The SlowFood movement began in Rome in 1986. Carlo Petrini witnessed the opening of a McDonald’s restaurant near the ancient Spanish Steps. This icon of processed and low quality food dropped into the heart of Rome, with it’s timeless history, seemed perverse. It was the last straw for the Italian, and he became the champion of regional cuisines and artisan methods of preparing foods, founding the SlowFood movement. He was a proponent of reclaiming the conviviality of sharing good food. The movement has grown into a global organization boasting 83,000 members.
This rally against the homogenization of the food supply isn't just about fancy cuisine, but about the ecological impact of our food choices. "Eco-gastronomy" Petrini calls it. SlowFood's pledge is for good, clean, and fair food. Good means it should taste good. Clean food is produced without damage to the environment or the consumer. And fair means farmers earn a living wage.
SlowFood holds events all around the world that examine the ecological relationship to our food supply. Their groundbreaking US event takes place next weekend in San Francisco with the inaugural Come to the Table event. SlowFood Nation invites everyone to come together to celebrate our diverse food culture and convene on the important issues of sustainability, social justice and the environmental impact of our current food system.
The FruitGuys have been involved with fundraising for SlowFood by offering a special edition produce case (only available within California) with a monthly selection of regional heritage foods. Thanks to the patronage of our customers and members of SlowFood, we have helped raise $12,860, which will go directly to SlowFood Nation's youth engagement and education programs.
Important causes like SlowFood are close to our hearts. Since 2007, FruitGuys founder Chris Mittelstaedt has been mentoring the young entrepreneurs of Somethin' Fresh - a neighborhood produce delivery business. Earlier this year, the FruitGuys launched our Farm Steward program, with the donation of 48,000 honey bees and hives to Torrey Olsen’s Gabriel Farms. See what the buzz is about here.
It's been a great pleasure to support a SlowFood Nation fundraising project. We were able to use our farm direct relationships to make new friends with many fine growers and purveyors. We learned so much in the process. We met Sarah Chironi of Elixir Olive Oils who presses her olives at a monastery in Kelseyville CA. We learned about organic dates from Christina of Flying Disk Ranch in Thermal. And we discovered that there is a statue devoted to the cherished Cherantais melon.
The big SlowFood Nation event takes over San Francisco for the Labor Day weekend of 8/29 - 9/1. It's already transformed Civic Center plaza into a vegetable garden, which contributes its harvest to the local food banks. Other events are held throughout the region - hikes, tours, talks and a grand tasting pavilion at Fort Mason. The website is a rich buffet of information on tickets, schedules and even a menu of itineraries for navigating the event.
For those customers in the Bay Area, we hope you will be able to get a taste of the big event. For those outside that region, look for the Convivia (SlowFood for chapter) near you, and buon appetito!