Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This Really (REALLY) Stinks!

Burger King offers it's best for the Holidays.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Locavore Thanksgiving

Martha Cheng, after spending a month eating only food from our state (read her blog here) in the Eat Local Challenge, does an amazing and inspiring job of creating an entirely Hawaiian Thanksgiving. You can read her menu on Share Your Table.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just in time for the Holidays

Maybe you know someone who likes chocolate. Maybe you like chocolate.
Join the people from Garden Island Chocolate for their December 6th workshop, and learn to make your own Kaua'i chocolate for a special holiday treat for someone you love.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Eat Local! Bumper Stickers

You can purchase your 'Eat Local 'bumper sticker at this address for $2.00 each:

1172 Lunahaneli Place
Kailua, HI 96734

"Featuring original artwork by Mayumi Oda, "Haumea's Garden". Haumea is a Hawaiian goddess of childbirth and wild food. Stories told of Haumea center about themes concerned with food supply for the life of man."

Sunday, October 05, 2008

New Groundbreaking EcoGastronomy Program at UNH (so far away....)

by Slow Food USA staffer Julia Middleton

Are you interested in the science behind where your food comes from, how it is grown and the new organic food movement? Do you have a passion for business and food and need a way to connect the two in your academics? Have you considered the cultural significance of food in different societies? These questions and many more can be explored in the new dual major Ecogastronomy Program offered at the University of New Hampshire.

As fall begins and a new school year is underway, the University of New Hampshire has unveiled its new dual major EcoGastronomy Program. Students in the program will take an integrated approach to their education by complementing their primary major with a combination of hands on learning, practical skills training and international study opportunities. The EcoGastronomy Program includes 5 required courses, one elective and 15 credits from the University of Gastronomic Sciences, which will continue to nurture the relationship between the program and Slow Food.

The University of New Hampshire’s EcoGastronomy Program has had a special relationship with Slow Food as the program was inspired by a visit from Carlo Petrini in 2006. After he was presented with an honorary degree at the University, faculty and staff from the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, the Whittemore Schools of Business and Economics and the University Office of Sustainability came together to develop the core curriculum and plan of study for this new degree. The relationship with Slow Food has continued as students at the University of New Hampshire worked together to start a now thriving Slow Food chapter on Campus.

University students across the country are responding to a heightened awareness of food in society by demanding dual degree programs, study abroad opportunities and seminars with a focus on food issues locally, nationally and internationally. Congratulations to the University of New Hampshire and the other institutions here and abroad that are working to make educational opportunities available to students, and thus informing the next generation about ways to make good, clean and fair food available to everyone.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cheese

From those cheesy girls at Cowgirl Creamery, what an incredible resource. Thank you!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Slow Food Congress/Slow Food Nation '08

What a fantastic week! Slow Food Congress and Slow Food Nation took place in sunny San Francisco August 28th - September 1st.
I was born and raised in San Francisco, and I have always gloatingly considered the Bay Area (specifically Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley) the culinary capitol of North America, and I now know it to be true.
San Francisco was the perfect location for the first Slow Food Nation.

My week began in attendance of the Slow Food Congress; 400 Slow Food USA leaders spent two days in discussion, lectures and workshops; day one with speakers such as Carlos Petrini, founder of the Slow Food movement and President of Slow Food International, Joshua Viertel, Slow Food USA’s new President, Allen Katz, Chairman of the Board of Slow Food USA and Erika Lesser, Executive Director of Slow Food USA.
A lot of issues were discussed and voted on, such as dropping the use of the word ‘convivium’ in preference to ‘chapter’, all in the hopes of making Slow Food USA more approachable and less ‘elitist’.
After lunch on that first day I joined a very edifying workshop on bringing Slow Food to schools, something I would really like to pursue here.

That first night I attended a Slow Food dinner at Prima in Walnut Creek, which was a benefit for the young BALT, the Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust, an organization close to my heart having first hand watched the farm land of my wife’s native Brentwood be converted to housing development over the years.
My friend Peter Chastain, Chef and owner of Prima prepared an unbelievable meal using produce all from Brentwood farms, just on the other side of Mt. Diablo.
This epic evening ended with my first experience with Absinthe, one of which is distilled on the island of Alameda in the San Francisco Bay at St. Georges Sprints.

The next day was spent at Changemakers Day, attending more eye-opening panels, ranging from the definition of ‘Clean’ food to the future of farming (a list of sessions is here).

That same evening was the opening of the Taste Pavilion at Fort Mason. Oh my God! The Pavilion was so much more than I had expected, absolutely packed full of the best our country has to offer and staffed by the very artisans, chefs and farmers who provided it. Everywhere you went was an education. The biggest surprise for me, a father of two young children living on Kaua’i, was the amazing world of the new bar scene. The mixologist there were serving truly innovative cocktails using wonderful, clean products and ingredients.

Charcuterie was another particular favorite, where I was able to chat with Paul Bertolli of Fra'Mani.

The coffee area was a real joy for me too. I met Tony Serrano from Barefoot Coffee Roasters who took us through a tasting of three single origin coffees. Then I was served an unbelievable macchiato from Ritual Coffee Roasters’ own head barista M’lissa Muckerman (you may have seen her on the Feb/March issue of Barista Magazine; I pointed out to her that I had and was rewarded with a blush).

Saturday Morning we went to the Victory Garden and farmers market at Civic Center for an extended visit, talking with farmers and producers in-depth. Again, amazing.

And intermixed within all of this I still managed to dine at A 16, SPQR, Spruce and Sushi Ran and enjoy a macchiato at Café Lo Cubano on its second to last day before it closed its doors for good.
Even though I hold my hometown in such high esteem, I was blown away with the love and knowledge everyone I talked with had for their selected craft.

Slow Food may not be elitist, but it sure can be decadent.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Slow Food Savors Its Big Moment

By Kim Severson
The New York Times

At the end of the summer, the gastronomic organization called Slow Food USA will host a little party for more than 50,000 people in San Francisco.

Outside of the tight culinary circles of San Francisco and New York, people seemed to have a hard time figuring out exactly what Slow Food did. Some farmers and producers perceived its members as dilettantes who traveled the countryside “discovering” Berkshire pigs and heirloom tomatoes and old apple orchards.

Steven Shaw, a food writer and a founder of the food Web site eGullet, said Slow Food succeeded early on because it mixed hedonism with a leftist political agenda. But, he contends, its strong antitechnology, antiglobalization views are lost on the average member.

“Most people I know who go to Slow Food events are the culinary equivalents of the guys in college who go to protests to meet girls,” he said. “They couldn’t care less about the ideology.”

In the spring, several bloggers faced off over charges that the international organization was nothing but a collection of jet-setting food theorists. Brahm Ahmadi, the executive director of the People’s Grocery, a community organization that works to get healthy food into poor parts of Oakland, Calif., wrote in his blog that Slow Food lacked “economic and racial diversity.”

Katrina Heron, the chairwoman of the board that is running the Slow Food Nation festival, said Slow Food USA is trying to become more inclusive and develop an identity distinct from the parent group. “It had an awkward landing from the beginning,” she said. “There was kind of this problem in translation.”

Ms. Heron believes Slow Food Nation will be a turning point. Festival leaders have courted Mr. Ahmadi and others to lead panels on hunger, race and poverty. The group has also hired a “justice director” to make the conference more diverse.

She and other Slow Food leaders say that many of the 200 United States convivia — the term the organization uses instead of chapters — are doing important work in places where like-minded people might not otherwise have found one another. There are five chapters in Iowa, for example, including one in Des Moines started by Neil Hamilton, a gentleman farmer and director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University Law School.

“Farmers’ market vendors and farmers are not always the most organized,” he said. “Slow Food has provided an organizational place for all these folks to come together and support each other.”

Slow Food has helped build gardens in schoolyards, and it came to the rescue in post-Katrina Louisiana, raising about $50,000 to help restaurants reopen, farmers replant and shrimpers buy new equipment, among other things. New Orleans’s premier farmers’ market reopened a couple of months after the storm, largely through the sheer will of Slow Food members.

Slow Food also helped popularize the word “heritage,” now commonly used to describe certain breeds of pigs and even fruit. The group’s effort in 2001 to help a breeder sell his rare, old-fashioned turkeys — he called them heritage turkeys — became a cause célèbre that Thanksgiving.

But leaders realize Slow Food USA must do more if it is going to grow much beyond the 16,000 members it has now and build enough political muscle to help reform the food system.

Now, they say, the organization is getting a makeover. And the festival in San Francisco will be the perfect place to show off a more inclusive and more politically attuned Slow Food USA.

“I don’t know if it’s going to be the youthful, happening Woodstock they want it to be, but it certainly has the potential,” said Corby Kummer, a food columnist, book author and Slow Food board member. “It will be a failure if it is only well-dressed people over 35 from the Bay Area treating it as if it’s another Ferry Plaza Farmers Market” — a reference to the place where well-fed San Franciscans and celebrity farmers chat over perfect peaches and soft, ripe cheese.

Carlo Petrini, a charismatic Italian who writes about food and wine, started Slow Food with friends who shared his notion that left wing politics and gastronomic pleasure could be happily married. The international organization has grown to 86,000 members and become an industry in Mr. Petrini’s hometown, Bra, Italy. There are Slow Food restaurants, a university and a hotel. You can buy a cashmere truffle-hunting vest embroidered with the Slow Food snail logo at the main office in Bra.
To get things ready, the mayor let the group dig up the lawn in front of City Hall and plant a quarter-acre garden. It will be the centerpiece of the festival, ambitiously named Slow Food Nation.

Events will pop up all around the city over Labor Day weekend. Fifteen architects have volunteered to build elaborate pavilions dedicated to things like pickles, coffee and salami. Lecture halls have been booked, politicians invited and dinner parties planned. Nearly $2 million has been raised.

And for the first time in its 10-year history, the notoriously finicky organization has embraced corporate partners like Whole Foods, Anolon cookware and the Food Network.

The Slow Food faithful say they want the festival to be the Woodstock of food, a profound event where a broad band of people will see that delicious, sustainably produced food can be a prism for social, ecological and political change.

They also realize that it may be their best chance to prove that Slow Food, as a movement, is not just one big wine tasting with really hard to find cheeses that you weren’t invited to.

The American wing of the Slow Food movement, which began in Italy in 1986, has a tendency to polarize people. When it first took root here in 1998, some people were drawn to its philosophy, while others were put off by what they saw as elitism and an inflated sense of importance.

Slow Food’s leaders, the chef Alice Waters chief among them, bristle at the criticism. But most acknowledge that the organization did not translate well to an American audience. As a result, it has never had as much cultural or political impact as its parent group in Europe.

The group’s budget is about $39 million, and subsidized by the Italian government. Much of the organization’s work involves identifying traditional foods, like Ethiopian white honey or Amalfi sfusato lemons, and designing ways to help the people who produce them.

Its philosophy — that food is about much more than cooking and eating — is often hammered home by Mr. Petrini on his frequent trips around the world.

“I always say a gastronome who isn’t an environmentalist is just stupid, and I say an environmentalist who isn’t a gastronome is just sad,” he said through an interpreter in an interview last year.

In the late 1990s, Mr. Petrini’s ideas were quickly embraced by people on America’s coasts who were fans of farmers’ markets, local food and a slower, more reflective way of life. Ms. Waters, who had spent more than two decades advocating delicious organic food and the small farms that grew it, was among them.

“I heard him for the first time and I just fell for him,” she said. “I thought, oh, my God. We are soul mates.”

Most of Slow Food’s achievements in its first years in the United States were intellectual. It easily won new converts like the authors Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan to its critique of the status quo in American food.

“Slow Food came on as a way to influence the system through small, enlightened groups,” said Bill Niman, the California rancher. “For me, any effort or movement that helps motivate people to ask where does this come from and where is it raised is very important.”

Slow Food gathered critics quickly, too. Those who embraced the Eurocentric Slow Food model struck some as cliquish and snobby.

“I do slow food. Why should I join it?” said John Scharffenberger, who made his name producing sparkling wine and chocolate in Northern California. “But I think it is a really good way to promote Italian food.”

“To change consumer buying habits and to get people to think differently about where their food comes from is one thing,” Ms. Heron said. “But that’s not the main event. The success of Slow Food Nation depends on political leaders taking up this issue.”

Meanwhile, Slow Food USA itself is trying to change, said Erika Lesser, the executive director of the national organization, which is based in Brooklyn.

“This is really a coming-of-age moment for us where we are trying to define who we are in the United States,” she said.

To that end, Slow Food USA is adding college chapters, reorganizing its internal structure and dropping the term convivium in favor of the more American-sounding chapter.

Even Ms. Waters, who is a vice president of Slow Food’s international board, realizes that her beloved cause has to invite some new guests to the table.

And it appears many of them will be showing up on Labor Day weekend.

“All I can say is, there are enough really beautiful people coming for it to be bigger than the sum of its parts,” Ms. Waters said. “If 60,000 people do come, and we’re all in front of City Hall, and it’s a beautiful night, well, who knows what could happen.”

A Locally Grown Diet With Fuss but No Muss

By Kim Severson
The New York Times

Eating locally raised food is a growing trend. But who has time to get to the farmer’s market, let alone plant a garden?

That is where Trevor Paque comes in. For a fee, Mr. Paque, who lives in San Francisco, will build an organic garden in your backyard, weed it weekly and even harvest the bounty, gently placing a box of vegetables on the back porch when he leaves.

Call them the lazy locavores — city dwellers who insist on eating food grown close to home but have no inclination to get their hands dirty. Mr. Paque is typical of a new breed of business owner serving their needs.

Even couples planning a wedding at the Plaza Hotel in New York City can jump on the local food train. For as little as $72 a person, they can offer guests a “100-mile menu” of food from the caterer’s farm and neighboring fields in upstate New York.

“The highest form of luxury is now growing it yourself or paying other people to grow it for you,” said Corby Kummer, the food columnist and book author. “This has become fashion.”

Locally grown food, even fully cooked meals, can be delivered to your door. A share in a cow raised in a nearby field can be brought to you, ready for the freezer — a phenomenon dubbed cow pooling. There is pork pooling as well. At Sugar Mountain Farm in Vermont, the demand for a half or whole rare-breed pig is so great that people will not be seeing pork until the late fall.

Although a completely local diet is out of reach for even the most dedicated, the shift toward it is being driven by the increasingly popular view that fast food is the enemy and that local food tastes better. Depending on the season, local produce can cost an additional $1 a pound or more. But long-distance food, with its attendant petroleum consumption and cheap wages, is harming the planet and does nothing to help build communities, locavores believe.

As a result of interest in local food and rising grocery bills, backyard gardens have been enjoying a renaissance across the country, but what might be called the remote-control backyard garden — no planting, no weeding, no dirt under the fingernails — is a twist. “They want to have a garden, they don’t want to garden,” said the cookbook author Deborah Madison, who lives in Santa Fe, N.M.

Her neighbor Chase Ault, a business consultant, recently had a vegetable garden installed with a customized set of plants and a regular service agreement. “I am working 24-7 these days, but I wanted to have something growing in front of me,” Ms. Ault said.

Like organic food, which corporate manufacturers embraced in the 1990s, before it, local food is quickly moving into the mainstream. Last year, the New Oxford American Dictionary picked locavore as its word of the year. A National Restaurant Association survey this year of more than 1,200 chefs, many of whom work for chain restaurants or large food companies, found locally grown produce to be the second-hottest American food trend, just behind bite-size desserts.

For a growing number of diners, a food’s provenance is more important than its brand name, said Michelle Barry, who studies American eating patterns for the Hartman Group, a research firm in Bellevue, Wash. As a result, grocery stores are looking to repackage products like milk and cheese to play up any local angle.

That will be a boon to people who find that shortcuts are necessary if they wish to eat locally. “If you live on East 80th 14 floors up and all you have is a potted plant, it’s tough,” said Lynne Rossetto Kasper, the host of the radio show “The Splendid Table,” who recruited 15 listeners for a study on the subject. Researchers will record their struggles to make 80 percent of their meals from organic or local sources. Spices are the only exemption.

Lazy locavores would never go to such extremes. Rather, they might simply sign up with the FruitGuys. The company, which has offices in San Francisco and Philadelphia, will deliver boxes of local, sustainably raised or organic fruit right to the cubicle.

In the mood for a meal that reeks of community but does not necessitate a communal activity? Three Stone Hearth in Berkeley, Calif., which describes itself as a community supported kitchen, offers its customers the opportunity to make friends while making food from local, sustainable farms, but the worker-owned company also offers online shopping for people who do not have the time to pick up orders or participate in educational activities.

Customers 20 miles away in the affluent community of Mill Valley, for example, can pay $15 to have jars filled with Andalusian stew, made with pasture-raised pork, delivered to their door. The jars, of course, are returnable.

“It’s a very savvy crowd that understands how all the pieces of sustainable farming and nutrition fit together,” said Larry Wisch, one of five worker-owners at Three Stone Hearth. “But they don’t want the headaches of getting here.”

Or you could just have your private chef handle all your local food needs. At their Hamptons summer house, John and Lorna Brett Howard want to eat almost exclusively local, which means that in place of one trip to the grocery store, their chef, Michael Welch, makes several trips to farm stands and the fishmonger.

“What I’m seeing with my clients is not the trendiness or the politics,” Mr. Welch said. “They are looking only at taste.”

Mrs. Howard said she ate local vegetables growing up in northern Michigan and Chicago. But her husband, a private equity fund manager, ate a lot of expensive imported food with little thought about where it came from. But all that has changed.

“It’s like the first time you start drinking good red wine and you realize what you were drinking was so bad you can’t go back to it,” Mrs. Howard said. “It’s that same way with vegetables.”

The author Barbara Kingsolver, whose book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” was a best seller last year, did not have the lazy locavore in mind when she wrote about the implications of making her family spend a year eating local. But she celebrates the trend.

“As a person of rural origin who has lived much of my life in rural places,” she said, “I can’t tell you how joyful it makes me to hear that it’s trendy for people in Manhattan to own a part of a cow.”

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Princeville Ranch Tour & BBQ

By Lee Roversi
Slow Food Kaua'i

When Slow Food speaks of the benefits of eating locally, the Princeville Ranch is precisely the type of business to which they are referring. And Kauai’s Slow Food members and their guests got a firsthand experience of that stellar sustainable operation on Saturday, June 21, 2008.

Our own Kauai cowgirl, Karin Carswell Guest, who grew up riding the ranch with her family, so graciously gave us an inside look at this living piece of Kauai’s heritage. Princeville Ranch was one of the first established cattle ranches in Hawaii, created during the reign of Kamehameha III. A.S. Wilcox, the Carswell's ancestor, purchased the ranch in 1895 and ran cattle on it. The Carswell family started Pooku Stables, a trail riding operation, in 1978. The rides lead across the Princeville Ranch lands, giving riders a glimpse of the grazing cattle. Then in 1994, the family also took over the cattle operation. They began proudly marketing Princeville Pride beef locally in 1996, utilizing no antibiotics or hormones. The cattle are a breed called Brangus, a mix of Angus and Brahma, a perfect match for the tropics. Completely grass-fed, with pastures being switched frequently, they live a bucolic life, a far cry from the factory farming which provides most beef in the world.

After a fun ride across the ranch in our three pick-ups, punctuated by Karin’s fascinating information about the cattle and ranch and culminating in a breathtaking view from Green Hill at the very top of the acreage, we then reconvened at the barbeque site on the bluff overlooking Kauai’s north shore with more vistas to stun your senses. There Don Carswell, the patriarch of the family and a master on the grill, prepared Princeville Pride Filet Mignon and New York cuts for our sunset dining. We enjoyed local corn from Kilauea. As well, North Country Farms provided the organic salad greens and Icing on the Cake delighted us once again with both dinner rolls and fantastic dessert. The sun dropped behind the pali as we all ran out of superlatives to adequately describe the sheer beauty of the ranch and the superb product they grow so consciously there.

Slow Food Kaua'i would also like to thank Papaya's Natural Food and Kauai Tent and Party Rental for their generous donations for this event.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Know Where Your Food Comes From

From Haleakala Times

This week’s Food and Drug Administration warning to avoid certain tomato varieties which may carry salmonella, is a reminder, as tomato season begins in many parts of the country, that eating from sources close to home that you know and trust is one way to avoid exposure to widespread foodborne illnesses.

“With the growing number of salmonella cases linked to huge farms and packing plants, now more than ever it is important to know who is growing your food and the conditions under which it’s grown,” says Gloria Cohen, Publisher and Editor in Chief of Edible Hawaiian Islands Magazine. Richard Ha of Hamakua Farms says, “Besides being grown by your local farmer, the vast majority of Hawaii grown tomatoes are Food Safety certified.”

The FDA has determined that homegrown tomatoes are safe to eat. Tracey Ryder, co-founder and president of Edible Communities, Inc., the network of publications dedicated to the local food movement across North America, says that, for many proponents of local eating, the next best thing to homegrown is locally grown on a small family farm. “If there is a problem with a locally grown crop, consumers can trace their food back to its source very quickly,” says Ryder. In the current case of salmonella in tomatoes, FDA officials have been trying to located the origin of the outbreak since May. “We’ve seen this exact situation before with industrially produced food,” says Ryder, “and we’re likely to see it again.”

Monday, June 09, 2008

A New Lexicon

By Tim Lang

A new lexicon is with us. Biofuels, biomass, agrofuels, bioenergy, biodiesel, bioalcohol … suddenly policy-makers are taking decisions and imposing change with the prefix ‘bio’ in front of many words. Essentially these all are part of one very old but now politically very hot discourse: energy. From the Middle East to China to Africa to the Americas and Europe, every government is rethinking its assumption of plentiful oil. The ‘bio’ revolution is about using land to grow energy rather than extracting from deep strata under the earth’s surface in the form of coal, oil or gas.

The so-called first generation of biofuels means mainstream food crops such as maize or wheat are converted to oil-equivalents, usually to put into cars. This mode currently dominates the biofuels market, supported by European and US governments. But it has been criticised for feeding affluent (and obese) westerners’ cars rather than needy mouths, and for driving up basic food commodity prices.

World prices for rice, wheat, soya and maize have rocketed since 2005 when biofuels became internationally significant. In response, technologists propose a second generation of biofuels using waste from food crops or special crops such as miscanthus. And now there is a third generation using algae and fermentation techniques as feedstocks to ‘grow’ energy, with proponents arguing this is the most efficient and most biodegradable form.

Superficially, biofuels seem a sensible thing. The world faces an energy crisis. Non-renewable fuels – coal, oil, gas – have finite limits. The earth + sun + water + human labour + technology can grow crops. So why not grow energy? It’s simple. Energy crisis solved!

The problem is that it’s not so simple. And biofuels do not resolve the energy gap caused by declining oil reserves at a time of rising demand. From a food perspective, the nightmare about biofuels is that they exacerbate existing, let alone future, food crises. China experienced 18% food inflation in 2007 and stopped its biofuels regime, instantly fearing social unrest. But warnings about biofuels not being a policy nirvana have not stopped governments using public policy and funds to nurture the biofuels market and industries.

How has this policy mess come about? The short answer is that, despite warnings about wholesale reliance on petroleum oil as the energy driver of consumerism, western-dominated economies have driven on regardless. Cars, consumer goods, food, housing, tourism …you name any economic sector and it is oil-dependent.

An ‘advanced’ food economy, such as Europe’s, has been calculated as being 95% oil-dependent. Most of the supposed advances in intensive agriculture have relied on fossil fuels. They enabled animals to be replaced by tractors; gave fertilisers; enabled massive transportation of foods; underwrote labour-shedding throughout the food chain— not least on the land.

The realisation of the dangers of the current wholesale reliance on oils has finally dawned on policy-makers in governments and big food business, suddenly conscious of climate change and the need to think carbon and greenhouse gases. The Stern Report on Climate Change calculated that agriculture alone is responsible for 14% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Of those emissions, fertilizers were responsible for 38%.

Livestock was the second greatest source of agriculture-related GHGs, accounting for 31%. A 2006 European Union life-cycle assessment of consumer impacts found the food and drink sector to be the most significant source of GHGs, accounting for 20-30% of the various environmental impacts of the most common forms of European consumption. The most significant sectors were meat and meat products, followed by the dairy sector.

With evidence like this, the pressure is on governments, big oil users and greenhouse gas emitters to plan their way out of the looming crisis. No wonder they have turned to biofuels with such alacrity. They seemed to offer the dream technical fix for the problem. The USA is estimated to be subsidizing its biodiesel industry by $92 billion in 2006-12. 20% of US maize crop now goes to biofuels, with estimates suggesting the figure will rise to 32% by 2016. The European Union agreed a Biofuels Directive in 2003 and in 2005 set a goal to derive 10% of transport fuel from biofuels by 2020. Throughout the world, governments have taken such action, though not all have the EU’s or USA’s deep pockets for promotion.

The problem with this sudden shift of policy is that it hasn’t and will not resolve the fundamental challenge for early-21st-century society: how to consume less, differently, more equitably and more sustainably.

Biofuels have not reduced oil prices. Oil hit $100 a barrel in 2007. The first rush to biofuels as substitute oil is now looking thin. If land goes to biofuels, that’s less land for food. The OECD calculated that the USA, Canada and European Union would need to switch between 30% and 70% of their current crop areas to provide just 10% of their transport fuel needs. Only Brazil’s use of sugarcane has decent efficiencies, and its land use is under scrutiny with regard to forests and climate change.

Any sober assessment of this issue concludes that there is no quick fix. The new policy challenge is how to address all of the new Big Eight Fundamentals: energy/oil; land use; climate change; water; labour; demographics/population; and public health (notably dietary change such as more meat and soft drinks and their consequences).

Two policy futures loom for biofuels. In the first, emphasis is on improving biofuels; hopes hang on second and third generations. Proponents argue that land use for energy can help fill the ga,. The second broad policy position suggests that the energy/biofuels crisis is further evidence that we need to design what a really sustainable food system would look like. It probably means constraint on excessive consumer choice (less for the West, more for the South). Land can be freed to feed more mouths by eating wisely, reducing waste and nurturing rather than mining soils.

One thing is clear. Biofuels are no more a solution to the energy challenge than is genetic modification the single answer to the need to increase food supply. We should be wary of anyone who promotes single solutions. A more complex, multi-factoral world is now upon us. But will policy-makers rise to the occasion? Lives and futures depend on whether they do or not.

Tim Lang is professor of Food Policy at the City University in London, he has written several books on the subject and is a consultant to the British government.

Illustration by Piero Lusso

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Slow Food Nation

Tickets are now on sale for Slow Food Nation, Slow Food USA's first national festival. Organizers have just launched the official website with preliminary schedules, information about special programs, and the ability to purchase tickets online.

Held in San Francisco this Labor Day weekend, Slow Food Nation will bring together tens of thousands of people to experience activities highlighting the connection between plate and planet.

At the peak of harvest season, and on the eve of the Presidential election, Slow Food Nation will bring together local citizens and visitors, farmers and food artisans, political leaders, environmental advocates and health-care experts, community educators and artists. Participants will savor food from across the United States at Taste, a 50,000 square foot pavilion; meet farmers and producers at a marketplace surrounding a 10,000 square foot newly-planted urban garden in the heart of the city; learn from visionary speakers; and engage in political discourse to shape a more sustainable food system. Slow Food Nation will also feature a music festival, workshops, films, dinners, hikes and journeys.

Highlights include:


When: Saturday, August 30, 11:00am until 3:00pm, 5:00pm until 9:00pm and Sunday, August 31, 11:00am until 3:00pm and 6:00pm until 9:00pm
Where: Fort Mason/Festival Pavilion
Cost: $45 – $65
Taste is Slow Food Nation’s grand celebration of good, clean and fair food from across the United States. In-depth taste workshops and hands-on experiences with quality, process and distinguishing flavor factors will connect visitors with the origins and true value of our food. Each of the 15 uniquely designed pavilions showcases a different food through on-site demonstrations and tastes. Featured foods include: Beer, Bread, Charcuterie, Cheese, Chocolate, Coffee, Fish, Honey & Preserves, Ice Cream, Native Foods, Olive Oil, Pickles & Chutney, Spirits, Tea and Wine. The Green Kitchen takes place here, where acclaimed chefs will demonstrate techniques for making simple, everyday dishes sustainable.
Food for Thought Speaker Series:

When: Friday, August 29, from 9:00am until 4:30pm and Saturday, August 30, from 11:30 am until 10:00pm
Where: Civic Center/Herbst Theater and Milton Marks Auditorium
Cost: $5 - $25
Featuring leading thinkers, community organizers, journalists and activists discussing current food issues, from policy and planning to education and climate change. Among the speakers will be Wendell Berry, Marion Nestle, Carlo Petrini, Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Vandana Shiva, and Alice Waters.

When: From Friday, August 29 through Sunday, August 31, 9:00am until 4:00pm
Where: Civic Center Plaza
Cost: Free
The Market showcases 60 California farmers and artisans growing and producing good, clean and fair food. Visitors can purchase directly from the producer and learn the significance of regionality, diversity and artisanality in the Bay Area’s food system. Next to the Market, “Slow on the Go” demonstrates how “fast” slow food can be. Visitors can purchase affordable street food from San Francisco’s diverse ethnic community, prepared with fully sustainable, source-verified ingredients.
Slow Food Nation Victory Garden:

When:Friday, August 29 – Sunday, August 31; 9 am – 4 pm
Where: Civic Center Plaza
Cost: Free
In collaboration with Victory Gardens 2008+, Slow Food Nation will herald the era of self-sufficiency through the creation of an ornamental edible garden in the heart of San Francisco’s Civic Center. Planted on the same site as 60 years ago during World War II, the Slow Food Nation Victory Garden demonstrates the potential of a truly local agriculture practice and brings together and promotes Bay Area urban gardening organizations, while producing high quality food for those in need. The Slow Food Nation Victory Garden will be introduced to the public on Saturday, July 12 in a ceremony with Mayor Gavin Newsom and Slow Food Nation Founder Alice Waters.
Slow Food Rocks:

When: Saturday, August 30, from 11:00am until 7:00pm, and Sunday, August 31, from 11:00am until 5:30pm
Where: Fort Mason/Great Meadow
Cost: For tickets visit: www.slowfoodrocks.com; Tickets on sale June 10
Featuring: Gnarls Barkley; G Love & Special Sauce; the John Butler Trio; Medeski Martin & Wood; New Pornographers and Ozomatli. Additional major headliners to be announced soon.
A two-day outdoor music festival featuring the biggest names in rock, folk, hip-hop, soul, jazz and world music. Produced by the Festival Network, this is one of only three public events permitted on the Great Meadow the entire year.

Petition Launch for a New Vision for Agriculture and Food Policy for the 21st Century:

When: Thursday, August 28, from 4:00pm-5:00pm
Where: Civic Center/Slow Food Nation Victory Garden
Cost: Free
Hosted in conjunction with Roots of Change (ROC), Slow Food Nation will introduce a Vision Statement for Agricultural and Food Policy for the 21st Century drafted by notable activists, practitioners, producers and eaters across the country. The Vision Statement will be a call to action to frame future food and agricultural policies, including the next Farm Bill, to benefit all Americans.
We'll share more information as it becomes available, and hope to see many of you in San Francisco this Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Going once, going twice...SOLD! Slow Food USA's 4th Annual Online Auction

It’s that time of year again. Members and community partners have been busy collecting donations for this month’s online auction, to be held June 16th-26th on eBay. This year we are thinking big, and have collected some really great items for you to bid on from as little as $25 up to $2,500. Bid on unique items such as a wood-fired oven from LA Oven Works, a pair of VIP tickets to any of this summer’s Jack Johnson concert tour dates, a two-night stay in Tuscany, autographed books, artisan food products, artwork, and meals at a number of “Slow-minded” restaurants and cocktail lounges.

Please visit our auction website to view a list of past donors and a hint of what’s to come in a few weeks.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Tasting is believing

by Jay Walljasper
Ode Magazine
May 2008

"Esoteric practises, like burying manure inside cows’ horns, has put many people off biodynamic agriculture. Now the sensational flavour—and ecological benefits—of biodynamic produce is winning them over."

The rest of Jay Walljasper's article can be read here, learn why farmers and vintners around the world are turning to the practices of Rudolf Steiner.

Raising and Keeping Chickens for Eggs and Meat - a Slow Food Kaua'i Workshop

Sunday, the 29th of June
4:00pm-6:00pm at North Country Farms in Kilauea

Raising and Keeping Chickens for Eggs and Meat
Overview of a Small-Scale Operation

Led by Renaissance Man, Sky Roversi-Deal of North Country Farms

Please R.S.V.P. by the 22nd of June to icingonthecake.kauai@gmail.com, space is limited

$15 at the door ($12 for Slow Food members), light meal included

Chickens are one of the easiest, most economical, and most rewarding livestock to keep. Even a handful of hens can provide a family with enough fresh eggs for their personal use, and turn out a constant supply of organic fertilizer for the garden. A flock of 20 to 30 hens will supply well over a dozen eggs a day, and with the addition of a few roosters or broilers, your very own homegrown, healthy meat. Keeping a flock of chickens is a great introduction for children (or adults) to the agrarian ethos of sustainability and self-sufficiency, makes an aesthetic, pastoral addition to any back yard, and fully exemplifies the living, farm to fork spirit of Slow Food's philosophy.

Almost anyone can have their own flock of chickens. And thus, the aim of Sky's workshop is to take some of the mystery out of chicken raising for the novice, and provide some information and tips to help get you started.

Sky grew up on North Country Farms, where for many years it was his job to look after a flock of two dozen layers, including feeding, coop cleaning, and other chores. As a teenager he even once tried to hatch chicks of his own using a small incubator, with some success. Recently, he has learned about keeping birds for meat as well as eggs, and is currently raising a mixed breed, dual purpose flock of 12 hens and roosters, while also keeping a flock of 18 layers.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Experience and share Hawaii’s culture, traditions, and history from a food focused perspective.

ShareYourTable.com is a web based media project with multiplatform partnerships with The Honolulu Advertiser and Oceanic Time Warner Cable.

Help spread the word. If you like the site please share with your friends and family. Our goal is to create Hawaii's first interactive online hui of food stories, local traditions, and recipes.

This Month on SYT
Roy and Nobu – find out where they eat after work
For the love of Mom – three businesses who owe their start to mom
Wanda Adams shares why Portuguese bean soup is only found in Hawaii (video)
Chuck Furuya interviews winemaking superstar Greg Brewer (podcast)
Hawaii Film Producer Chris Lee shares his best Hawaii dinner and a movie combos
Brooks Takenaka blogs from the Honolulu Fish Auction
Joan Namkoong teaches us the basic technique for making dashi (video)
D.K. Kodama – gives us the inside scoop on Kakaako’s hidden treasures

Coming Next Month
Explore Upcountry Maui with chef Bev Gannon (video)
Micro documentary “Why Eat Local”(video)
Dean Okimoto – shares a favorite family recipe

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Slow Food Workshops

Our Basic Pie Dough workshop was a huge success, almost everyone who attended left with a beautiful pie or tart (or both) that they had made themselves. A very edifying and delicious experience for all.
I am excited to announce the next workshop in this series;

Sunday, the 29th of June
4:00pm-6:00pm at North Country Farms in Kilauea

Raising and Keeping Chickens for Eggs and Meat
Overview of a Small-Scale Operation

Led by Renaissance Man, Sky Roversi-Deal of North Country Farms

Please R.S.V.P. by the 22nd of June to icingonthecake.kauai@gmail.com, space is limited

$15 at the door ($12 for Slow Food members), light meal included

Monday, May 12, 2008

Princeville Ranch Tour & BBQ

On the 21st of June, the members and guests of Slow Food Kaua'i will be given the wonderful opportunity of touring Princeville Ranch, home of Princeville Pride, Kaua'i's natural grass-fed beef. Ranchers Donn Carswell and daughter, Karin Carswell Guest will be leading the tour and will give us a rare look at the inside workings of this vast piece of living Kaua'i heritage. A barbeque will follow at the picnic gazebo out on the spectacular bluff over-looking Anini Beach, where Princeville Pride Filet Mignon and New York cuts will be grilled for our sunset enjoyment.

Princeville Ranch was one of the first established cattle ranches in Hawai'i, created during the reign of Kamehameha III. A.S. Wilcox, the Carswell’s ancestor, purchased the ranch in 1895 and ran cattle on it. The Carswell family started Pooku Stables, a trail riding operation, in 1978. The rides led across the Princeville Ranch lands, giving riders a glimpse of the grazing cattle. Then in 1994, the family also took over the cattle operation. They began proudly marketing Princeville Pride beef locally in 1996, utilizing no antibiotics or hormones. Their ranch continues to be a stellar example of sustainability.

Come and join us for this unique opportunity to see a truly local endeavor of the highest quality and to taste some delicious clean beef. For more information or reservations contact: icingonthecake.kauai@gmail.com.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Slow Food Workshops

In the spirit of Slow Food and Alice Waters’ latest book, ‘The Art Of Simple Food’, our convivium is launching a series of informal, convivial workshops. These workshops will teach traditional food and gardening skills that were once passed from generation to generation.
The workshops will take place roughly every four to six weeks, with the first one right around the corner.

Monday, the 19th of May
6:30pm-8:00pm at Icing on the Cake in Kapa’a

Basic Pie Dough; How to prepare a basic pie dough for either savory or sweet pies

Led by Andrea Quinn, Slow Food Kaua’i founding member and pastry chef/owner of Icing on the Cake

Please R.S.V.P. by the 16th of May to icingonthecake.kauai@gmail.com

$12 at the door ($10 for Slow Food members), and you get to eat some pie!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

SFK Coffee Purchasing Group

After our "Coffee Talk" event with Anni Caporuscio from Small Town Coffee, several members of Slow Food Kaua'i were inspired to start a coffee purchasing group; not so much to save on the cost of the beans, but the high cost of expedited shipping needed to insure the freshest beans possible. Our first delivery from Intelligentsia in Chicago arrived three days after the beans were roasted!
The group plans on making an order from one of our countrys' many roasters about twice a month, assuring fresh beans at home.
If you are interested in ordering beans with the group, please contact Patrick at icingonthecake.kauai@gmail.com

Carlo Petrini and the cost of underwear

YouTube May 7th, 2007

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Eating Organic?

Two recent studies have caught my attention; the first from ‘Food News from Environmental Working Group’, is a sobering look at pesticides found in randomly selected conventional fruits and vegetables, information I knew in theory, but the specifics are truly depressing.
The second study from ‘Good Magazine’ looks at the source of most of the organic foods on our store’s shelves. Again, a little depressing.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Coffee Talk

By Lee Roversi
Slow Food Kaua'i

Sunday afternoon—perfect time for sipping coffee with friends. Slow Food Kaua'i members and some great guests got to do just that on Sunday April 6th.
Anni Caporuscio, owner and manager of Small Town Coffee in Kapa’a and award- winning barista as well, hosted us there and filled our minds and senses with coffee.
Anni started by captivating us with this fun tale of Kaldi and the Dancing Goats. . .

Long ago, in what is now called Ethiopia, a young goatherd named Kaldi awoke one morning to discover his goats missing. As one cannot be a goatherd without goats, Kaldi determinedly set off to search the hillsides for his wayward flock.

Beneath the hot sun an exhausted Kaldi looked high and low when, much to his surprise, he stumbled upon his goats frolicking about each other, dancing. Shocked and tired, the young goatherd gazed in awe at the capricious dance.

Slowly, Kaldi returned from his wonderment and noticed some of the goats eating the red fruit of a nearby shrub. Having searched all day Kaldi was tired, but he was famished as well. Without thought he began walking toward the fruit. Yet, what if this fruit was the cause of his heretofore halcyon goats' boisterous behavior? Kaldi paused. Then again, he pondered, what if the goats only appear to be dancing because of his extraordinary hunger? Throwing caution to the wind, Kaldi joined the goats' feast.

Sometime later an imam from a local monastery passed nearby the same hill. Hearing a great and raucous clamor the imam investigated. "I am over tired and have fallen asleep at prayer again, for surely I must be dreaming!" thought the imam, for before him danced a local goatherd and his goats. The imam rubbed his eyes, but the merry dancers remained. The imam pinched himself, yet still the boy and his goats spun, jumped, and whirled. Aghast, the imam pulled Kaldi away and demanded an explanation for such bizarre behavior. After many questions the imam deduced that this energetic glee must have at its root the red fruit growing about them. Seeking greater understanding, he gathered some for further testing at his monastery. It was there he at last sampled the cherry himself and became infused with a great joie de vivre. That night, the imam spent more hours at prayer than ever before. "This is no ordinary fruit!" exclaimed the imam. Realizing the spiritual value of such a gift he shared it so that all may remain energetic and pray with greater fervor.

So, legend has it, coffee became a treasured drink around the world. From places as far-flung as Ethiopia, Indonesia and Central and South America comes this beautiful berry that is second only to oil as the highest traded commodity in the world.

Anni is a connoisseur of coffee and a self-proclaimed coffee snob. Her coffee talk touched on many aspects of her obvious passion.

We were reminded that the finest coffees are shade-grown and the most conscious growers are doing so organically. The organization TransFair USA is seeing that those coffees certified by them as Fair Traded are paying the growers and workers appropriately. In the process, they are securing a livable wage for the farmers and their workers; treating those people and the planet with respect.

The enemies of coffee, we learned, are time, light, smell, moisture and temperature. Anni will not prepare any coffee beans more than two weeks from their roasting, believing that the quality of the beans is compromised after that. The beans are stored in opaque, airtight bags out of the light, without any other competing odors.

Some myths were debunked as well. The oft-held ideas that coffee is dehydrating, bad for pregnant women, over-stimulating and generally bad for your health were discussed and put into perspective. Taken in moderation, coffee actually has a useful invigorating effect and over 1,000mg of anti-oxidants in each cup.

Just what we wanted to hear as we got to sample some of the engaging, exotic coffees sold and served at Small Town. Blends from Ethiopia, Rwanda, Panama, Indonesia and Mexico were tasted and compared. The opinions were, predictably, varied, as are people’s palates. But, everyone there agreed that we were solidly impressed with the coffee we tasted that was cold-brewed. This process is lower in acid and produces a product almost like an extract. It was rich and full and simply delicious.

For hot coffee, we got to appraise the different roasts by the French Press method, Anni’s preferred method for home coffee brewing. It was during this part of our tasting, that Andrea Quinn from Kaua'i’s own Icing on the Cake patisserie offered some of her delectable cookies—coconut macaroons, Mexican wedding cookies and jasmine green tea cookies were the perfect compliment to our coffee.

And, for the finale, we moved behind the counter to watch in awe Anni’s skills on the espresso machine and try our neophyte hands at being baristas and making the espresso. The results, impressive by only one among us, did not even come close to our hostess’ talents honed over many years at her art.

Our sincere thanks to Anni Caporuscio for taking the time to be with us and further our understanding of coffee from farm to cup.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Edible Communities Local Hero Award

From 'The Food Chain'
the e-newsletter of Slow Food USA - March 2008

We love the excitement of awards season. The Oscars, the Emmys, and the Local Hero Awards —Edible Communities' annual award celebrating people who make significant contributions to the local food movement. The Local Heroes were announced as part of the annual Edible Communities "EDDY" awards for excellence in their regional publications, and this year several friends of Slow Food USA were honored for their commitment and vision in their communities.

Slow Food Northern New Jersey was picked as Edible Jersey's Non-Profit Organization (and The Aurora Foundation run by Bruce and Cyndee Fehring of Slow Food Kaua'i was chosen as Edible Hawaiian Island's Non-Profit Organization)! Local Heroes include Convivium Leaders Matt Jennings of Slow Food Rhode Island, Andrea Quinn of Slow Food Kauai; Terra Madre delegates Boggy Creek Farm in Austin, Texas and Full Belly Farm in East Bay, California; and RAFT Picnic chef Jesse Griffiths in Austin, Texas. Congratulations to everyone nationwide for being a local hero!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Coffee Talk

Anni Caporuscio, owner, manager and award winning barista of Kapa'as' Small Town Coffee will host an afternoon of "Coffee Talk"
Sunday the 6th of April 2008 at 2pm

Linocut by Kilauea artist Andrew Gorton.