Apr 282010

Simply put, “Slow Food” is the opposite of “fast food.” In the purest form it is food from your own garden or food raised or caught in your neighborhood. Slow food is motivated by a desire for good health, a need to support the local economy,  a compulsion to protect the local environment or a realization that you want to serve your family the freshest and most flavorful food available.

“Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.”
The Slow Food Movement was started specifically to counteract fast food and to revitalize local food traditions.
It’s telling that McDonald’s represents “American food” to the world and probably explains the growing popularity of ethnic food in this country. We do have local food traditions. Sometimes they are just hard to ferret out as you drive down the commercial street that you will find in any American city of any size which features the Golden Arches, Arby’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, Wendy’s, Subway, Taco Time, etc. etc. Is this what we want as our local food tradition?

There is local food everywhere but you won’t find it on franchise avenue. You have to dig around for the farmer’s market, food cooperatives, farm stands, or food festivals.

The island, of course, has obvious food traditions with all the seafood at hand and the ability to forage wild foods or glean from fruit trees in common areas. We have an unusually high percentage of vegetable gardens on the island (the Edible Garden Tour on July 18 will feature nearly twenty-five island vegetable gardens and there is easily another twenty-five not on the tour). As with the Slow Movement, the island also has a jump on Slow Food.

According to Wikipedia:
The Slow Food Movement incorporates a series of objectives within its mission, including:
▪    forming and sustaining seed banks to preserve heirloom varieties in cooperation with local food systems
▪    developing an “Ark of Taste” for each eco-region, where local culinary traditions and foods are celebrated
▪    preserving and promoting local and traditional food products, along with their lore and preparation
▪    organizing small-scale processing (including facilities for slaughtering and short run products)
▪    organizing celebrations of local cuisine within regions
▪    promoting “taste education”
▪    educating consumers about the risks of fast food
▪    educating citizens about the drawbacks of commercial agribusiness and factory farms
▪    educating citizens about the risks of monoculture and reliance on too few genomes or varieties
▪    developing various political programs to preserve family farms
▪    lobbying for the inclusion of organic farming concerns within agricultural policy
▪    lobbying against government funding of genetic engineering
▪    lobbying against the use of pesticides
▪    teaching gardening skills to students and prisoners
▪    encouraging ethical buying in local marketplaces

All of the goals of Slow Food will help prepare us to cope with whatever the future might bring.


  2 Responses to “Slow Food”

  1. Have you ever noticed that Grace Harbor Farms Goat milk yogurt is really hard to come by?
    Has anyone on the island ever thought of making goat milk yogurt rather than soap?
    I assume this has to be a grade B dairy though and soap well it is a hobby.
    It would be great though to have a goat dairy on Lummi.
    But again as Tacsh says – boy the small stuff is hard to live on. It is hard to work the farm. I know I grew up on a farm and it made little money, was remote and hard to get around, and very limited in education.
    Fortunately, my family also owned their own grocery stores – 3 to be exact. That helped alot. But getting up at 5 am on school days to weed the sweet corn to sell to the store and then home in the evening to work and finally homework – No extra activities except maybe on Friday. That is hard in today’s world.

  2. The problem is that factory farm food is so heavily subsidized that the small guy has a hard time. My mom showed me some garlic she bought the other day (from China!). Three heads were the same price as one head of local garlic. I like Chinese food but that’s taking it too far. There are many small farm operations who are making it. Consumers need to make a commitment to increase local purchases in the same way that that organic buyers had to pay more to support organic. Then, more small, local food producers would have a chance. We’ll need them in the future. Now that “organic” has been co-opted, local is the way to go. Local and organic, so much the better.

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