Slow Activism Is Fast Approaching

Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini said in an interview,

“I’m sick of masturbatory gourmets, people who smell a glass of bordeaux for half an hour and speak divinely, as if they are priests, ‘Oh, it has the wonderful smell of horse sweat.’ No more cooking shows, please; no more stirring pots on television.”

His comment embodies an important evolution in the focus of Slow Food. While the movement started virtuously as a response to the ills of fast food, in the States it’s been criticized as a sort of elitist supper club for people with the means to indulge in leisurely dinners laced with esoteric musings.

While many Slow Foodies are aware of the environmental, political and social consequences of food production, in many convivia these topics have served more as dinner conversation than rallying cry. But more recently there has begun a focused effort to make social, political and environmental activism part of the Slow Food agenda.

Don’t worry. There is room in the realm of Slow Food for all groups: the gourmands, the producers, the artisans, the activists, the passivists, and everyone in between. America is on the cusp of change. We’ve been given the tools and ammunition to rock our unstable foundations and incumbent views. In recent months, we have seen the world as we know it change before our eyes.

New Slow Food president, Josh Viertel said,

“The problems in our food system disproportionately hurt poor people and people of color. These are the people who are less able to access the benefits of Slow Food. I’m going to change this organization so that it’s not just about pleasure. We are going to become a social justice organization. I want to live in a world where the food is good for the people who eat it, the environment and the people who grow it.”

Personally, I equate the recent turn of events as important as the breaking down of the Berlin wall, Fidel Castro’s resignation, the Stock Market tumble (1929 & 2008), and declaration of war on foreign lands. We’ve just seen history made in more ways than one in the recent presidential election. This change on the political front is indicative of the change that is in our hearts, minds, and souls. We may feel removed from the goings on in Washington, but we are all too familiar with the goings on in our homes, communities, and local atmospheres-at-large.

This question was posed to President-elect Barack Obama: What policy initiatives would you propose to strengthen local food systems?

He replied, “I am very familiar with the great work of community supported farms. These types of farms can provide an important source of fresh fruits and vegetables to inner city communities that do not have easy access to grocery stores that sell organic foods. Moreover, farms that sell directly to consumers cut out all of the middlemen and get full retail price for their food, which increases the financial viability of small family farms.

“As president, I would implement USDA policies that promote local and regional food systems, including assisting states to develop programs aimed at community supported farms. I also support a national farm-to-school program and am pleased that the Farm Bill provides more than $1 billion to expand healthy snacks in our schools.”

See? Change is coming.

Si se puede.

Oui nous pouvons.

Si possiamo.

Ne putem da.

Yes we can.

And we are…

~Nicolette Miller-Ka


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