slow food nation, part two...

after spending over an hour before finding out that we were at the wrong place (fort mason, where the slow food rocks concert was being held--tickets were $70) jeremy, lucy and i found ourselves at the civic center in san francisco. a large marketplace was held at this location, where vendors sold everything from fresh olive oil and stoneground bread to goat cheese and yogurt, along with a wealth of california-grown produce. it was crowded. as my dad always says, "i felt like i was in new york city." at rush hour. on the subway. most of the vendors were offering free tastings, but the crowded booths were a bit too much for me with lucy sunggled right across my chest in her wrap. we walked through the marketplace pretty quickly. jeremy bought a miniature sweet potato & peach pie for breakfast, which he promptly dropped into the dirt while juggling with the camera. bummer! i had a bite--it was super yummy.

at the center of things was the victory garden, a beautiful display of all sorts of vegetable plants and flowers growing right smack in the middle of the city. not something you see everyday, that's for sure. at the head of the garden was a stage where speakers, performers and demonstrators dished info on all things sustainable as related to agriculture--i even overheard one speaker touting the benefits of human urine as garden fertilizer! we took lots of time just passing through, and took lucy out of the wrap so that she could get to see everything up close.

what i loved most about the victory garden was the actual way they went about planting a garden on concrete: big tubes crafted from burlap and stuffed with dirt, and formed into a circle, with plants and a dirt/compost blend in the middle of the circle. it was cute, eco-friendly, and totally functional. i'd like to do something similar in my own garden next year, since our dirt seems to be pretty poor. the picture below is not the greatest, but it does kind of show how the garden beds were created (lucy is sitting on one).

there was also a compost station. leave it to me to get excited about dirt, but this was a great way for people to see and learn about the process of composting. gloves were out for the daring--event-goers were urged to "dig in" to the soil and feel the heat that helps to speed decomposition. there was also a vermicomposting (worm composting) station. i poked a bit at the wiggly worms, curious as to just how many it takes to break down scraps (a LOT!). i have to say, though, that slow food compost looks much nicer than my compost at home. i guess the experts know exactly what they're doing!

along with having offering only compostable plates and utensils, plastic water bottles were not sold at the event. people were encouraged to "take back the tap" by bringing their own reusable water bottle. there were canteens for sale for those that didn't have a bottle. the "fill station" provided good, old-fashioned san fransico tap water for free. we hit up a few of the gourmet "slow food on-the-go" vendors for an early lunch (ham & biscuts with sweet jam, and an amazing sausage sandwitch with grilled peppers & onions) before heading back to the car.

in short, a really lovely and educational event. it's a good sign that it was crowded, don't you think?


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