Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Report from Puebla

By Joyce Cellars
Slow Food Berkeley

Two weeks ago, 600 Slow Food convivium leaders from over 40 countries met in Puebla, Mexico for the Fifth International Slow Food Congress. It was an opportunity to plot the direction of the organization and do some housekeeping while drinking deep the draughts with fellow food and agriculture activists.

Tamar Adler, co-chair, and Gordon Jenkins, general wiz-kid, of Slow Food Berkeley were lucky enough to attend one of the most musical and jovial business meetings of all time. We’d like to share a few experiences from the weekend with you.

This Congress was the first one of its kind to be held outside of Europe, its location in Mexico a meaningful assertion of non-Eurocentrism. The culinary and agricultural traditions of Mexico are astounding; its biodiversity still amazes; the small, sustainable food and farming projects we heard about were humbling in their vision and execution. We were impressed and inspired.

Presentations by Slow Food activists from the world over reminded that worldwide, convivia are working to redevelop local food communities and establish good, clean, and fair food as a basic human right. It was invigorating to be reminded of this simple premise.

We learned that: activists in Italy and India are designing open-source programs to catalogue heritage seeds and preserve regional biodiversity. Farmers in Mexico and Bulgaria are resisting food globalization and re-opening the market for indigenous foods. “Nurture capitalists” in the U.S. are searching for ways to invest “Slowly,” morally and sustainably. University students are writing purchasing guidelines for their dining halls. CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) like ours are reconnecting communities to their neighboring farms and creating bonds that trace the food pathways that used to feed us all and keep our communities secure.

Monday, November 05, 2007

San Diego Wild Fire

Slow Food San Diego is compiling a list of local farms that were damaged by the recent fires. They are creating an application process to distribute funds to the farms damaged by the fires. Contact Slow Food San Diego for more information

Friday, November 02, 2007

Slow Food Adults Enjoy Kid's Stuff

By Lee Roversi
Slow Food Kaua'i

The newly formed convivium of Slow Food Kaua’i gathered for their first event on Tuesday, October 30th. Dubbed “Kid’s Stuff” it started with a marvelous tour of the Wooten family’s Kunana Dairy—an organic goat farm in Kilauea, and concluded with a masterfully prepared and superbly presented tapas menu at Bar Acuda Restaurant in Hanalei.

Hosted by Louisa Wooten, the matriarch of the operation, the dairy tour was informative and fun. Meeting the goats, which the family considers their kids (pun intended), was a peek at animals who have been lovingly hand-raised and tended with care. The kitchen and milking facilities are crisp and clean, also a reflection of the fine attitude and impeccable ethic this family brings to their work. Louisa’s son and daughter-in-law, Ryan and Sarah, are an integral part of the day-to-day operation of Kunana Dairy. In addition to the several kinds of artisan goat cheeses produced, Sarah makes some delicious sauces, pestos and dressings from the organic produce also grown on the acreage. As if that were not enough, the farm is now turning some of their prolific goat’s milk into soaps, lotions, shampoos and conditioners. Needless to say, this is a very busy family and some extremely content goats. The entire tour was a sterling example of organic family farming at its finest.

The marvelous restaurant in Hanalei to whom Kunana sells several of their cheeses, was our next stop on this great evening. The owner and chef, Jim Moffat, had prepared this menu for our Slow Food group, featuring the dairy’s cheeses. Paired with the tapas for which the restaurant is rightly renowned, were wines to which we were lovingly introduced by sommelier George Rowland. As the group moved from dish to dish, we all kept up a constant murmur of amazement at the range of flavors, the delightful variety and the consistent quality of the dishes. Jim has a commitment to sustainability and the reflection of that was surely in his purchasing. There were a number of products in each dish that were organically grown from local farmers. The goat cheeses (gorgonzola, cheddar and feta) were integrated into a menu that showcased them in deliciously diverse culinary settings.

Every member at the table came away with a finer understanding and deeper respect for the grasp and dedication the Wooten family and Chef Jim Moffat and his staff at Bar Acuda have for the tenets inherent in the Slow Food movement. We all were renewed in our personal reasons for supporting this global movement here on our own island and excited to gather again at another event soon.