Do your kids think broccoli grows on trees or strawberries come from the store? If you are not sure, have some fun – give them a pop quiz and welcome to your first step in the Slow Food movement.
Slow Food is a non-profit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization. The seeds of this movement were planted in Rome, Italy in 1989 when McDonalds wanted to open a location on the Spanish Steps, a historical set of stairs between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti. Politicians, food artisans, farmers and concerned citizens rallied against McDonalds. Their efforts against the fast food giant failed but as a result the Slow Food movement was born. Today there are more than 400 Slow Food organizations in the United States and more worldwide.
The mission of each group is to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions, encourage knowing where food is grown, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.
Have you been searching for ways to spend more time with your family, to instill healthy traditions and habits or to create an atmosphere where conversations flow? If the answer is yes then you need to become part of the Slow Food movement.
The following is a list of local Slow Food organizations and their upcoming events. If you would like to join Slow Food U.S.A. contact either your local Slow Food Organization below, or Slow Food U.S.A. To find the closest farmers market or community supported agriculture farm, log onto Local Harvest’s website and type in your zip code.
Slow Food Temecula Valley
Temecula Valley’s Slow Food organization led by Chef Leah Di Bernardo of E.A.T Extraordinary Artisan Table has made it their mission to educate schoolchildren about where their food comes from and how it is grown. Temecula Valley has one of the largest collections of school gardens in a district in the nation.
Di Bernardo said, “By growing community gardens in schools, then learning how to cook the food they grow, children have a connection to the land and to their own health and well-being. Our community gardens are like outdoor classrooms. We feel that there is more to school than just reading, writing and arithmetic.”
Date: January 28
The 100 mile Dinner Benefits Academic & Edible School Garden Programs. This dinner is a celebration of our local food shed. Chefs are challenged to create a dinner by foraging all their ingredients from within 100 miles.
The five-course meal includes a cocktail happy hour including Stone Breweries best brews and with dessert Roast House organic shade coffee featuring Chef Leah’s favorite blend “pudding.”
Dinner – Winter Squash soup and ensalata
Intermezzo – Local Seafood
Main – Brandt Beef braised with blood oranges
Dessert – Formaggio influenced dessert
Slow Food Orange County
Saturday: March 10th
Wrangle up the kids and mosey on down to the 5 Bar Beef Ranch for a tour on how cattle were meant to be raised free of hormones, pesticides, antibiotics, vaccinations, pour-ons and pharmaceuticals.
The Orange County convivium is a member-supported organization made up of a diverse group of food enthusiasts. Members include home and professional chefs, growers, wine connoisseurs, and lots of ordinary people who enjoy cooking and eating good quality food and wines.
Frank Fitzpatrick, owner of the 5 Bar Beef Ranch, says, “I won’t sell anything that I won’t eat.” He has owned his herd of Barzona (a composite breed of beef cattle developed in the high desert, inter-mountain region of Arizona in the 1920s and 1930s) cattle for over 31 years. The yearlings are brought to the Trabuco Ranch and run for over one year. They are raised on natural grasses and graze. Their supplemental feeding consists of crop residue and/or non-irrigated hay — no hard grain is fed. SFOC will offer 40-minute tours of the ranch, where you will learn about sustainable beef production and get information about how to purchase this incredible product. Tours are free. Reservations: Wayan Kaufman (Chair) firstname.lastname@example.org
Worm Composting & Aquaculture Demonstration
Private residence in Laguna Beach
Date: Sunday, February 5th
Time: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Learn the basics of vermiculture (worm composting), view an operational vermiculture system and be part of a demonstration on how to construct your own system. There will be a drawing and the winner will take home the demonstration system. In addition, an operational aquaponics system will be viewed and discussed, in which fish and vegetables are raised together so the fish help feed the plants and the plants clean the water for the fish.
Slow Food Los Angeles
The Slow Food Los Angeles organization supports good, clean, and fair food production and consumption in Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, the art of food preservation is making a comeback. There has been a surge of interest in techniques from pickling, canning, fermentation, liqueur making and cheese making. For those interested in learning more about food preservation the following Slow Food Program is a hot, sought after ticket.
Ernest Miller, chef of The Farmer’s Kitchen in Hollywood, is leading this class, which has quickly become one of the most sought-after educational opportunities in southern California.
Applications are now being accepted for the Spring 2012 class in food preservation, which begins on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 and will meet each week until June 5. Applicants chosen for this program will be based on their interest in home food preservation, past experiences and their willingness to volunteer their time (at least 30 hrs./year) teaching the public about home food preservation. There is a strong commitment to serve a low-income audience through this program. MFP’s will be asked to seek out limited resource, low-income communities for food preservation demonstrations. Completed applications must be submitted by February 10, 2012. Both the application and additional information are available online.
Slow Food Redlands
Can you grow your own pizza? Members of Slow Food Redlands will help children grow their own pizza making ingrediants including the wheat. The wheat will be grown at The Farm at the Grove School. The other vegetables for the pizza: tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic and herbs will be grown at the Slow Food Redlands Garden at the University of Redlands. .
Slow Food Redlands centers their membership activities towards children, community gardens, cooking and gardening classes. They are also offering , monthly themed Potlucks, a weekly farmers market, field trips, and movie nights. There is definitely something for everyone.
Salon & Potluck Comfort Food:
This year starting January 28th, Olive Ave. Market is hosting the Salon & Potluck event which takes place the fourth Friday of each month from 6pm – 8pm. Themes for this year include: Comfort Food, Sweet & Savory Chocolate, Winter Fruits & Vegetables, Herbs, Spring Foods, Grilling & Barbeque, Picnics, Tomatoes, and Local Foods.
Plant the Seeds to Grow a Pizza!
Date and Time:
February 12, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Every kid loves pizza but it tastes even better when the ingrediants are homegrown, fresh, without preservatives. In February kids will learn how to plant seeds for their future pizza dinner. The pizza making and eating event will take place in October.
Michelle Mears-Gerst is a writer in the Inland Empire.