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    Looking for a more tangible connection to her food, Lizzy spent a summer Wwoofing in Sonoma County, CA and found a food system based on quality and community.

    Written by Slow Food USA Intern Lizzy Ott

    In this age of take out containers and fast food chains, the gap between food and consumer has become wider than ever. With hopes of establishing a more tangible connection to my food, I decided that I wanted to volunteer on an organic farm. But how? And where? I typed “volunteer on an organic farm” into Google and found my answer—World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (Wwoof for short). Wwoof serves as a platform for connecting organic farmers with volunteers just like me. For $30 members are given access to farms throughout the entire world, ranging from the far reaches of Asia to your next-door neighbor. With over 1,300 farms in the US alone, the possibilities seemed endless and I found the long farm lists insanely daunting. How to narrow down the choices?


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    Real Time Farms Food Warrior, Lauren, explores biodynamic farming in her community.

    Written by Lauren Telfer, Real Time Farms Food Warrior

    On my weekly trips to the grocery store I transform into an avid food inspector for a short period of time: I look for different certifications, growing practices, and any other pertinent information about my food. I am on a constant quest for food that is not only nourishing for my body but also for the earth. Until recently, I thought that organic farming practices was the be-all and end-all answer to this quest; on a recent enlightening (and very rainy) trip to the Ecology Center’s Farmers’ Market in downtown Berkeley, I was informed that this is not the case.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn about biodynamic farming – a practice that actually surpasses organic farming in sustainability and environmental awareness.

    I was first introduced to biodynamic farming at this farmers market through a vendor from Flying Disc Ranch, a date and citrus farm located in Thermal, California.  I inquired about their practices and was surprised when the usual response of “certified organic” didn’t come, instead his reply was, “We are a biodynamic farm.” Biodynamic? This sounded intriguing and innovative, I was immediately captivated and rightfully so.


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    Peggy Markel reflects on her years of connecting food, culture, people and travel with the principles of Slow Food. 

    Written by Peggy Markel, founder of the Slow Food Boulder Chapter, owner and operator of Peggy Markel’s Culinary Adventures

    I first encountered Slow Food in the small Village of Scansano, in southern Tuscany, on a crisp spring day in 1993 with the countryside painted pink in olive tree blossoms. My friend Janet Hansen, an American who had lived in Italy for 30 years, had just finished surveying her olive trees and harvesting a few artichokes for lunch when I pulled up. I knew my way around Tuscany well at this point, perfecting my Italian enough to ask questions and understand the answers. I’d witnessed my own culinary travel program in the hills outside of Florence flourish that year. I’d met farmers who made fresh pecorino (100% sheeps milk cheese) with an old stirring stick, forming it into straw basket molds. I’d seen firsthand the curious relationship between farmer and animal, and the affection with which a small enough farm treats the flock. Tillo could just call his sheep back to the barn in the evenings, no dog necessary. To fatten the pigs with something hearty, Signor Valentini fed them chestnuts.

    Italy remains a place of preserved traditions, especially with Carlo Petrini and his friends bringing attention to the importance of protecting these old ways. In the last twenty years, I have noticed the terrible beauty of transition from the traditional to the contemporary. Cars now fill ancient piazzas with exhaust and noise. Urban sprawl has forced farmland to become scarce. We make room for commerce, shipping food from large agro farms and forfeiting the possibility of growing our own. We work too hard, eat on the run and complain to our doctors that we don’t feel well. Families break down. There is also this painful truth.


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    Thanks, in part to the efforts of Slow Food Western Slope, 22 parcels of land that was up for oil and gas sale in the North Fork Valley region has now been deferred.

    Back in March, we told you about the efforts of the Slow Food Western Slope & Rocky Mountain region chapters to defend the North Fork Valley, an agricultural gem that embodies Slow Food’s principles of envisioning a world in which all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the planet, and good for those who produce it. The Valley, they said, was “under attack” due to an announcement that 22 parcels of land (over 30,000 acres) would be up for oil and gas sales. They went on to explain how this would directly affect over 70 winemakers, farmers, orchardists, ranchers and agricultural businesses in North Fork Valley who depend on good and clean water, air and soil for their businesses.

    We are happy to report that the agency overseeing the sale, the Bureau of Land Management, thanks, in part, to the of comments submitted by Slow Food members across the Rocky Mountain region, has decided to defer all sales in the region. This is a major win for Slow Food Western Slope and the region at large, but this story is certainly not over. To learn more, see the BLM Press release below:


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    For the first time, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will have a guest speaker address its members—Slow Food International President Carlo Petrini.

    Slow Food President Carlo Petrini will address the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) today, during the half-day session on the right to food and food sovereignty. His invitation to join the New York meeting at the UN headquarters, as a valued “friend and supporter of Indigenous Peoples”, marks the first time in the ten-year history of the Forum that an external guest has been invited to take the floor.

    Petrini will be joined in the discussion by UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, and representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organization and Indigenous and governmental groups. Previously the Forum was only open to Indigenous, governmental or UN representatives.


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    Slow Food USA proudly announces the election of Katherine Deumling to the position of chair of our Board of Directors.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Emily Walsh / Slow Food USA / 718-260-8000 x154 / emilyw@slowfoodusa.org
    Contact: Katherine Deumling / Cook With What You Have / 503-715-7697/ katherine@cookwithwhatyouhave.com

    BROOKLYN, NY (May 16, 2012) – Slow Food USA, a national non-profit dedicated to creating a world where the food we eat is good for us, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet, has elected Katherine Deumling as chair of its Board of Directors.  Deumling previously served as vice chair of the Board and is currently chair of the Finance Committee.  She is also a former northwest regional governor of Slow Food USA and prior to that, was a chair of Slow Food Portland.  Deumling succeeds Chris Carpenter, who served as Board chair since 2008 after being a long-time leader of Slow Food in northern California.

    As board chair Deumling will help guide the strategic direction of the organization, including creating visibility for Slow Food’s network of volunteer-led chapters across the country.  She will remain an active member in Slow Food Portland, where she brings her expertise and passion for bringing urban and rural communities together for the sustainability of both to support local farmers, and engages in policy work around land use in the metro area, which is home to a rich, diversified farm community as well as a thriving urban center with ongoing development pressures.


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    Want to impact the food system? You can! The House Agriculture Committee is accepting comments until May 20th. Learn more…

    If you could radically change the food we grow and eat in this country, would you? Would you ensure all children, elders, and adults had enough nutritious food to eat? Would you make it easier for young people, women, and folks of color to start their own small farms? Would you stop funding the devastating mess created by factory farming?

    Well, you can.


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    The Slow Food USA community recently spent some quality time in Louisville, KY, a food-savvy city with many organizations, businesses, and advocates to highlight. Today we high light one such organization—Louisville Farm to Table.

    Written by Sarah Fritschner, Coordinator of Louisville Farm to Table

    When Slow Food USA chose Louisville as its 2012 National Congress location, ears perked and anxiety rose. We in Louisville consider ourselves a food-savvy city, with a high proportion of independently-owned restaurants, a culinary school, a variety food-oriented non-profits including Slow Food, and our own municipal Food Policy Advisor. We wanted everyone from Slow Food across the country to know our commitment to local, good and accessible food.

    Time constraints make it impossible to know everything, of course, but I wanted to expand a bit on Slow Food member, Kim Bayer’s recent comments on AnnArbor.com about Louisville’s approach to food strategy.

    Bayer mentioned the report that summarized Louisville’s $3 billion food market. One program that has come from that report is Louisville Farm to Table, which works to bring Kentucky food into the lucrative city marketplace while it works to raise the capacity of Kentucky farmers.


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    Founder and President of the International Slow Food Movement, Carlo Petrini, paid the Slow Food USA office a visit and took time to answer your questions from Facebook.

    Recently, upon learning that Slow Food International President Carlo Petrini would be coming by the Slow Food USA office, we asked our Facebook community what they would ask Carlo if they had the chance. As usual, you responded with some real gems and we put Carlo on the hot seat with a few of our favorites. We have transcribed his answers below, but if you would like to hear more from Mr. Petrini, check out the speech he gave to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (the main reason he was with us in New York City). It was the first time the Forum had invited an outside speaker to address the floor, quite an honor for everyone involved in the Slow Food Movement. But back to your questions and Carlo’s answers. We’ve listed a few below, but we still want to hear from you, let us know what you think in the comment’s section below.


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    How Slow Food grew from a sparsely attended student group to the center of all things food-related on the University of Rhode Island campus.

    Written by Deirdra Stockmann, formerly of Slow Food Huron Valley (MI)


    Slow Food URI Farmers Market

    What does it take to grow a small Slow Food on Campus chapter into the go-to organization for all things local food-related at the university? In the case of Slow Food University of Rhode Island, it takes dedicated, energetic student leaders who make the most of partnership opportunities, and who know the way to college students’ hearts: really good street food.

    Alyssa Neill is passionate about food. As a teenager, she kept a garden and chickens in her backyard and worked at a health food store in her hometown. A rising college junior and nutrition and dietetics major, Neill hopes to put food at the center of her career. “I believe that food is medicine,” she said in a recent interview squeezed in between final exams and term papers. Through her work, she wants to help others celebrate the pleasure and healing powers of good food.

    When Neill enrolled at the University of Rhode Island (URI) in 2010, she was thrilled to learn that the campus had a Slow Food chapter. She was familiar with Slow Food’s mission and eager to join the movement. But upon arriving at a Slow Food URI meeting, she was disappointed to find it a small organization with low visibility on campus. The few events they planned each semester were sparsely attended.

    Neill continued to attend the meetings. Soon, she was planning them. Today, she is the president of the chapter. Over the last two years, Neill and a growing group of Slow Food URI leaders have worked to raise awareness and enthusiasm for local and sustainable food across campus. “This year has been really exciting as people start to recognize who Slow Food is, we’ve gotten a good response from the whole campus community. People email and ask about how they can get involved.” This spring, the faculty coordinators of a high profile honors colloquium on campus approached Slow Food URI about partnering on a weekly series of events in the coming fall.

    How did this transformation come about in a couple of years? The student group started a garden on campus where they host occasional grilled pizza parties and they organize a food and sustainability film series. These events attract a few dozen participants each. But one event in the fall of 2011 catapulted Slow Food URI to a new level of campus visibility.

    The big break came with the opportunity, and the responsibility, to organize a one-day local food fair as part of a “sustainability module” based on the book No Impact Man. The book, written by Colin Beavan, was selected as the “common reading” assignment for first year students. In conjunction with the book, an interdisciplinary committee of students, faculty and staff planned seven weeks of films, lectures, tours and fairs for students to further explore many dimensions of environmentally sustainable living. (The schedule of URI sustainability events is here.)

    Slow Food URI

    Slow Food URI organized the local food fair during Local Food and Agriculture Awareness week. Neill sent out dozens of emails and visited area farmers markets to recruit vendors to the local food fair. It took a lot of time and a lot of patience. Only a handful of vendors were willing to take the risk and time to do a one-day, first time event. Tallulah’s “farm to taco” mobile cart and Bravo Wood Fired Pizza anchored the food fair. Both vendors feature vegetables, meat and dairy from Rhode Island farmers and artisans. Their enthusiasm, willingness to work with students, and delicious food made the event a hit.

    Word traveled fast around campus about the delicious tacos and baked-on-site pizza available on the Quad. In a few hours, the vendors sold out. “We saw food do exactly what it is supposed to do, create community and awareness,” Neill said, noting that the enthusiastic response of the students was her favorite part of the event. Bringing local food to campus in well-prepared, ready-to-eat form was just the way to lure students, many of whom don’t have cooking facilities or refrigerators in their dorm rooms.

    The fair was such a success, that the Slow Food URI leaders were encouraged to establish a more regular local food market on campus. This past spring, they organized several events featuring the popular taco, pizza and coffee vendors, as well as a few farmers selling fresh microgreens and mushrooms. The produce offerings attracted more staff and faculty to the market. One professor requested that the event become weekly so he could do most of his produce shopping there. Through the market, Neill said, “we’re introducing students to the local food movement, whereas with the staff, we’re encouraging a behavior that they already do or would like to do.” The market has begun to attract the off-campus community as well. One day, a local elementary school made a field trip out of it; 100 kids enjoyed their picnic lunches on the URI Quad while college students lined up for tacos and pizza.

    Many more farmers will sell a wider variety of fresh produce at Slow Food URI markets this fall. The group will coordinate the markets with the honors colloquium, a weekly public lecture series. This year’s colloquium theme is Health Care Change? Health, Politics and Money. “We wanted the Farmer’s Markets to be held on the same day as the Colloquium to extend the themes into the entire day.  We are hoping that some of the vendors from the Market will supply us with healthy refreshments for the evening instead of the usual cookies,” nursing professor Mary Cloud said.

    The partnership with the colloquium will help address one of the main challenges Slow Food URI faced this year: publicity. Organizing farmers markets is a lot of work, especially on top of full-time student responsibilities, and the small organization found it difficult to get the word out about the markets on campus let alone in the surrounding residential community. In exchange for the Slow Food chapter organizing markets on lecture nights, the honors colloquium will include the markets in their broad public promotion.

    Working with the Slow Food URI farmers market has helped Alyssa Neill think about life after college:

    “I have always been interested in nutrition, but I guess my idea of what nutrition is has definitely morphed as far as the time I have put into the markets and watching people eat and watching people react to different kinds of foods. … Watching people come together around local food has inspired me to want to study a holistic diet and food cultures.”

    As a Slow Food USA chapter, Slow Food University of Rhode Island provides opportunities for neighbors and citizens to build community through enjoyment of and dialogue about our food system and culture. As a Slow Food on Campus chapter, the URI group goes beyond, it creates transformative opportunities for young leaders to shape their future, and ours.


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    Slow Food USA officially endorses the Nourish 9 Billion campaign and encourages you to sign on as well

    Written by Tim Smith, Slow Food USA’s Associate Manager of New Media

    Business as usual is not an option.” This is the main assertion of The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report released by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Education and Science Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environmental Organization (UNEP), the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and the World Bank.

    “Business” in this case is industrial farming and the current global food system. This blunt claim came as a result of a 4 year assessment involving 400 scientists around the world who came to the conclusion that nations must embrace agroecologoy (the science of sustainable agriculture) in order to survive in an ever growing-every changing world. Since the report was relased, 59 countries have endorsed the report (the U.S. has not), but none have been able to follow through on their promises to improve their countries sustainable farming practices.


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    Official statement from Slow Food USA.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Emily Walsh / Slow Food USA / 718-260-8000 x154 / emilyw@slowfoodusa.org

    Slow Food USA Announces Leadership Changes

    BROOKLYN, NY (May 31, 2012) – The Board of Directors for Slow Food USA, a national non-profit dedicated to creating a world where the food we eat is good for us, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet, today announced the departure of Josh Viertel as President.  The organization’s transition in leadership is accompanied by the welcoming of three new Board members, including Matt Jones, John Stewart III and Bob Shaver.

    In 2008, Viertel was hired to help Slow Food USA become a serious force for social change.  In that time, he furthered Slow Food USA’s effort to become an organization committed, not only to the pleasure of a simple shared meal and to food traditions, but to changing the world for the better, for everyone.  The Board of Directors and Viertel have agreed that now is a good time to bring in a new President, with a focus on implementing and scaling programs to improve food and farming in the U.S.  The Board has begun an executive search process.

    “Josh has played a vital role these last few years in building a talented team and in raising awareness of critical issues surrounding food and farming,” said newly elected Board Chair Katherine Deumling.  “We’re excited to welcome Matt, John and Bob to the Board, and to chart the path ahead for the next phase in our fight for good, clean and fair food.”

    “It’s been an honor to serve the Slow Food USA community over these past three years, and I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished together.  It’s a perfect time for new leadership,” said Josh Viertel.  “I’ll always be grateful to the colleagues, friends and allies whom I’ve worked with and I’m particularly grateful to the Slow Food members and volunteer leaders who are working everyday to make Slow Food’s vision a reality.  I’ll keep on working with them towards that same vision, just now in a new role: as a member of an organization I love.”

    Slow Food USA’s three new Board members were strategically recruited for their expertise in the areas of management and development.  Matt Jones, a long-time Slow Food regional governor, chapter leader and co-founder of Slow Food Denver, has joined the Board’s finance committee; he will also be a key liaison to the volunteer leadership network.  John Stewart III, who recently retired from Juniper Networks as CEO of a joint venture with Nokia Siemens Networks, has joined the Board’s executive review and development committees.  Bob Shaver, who just moved from New York City to Indianapolis, has joined the Board’s finance committee; he previously served as director of strategic planning and Board liaison for City Harvest, following several years with Wellspring Consulting as a management consultant to non-profit organizations.


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    W. K. Kellog Foundation funds the development of a public initiative that embraces the values of Slow Food and its history through celebrating, reclaiming and creating local food cultures.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Emily Walsh / Slow Food USA / 718-260-8000 x154 / emilyw@slowfoodusa.org

    Slow Food USA Receives Historic $1.2 Million
    Grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation


    BROOKLYN, NY (June 4, 2012)Slow Food USA, a national non-profit dedicated to creating a world where the food we eat is good for us, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet, has received a landmark $1.2 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan.  The three-year, capacity building grant will help Slow Food work to address inequities in the food system by raising awareness internally and externally, building relationships with diverse communities and establishing partnerships with organizations in this area of work.  The grant will also fund the development of a public initiative that embraces the values of Slow Food and its history through celebrating, reclaiming and creating local food cultures.

    This is the single largest grant Slow Food USA has ever received.

      “This is a historic moment for Slow Food USA and it could not have come at a better time as we build momentum for the next few years,” said Katherine Deumling, Board Chair of Slow Food USA.  “There is great inequity in our food system, and we must all work to make it easier for everyone to access good, healthy food – through preserving our diverse foods and food traditions and through building bridges with communities negatively impacted by the industrial food system.  We’re grateful for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s support and confidence in Slow Food as a key force for change.”

    “Slow Food USA has a long and successful track record in the good food movement.  This investment will help them to expand their reach so more people across the country benefit,” said Linda Jo Doctor, program officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “We’re confident that Slow Food’s extensive network will help more children and families get the good food they need to thrive.”

    Slow Food USA is part of a global, grassroots organization with supporters in over 150 countries who believe that food and farming should be sources of health and well-being for everyone.  Through international and national advocacy, local projects and bringing people together through the common language of food, Slow Food members and supporters are making it easier to access real food.  Slow Food was founded in 1989 to counter the rise of fast food, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.  Slow Food USA’s network includes 200,000 supporters and 225 chapters in nearly every state.  For more information, visit www.slowfoodusa.org.

    About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
    The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

    The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

    ###


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  • 06/07/12--06:00: How to Pick a Fresh Fish
  • Slow Fish, Slow Food’s campaign for sustainable fish on how to get the catch of the day every day.

    Written by Slow Food International

    The fresher the fish, the better, for taste and health.

    Unfortunately, labels are not particularly helpful. For example, in the European Union it is not currently required to indicate the catch date, though the possibility of making it obligatory is being discussed by the European Commission.

For now, how could the European consumer know that the fillet of Nile perch sold as fresh was actually caught in Central Africa 12-16 days earlier? How many people are aware that many fish species from Asia are sold in Europe and North America as fresh, even though they may have been frozen and defrosted more than once?


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    Dan Imhoff & Michael Dimock argue that after 80 years, the time has come to rescue agriculture from the farm bill — and to improve the health of Americans in the bargain.

    Written by Dan Imhoff, author of Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill and Michael Dimock, president of Roots of Change and chairman emeritus of Slow Food USA

    This op-ed originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times

    In 1933, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the very first farm bill, formally called the Agricultural Adjustment Act, he told the nation that “an unprecedented condition calls for the trial of new means to rescue agriculture.” That legislation, passed as the country struggled to emerge from the Depression, was visionary in the way it employed agricultural policy to address significant national issues, including rural poverty and hunger.

    It may not seem obvious while standing in the aisles of a modern grocery store, but the country today faces another food and farming crisis. Forty-six million people — that is, 1 out of 7 Americans — signed up for food stamps in 2012. Despite some of the highest commodity prices in history, the nation’s rural regions are falling deeper into poverty. In 2010, according to theU.S. Department of Agriculture, 17.8% of those living in rural counties fell under the poverty line. Unemployment in Fresno County, the nation’s top agricultural producing county, stood at 17.4% in March of this year. Industrial agriculture has become a leading cause of soil and water pollution. In California, for example, fertilizer and manure pollution have so contaminated the Salinas and lower San Joaquin valleys that the groundwater will be undrinkable for the next 30 to 50 years.

    After 80 years, the time has come to rescue agriculture from the farm bill — and to improve the health of Americans in the bargain.


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    Dan Imhoff & Michael Dimock argue that after 80 years, the time has come to rescue agriculture from the farm bill — and to improve the health of Americans in the bargain.

    Written by Dan Imhoff, author of Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill and Michael Dimock, president of Roots of Change and chairman emeritus of Slow Food USA

    This op-ed originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times

    In 1933, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the very first farm bill, formally called the Agricultural Adjustment Act, he told the nation that “an unprecedented condition calls for the trial of new means to rescue agriculture.” That legislation, passed as the country struggled to emerge from the Depression, was visionary in the way it employed agricultural policy to address significant national issues, including rural poverty and hunger.

    It may not seem obvious while standing in the aisles of a modern grocery store, but the country today faces another food and farming crisis. Forty-six million people — that is, 1 out of 7 Americans — signed up for food stamps in 2012. Despite some of the highest commodity prices in history, the nation’s rural regions are falling deeper into poverty. In 2010, according to theU.S. Department of Agriculture, 17.8% of those living in rural counties fell under the poverty line. Unemployment in Fresno County, the nation’s top agricultural producing county, stood at 17.4% in March of this year. Industrial agriculture has become a leading cause of soil and water pollution. In California, for example, fertilizer and manure pollution have so contaminated the Salinas and lower San Joaquin valleys that the groundwater will be undrinkable for the next 30 to 50 years.

    After 80 years, the time has come to rescue agriculture from the farm bill — and to improve the health of Americans in the bargain.


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    For the first time, Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre will be held at a joint even and will be open to the public.

    The programme of the 2012 edition of the international Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre world meeting of food communities has been released, giving comprehensive information about the event that, from October 25-29 in Turin, Italy, will display the extraordinary diversity of food from all continents and unite small-scale farmers and artisans from around the world who follow the principles of good, clean and fair.

    Entrance tickets are available here
    Tickets for the bookable events are available here


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  • 06/20/12--08:35: Where’s the Pure Beef?
  • How escaping the supermarket and finding a more pure form of beef transformed a non-meat eater into a beef conisior

    Written by Lynne Curry, co-chair Slow Food Wallowas and author of the new cookbook Pure Beef: An Essential Guide to Artisan Meat with Recipes for Every Cut

    In 2001, I moved from Seattle to the remote Wallowa Valley in eastern Oregon. I was drawn to the lifestyle of a small town mixed with artists, self-starters and ranchers and easy access to the wilderness. Cows and their newborn calves populated the landscape that spring, but I didn’t give them a second thought.

    At the time, I didn’t even eat meat, and I certainly never expected to devote over two years to researching and writing about beef. Back then, beef was beef was beef. In the supermarket, all of it came from a single, centralized commodity supply chain controlled by four corporations.

    In 11 years, beef has diversified into many niche markets—natural, organic and grassfed. Across the country, high-end restaurants now feature grassfed steaks, grocery chains sell a variety of natural and organic brands, and we all have more decisions to make at the meat counter.


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    The Senate has passed their version of the Food and Farm Bill, so who won?

    Written by Tim Smith, Slow Food USA’s Associate Manager of New Media

    Last week, Washington became the food capital of the country as the Senate debated the 2012 Food and Farm Bill, culminating in the passage of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 yesterday afternoon. Like most people in the country, your next thought most likely is: what does this mean for me?

    Well, it means that we are one step closer to approval of the single biggest piece of legislation that governs what we grow and eat in this country, and how it is distributed. It is a 5-year, $969 billion bill that touches every single person’s life in this country. Every farmer, parent, cook, eater, student, and activist is impacted by the policies the Bill addresses and we only have one chance every five years to influence it. Now that the Senate has passed their version, it is up to the House of Representatives to pass their own version before the bill can officially become law.

    Okay, now that we’ve cleared that up, you’re probably wondering: is the Senate Bill a good thing or a bad thing? Well, I guess that depends on what you’re priorities are. Back in March, Slow Food USA sent a letter to the leaders of both the Senate and House Agriculture committees outlining our priorities and asked for a good, clean, and fair Food and Farm Bill. You can read the letter here for more specifics, but we basically boiled it down to three key points:


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    The golden rule of berry picking: “eat every third berry”, and other joys of organic farming.

    Written by Eliza Phillips Real Time Farms Food Warrior

    At Country Pleasures Farm in Middletown, MD, “quality control” is taken very seriously, and to assure such standards, there is a certain unique “golden rule” applied to berry picking. Lori Rice, in a very matter-of-fact way, explained to me that, “The rule is that you’re supposed to eat every third berry.”

    She wasn’t kidding. As I filtered through the shoulder-high bushes, searching for perfectly plump, navy-colored berries, I found myself repeatedly distracted by the sound of my fellow “pickers,” and the “ooohs” and “aaaahhhs” emerging as they smacked their lips, their heads tilted ever so slightly back, towards the sky, their eyes closed, and their faces enveloped by blissful deliciousness. This put my careful, measured, no-nonsense approach to the task of finding the “perfect berry” to shame. As Eric retorted, sensing my reluctance to renounce my way of doing it, “you will not know what tastes good until you….taste it.” Seems simple, right?


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