jeremy, lucy and i spent last saturday at the slow food nation celebration in san francisco. while there were many ticketed events at fort mason (such as food tastings and an all-day concert), we spent our time at the free marketplace & victory garden, both of which were located near city hall. in short, we had a lot of fun. slow food's website says that over 60,000 people attended over 4 days (and i swear each of them was in line with me as i tried to sample cheeses).
what is slow food nation, exactly? part of a larger non-profit organization, slow food nation was created to "organize the first-ever american collaborative gathering to unite the growing sustainable food movement, and introduce thousands of people to food that is good, clean and fair." which is a fancy way of saying that slow food nation hopes to teach everyday folks about where their food actually comes from--farm to plate.--and to appreciate the work that goes into creating healthy and delicious food. slow food is not convenience food--100 calorie packs, t.v. dinners, or individually-wrapped packages of mini carrots complete with a tiny tub of ranch dressing.
how often do we walk through the supermarket, under the harsh glare of super-fluorescent lighting, mindlessly grabbing at boxes and bags without considering it? where does our produce come from? where is our meat raised? how many of our favorite foods are processed from whole ingredients into a finished product that is hardly recognizable from it's simple beginnings? who grows our food? who (or what) picks & packs it? who drives it to the store & unloads it in the early morning hours? how on earth does it all happen that our homes get filled with food?
the slow food movement is about adjusting our lives as consumers to be able to answer as many of those questions as we can. to be able to track our food from farm to plate. to shake hands with farmers as we purchase our groceries. to support people who care for the planet while they're hard at work raising our food. (this event was perfectly timed for whole-food septemeber). i'm excited by all of these ideas, personally. and living in california, i've got a lot of good opportunities to make it work... massive amounts of diverse produce raised around the state. farmer's markets nearly every day of the week. a handful of grocery stores within driving distance that carry some locally grown fruits & veggies. and even a few sources for locally raised meats & dairy.
slow food part 2 to come tomorrow. less soapbox, more summary of what we actually did at the event... and complete with pictures of lucy at the victory garden. she saw lots and lots of wonderful things!