergraduate degree, or the one-year English language Masters degree.
There are also programs at NYU (School of Food Studies), Tufts (Agriculture, Food and Environment at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy) and University of New Hampshire (where there's a Food and Society initiative).
Now there's a new school to add into the mix! Slow Food Bloomington co-leader Christine Barbour is an affiliated faculty member with Indiana University in Bloomington, where there is a brand new Food Studies PhD. It's always interesting to see under whose auspices these programs lie, and at Bloomington, it's the Anthropology department.
Professor Barbour was kind enough to answer some questions for us about her involvement in Slow Food and how it affects her work in the classroom, as well as to share two wonderful articles with us–one from Indiana's Research and Creative Activity publication, and one from the Indiana University Alumni Mag, which explains how she got interested in Slow Food and began the local chapter.
Q: What is the relationship of the Bloomington convivium to the University? Have there been opportunities for connection in the past?
CB: No formal relationship, though as I am a professor at IU as well as Slow Food co-director, there are informal connections. For instance, my "Food and Politics" class is very much Slow Food-oriented.
Q: What do you teach?
CB: The new program is a graduate program and I teach undergraduates (though graduate students can audit my class.) I am talking to the incoming Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education about putting together a food studies minor for undergrads.
Q: Have you found that the students have heard of Slow Food?
CB: Not so much, really, even among the students working on our sustainability task force. Out of 25 students in each of my "Food And Politics" classes, typically 4-5 have heard of it, and that is among a group self-selected for its interest in food.
Q: There aren't many food studies programs in the country right now. How did this one come to be at Bloomington?
CB: The Anthropology Dept. looked at its faculty research interests and realized that many of them had food-related interests. Since many faculty outside their dept. also focus on food issues, they decided to bring them together in a food studies program for grad students (mainly because there is far less paperwork involved than beginning a new undergrad program.)
Q: Why do you think there is a demand now for coursework like this?
CB: Food is trendy, the "eat local" movement is gaining traction in popular culture and becoming more mainstream, books like Fast Food Nation and Omnivore's Dilemma as well as films like "Supersize Me" and "King Corn" are making people think about the implications of where their food comes from.
Posted on Sat, November 10, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
In the garden, overlooking the ruins of a home for aged Franciscan friars, under white umbrellas and the blazing Poblano sun, we ate tortillas, drank mezcal, and met our neighbors, from the UK, Japan, Italy, Germany, Chile, Brazil, Sweden, Mexico….and on and on. Suddenly, a 70 piece mariachi band, dressed all in white–violoins, guitars, horns–broke into jubilant and beautiful sound. Carlo Petrini, at the center, wearing a sombrero and leading the song.
This was the Slow Food 5th International Congress. From November 8th - November 11th, Slow Food convivium leaders from around the world gathered in Puebla, Mexico to discuss the future of the movement, to meet each other, to share knowledge and passion, ideas and fried grasshoppers.
For more news about the Congress, check out Slow Food International's site, and please use the comments section to share with us all the images that stuck with you most.
Posted on Wed, September 26, 2007 by Jerusha Klemperer
A bike trip along the river Po sounds like a picturesque way to spend a few weeks on holiday. But what if this were school? What if your gastronomy professor were on the bike next to you, and the delicious local meals you stopped to enjoy were coursework?? For many of us, the prospect of biking along the aquatic lifeline of Italy, learning about the river, and the food traditions in the community along it, sounds like a terrific break from work, but for students at the University of Gastronomic Sciences, it IS work (schoolwork, that is).
The University of Gastronomic Sciences was founded by Slow Food in 2003 to offer the first ever gastronomic degree. Continuing in this trailblazing tradition, the students and teachers of the University have just embarked on an innovative 3 week, 650 km trip along the Po to examine how the river is changing due to environmental impact, and climate change. Read more about the trip here, and here.
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.