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Terra Madre Day in California

By Kelsey Maher, Slow Food California Member of Board of Directors

Each year on December 10th, all around the world Slow Food chapters celebrate Terra Madre Day. This international holiday celebrates good, clean, fair food for all. On this particular December 10th, chapters are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Slow Food Manifesto.

Find your nearest chapter’s event below:

  • Slow Food East Bay: Join local experts Nancy Ash & Kathryn Tomajan (with Roberta Klugman’s input, too!) for an informational and fun olive oil workshop and tasting. We’ll learn how to taste oils and then be guided through a series of this season’s new harvest oils with accompanying foods, all while learning more about the production of olive oil from tree to bottle. This is on December 8th. Cost is $50 per person.
  • Slow Food Sacramento: In honor of the 30th anniversary of Slow Food, we are celebrating Terra Madre Day with an Italian-themed potluck party. This event is free; RSVP is appreciated. Please bring a dish to share! We will be meeting on the 2nd floor of the Sacramento Co-op.
  • Slow Food San Diego: Come mix and mingle with us and meet your 2020 Slow Food Urban San Diego Board of Directors! We look forward to meeting our dedicated family of Slow Food members and volunteers in the community! Our general meeting from 6-7PM will be open to the public if you want to learn more! Tickets are free.
  • Slow Food San Francisco: Come join us for a night of delicious wine and food as we hear from Dr. Raymond Isola, a transformative leader in social justice for California public schools inspired by Italy’s Reggio Emilia approach at Casa Soto. Menu includes: pasta, porchetta, Slow Food Ark of Taste Vella Dry Jack Cheese, Acme Bread and desserts by Emporia Rulli. Ticket price is $30 per ticket.
  • Slow Food Sonoma North: We will gather in our candle-lit barn to celebrate 30 years of Good, Clean, and Fair Food with Slow Food around the world.Our meal will be prepared by our Leadership team and feature appetizers, roast pork, Bodega Red potatoes from our chapter garden, roasted vegetables and salad from Lantern Farm, and apple crumble.Wine will accompany dinner, and Irish coffee will finish off the evening.Come see old friends and meet new ones, get to know your Board members, and let us know what you’d like to see in 2019. We especially welcome those of you who are new to our community! Tickets are $45 for members and $55 for non -members.
  • Slow Food Yolo: Join Slow Food Yolo as we celebrate Yolo County producers and recognize the diversity of foods and sustainability efforts. 2019 Snail of Approval Award winners will be announced at this event.Enjoy appetizers and no-host bar at Snail of Approval Award Winning restaurant Preserve, in Winters. Meet and mingle with Slow Food Yolo members and Snail of Approval winners past and present. Cost is $20 for members and $25 for non members.
Annual Project, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice, Regional Leaders Meeting

Learning from Slow Food Cascadia — What a Regional Gathering Can Bring to our Movement

By Charity Kenyon, Slow Food California Board of Directors

As we regionalize, Slow Food Cascadia is showing us the way by launching a regional gathering to inspire and nourish us. Slow Food USA focuses on gatherings, partnerships, and campaigns and is moving that focus throughout the network by creating regions. What might that mean here in the Pacific Region (California, Oregon, Washington, Hawai`i)? Warren Neth of Slow Food Cascadia demonstrated an answer with a festival in Vancouver Washington October 5, 2019. I was lucky to be there, joined by several Californians including a contingent from Slow Food Shasta Cascade.

What if we could organize similar events in our areas, to surprise us with hidden history of our region’s foods, all wrapped in Joy + Justice. What would it take? Let’s talk about it at our Regional Leaders Meeting February 22-23 in the Bay Area!

Some elements to emulate:

  • Leverage a food festival that Slow Food has participated in and continues to support.
  • Present the region’s food story with surprises.
  • Bring diverse voices from the region.
  • Invite a local college class.
  • Serve good food with meaning.
  • Include music and dancing.
  • Door prizes!
  • Good graphics, posters all over town, enthusiastic sponsors
  • Compelling, historical venue

We started at the Vancouver Old Apple Tree Festival. Slow Food Cascadia was all over it — and its presence has grown: its Urban Abundance Program was there with apple tastings (donates tons of fruits and vegetables locally), a cider press for local folks bringing their apples, a tasting area featuring Ark of Taste, and a cider tasting area — they’ve attended and participated since 2011.

The Cascadia Festival was across the highway at an old aircraft hangar all afternoon and dancing into the evening. Two big, festive gathering areas — one for programming and one for food and drink. The opening ceremony conducted by an Upper Chinook Elder and Chinuk Wawa Instructor grounded us in place. Food history of the region was the backbone of both two-hour sessions, with a break for salmon and wine tasting.

Fish was the centerpiece of the first summit session. Kamiah Koch, a descendant of Cascades Chief Tumulth, a signer of the 1855 Willamette Valley Treaty, told the moving story of joining her cousin to gather lamprey at Willamette Falls — yes, they are climbing the wall behind the falls using that weird rasping mouth and are very elusive. Others explained tribal and nontribal salmon fishing within the Columbia River and in the ocean and the history of the wild Olympia oyster. A fascinating history of salmon canning (there weren’t can openers yet! People actually collect old cans and study the history of labeling as a marketing device — flowers worked!) And we learned the historic role of native Hawai`ians in the areas fisheries. Ever think about how Salmon Poke came to be? No salmon in Hawai`i. It started here. 

Summit session 2 was more eclectic. We had presentations on the Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Manifesto adopted at Slow Food Nations 2018, two local book authors (one on natural beekeeping and one on making peace with (and rethinking) invasive species — I bought both books). Josh Volk of Slow Hand Farm in Oregon presented on Slow Tools, started by Elliot Coleman and incubated by Stone Barns — tools designed for small farmers. Tao Orion of Three Sisters Nixtamal in Portland convinced us to look more closely — they are organic, non-GMO, and traditionally made. Two presenters from Washington State Department of Agriculture presented on their Focused on Food program — reinforcing relationships with local policy makers and the importance of participating in policy reform. And Paula Barbeito of Slow Fish International brought the Slow Food International perspective to the gathering.

And we celebrated — Joy + Justice. Tommy O’s Hawai`an luau topped off the day with traditional hula dancing organized by festival sponsor Ke Kui Foundation, dedicated to cultural programs and events keeping alive the Hawai`ian traditions of the Vancouver Portland area. Who knew?

Everything was focused on the region and its food history. Every element of the programming had a regional tie. Every one had surprising information to impart. And we came to the table together over a great meal.

Interested in learning more? In the Campaigns folder of our Slow Food USA Network Hub you can find an interview with Warren Neth about how he and his team did it and what it takes. Find pdf’s of programs, flyers, sponsor letter to help frame yours. And enjoy the photos taken by Giselle Lord of Slow Food USA.

Annual Project, One Seed One Community

Defend the Future Save a Seed

By Guest Writer, Hillie Salo

Responsible Consumers: Seeds are the Starting Point, Think About It!

True awareness about what is on your plate begins with the first link in the food chain: the seed that creates the plant, flower and finally the fruit.

From Seeds According to Slow FOOD
https://www.slowfood.com/sloweurope/wp-content/uploads/ING-libretto-semi-b.pdf

USA Slow Food’s Plant a Seed is a wonderful program, introducing young people to the exciting world of growing your own food and peeking their curiosity with joyful new flavors. Next step is to give them tools to face the challenges of climate change. 

That is what One Seed One Community aims to do, by encouraging folks to save and share seeds. Each year, a Bean has been chosen from the Ark of Taste for the community to grow and complete life’s circle from seed to seed. 

Saving seeds over a period of time can lead to adaptation to the environment in which they were grown. Beans have been shown to present signs of adaptation over a period of just three growing seasons. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5372509/#!po=9.57447

This year OSOC has spread to various places in Northern and Southern California. Seed Libraries and many Slow Food members in 

Ukiah One Seed One Community 

San Diego 

Santa Monica

Santa Maria

San Louis Obispo 

Monterey

Silicon Valley

San Leandro 

East Bay

San Francisco

Sebastopol 

Mendocino

and others are leading the charge in saving the Cherokee Trail of Tears bean. https://www.fondazioneslowfood.com/en/ark-of-taste-slow-food/cherokee-trail-of-tears-bean/

An individual gardener’s gene pool of a plant variety often is not more than what can be held in the palm of the hand. A very small gene pool indeed! Seed Libraries are a community project that gives the community access to a diverse gene pool. As well, they can give low income, first time and community gardeners the potential to bring fresh healthy food into their lives. 

In the circle, Seed Libraries make seeds available, and the community grows and returns seeds to have a fresh stock of seeds available every year. Seed Libraries need community support in returning seeds. More often than not more seeds are taken than returned. OSOC invites the community to Save a Row for Diversity! to replenish our Seed Libraries. This year we are saving the Cherokee Trail of Tears Bean.

Slow Food chapters across the state may consider reaching out to their local Seed Library to start a One Seed One Community project for next year. Each chapter could challenge their membership to commit to raising so many pounds, maybe 2 pounds, 5,10,15, 25 pounds to donate to their local Seed Library and other community groups. Perhaps a school garden…

If you send your beans out to the community, and they are returned and grown again, we are well on our way to building a local diverse seed stock and food security. Local food begins with local seed. Seed the local Revolution!

Do you have a suggestion for next year’s bean?

Slow Food’s Position Paper on Seeds

Manifesto on the Future of Seeds

Heirloom Seeds to Cultivate the Future

Slow Food Europe’s section on Seeds

Policy

It’s Back to School Time & Time to Improve the School Lunch Program

By Keith Schildt, Slow Food California Board Member, Southern California Governor

With the end of summer comes our thoughts of students returning to school and a reminder that there is still a lots of work to do to improve the quality of school lunches across the state and the nation .  At the federal level, the Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) presents an opportunity to make school lunch healthier and more sustainable. The bill is in early legislatives stages in both the House and the Senate and Slow Food USA has been weighing in on key aspects of the bill. We are especially excited to be supporting the Farm to School Act, which among other things will increase annual mandatory funding for the USDA Farm to School Grant Program from $5 to $15 million (learn more about this proposed legislation here: http://www.farmtoschool.org/documents/F2SAct2019_FactSheet.pdf) and Kids Eat Local Act, which seeks to make it easier for schools to source local food (learn more about the Kids Eat Local Act here Kids Eat Local.

The Slow Food California Policy Committee is supporting legislative advocacy efforts at the federal level by Slow Food USA. For an excellent summary of SFUSA’s position on CNR, see the following link.

At the state level, the SFCA Policy Committee actively supported AB479 – a bill that would establish the climate-friendly “California School Plant-Based Food and Beverage Program” aimed at increasing plant-based food in school lunches. The bill passed through State Assembly and the California State Senate Education committee. It now becomes a 2 year bill.  We also supported AB-958, the Organic to School pilot program which unfortunately did not pass.  We now must work with our allies, including Friends of the Earth and NRDC to advocate with the Governor to ensure that he puts resources in next year’s budget to support healthier, climate friendly school food programs, including the Plant-Based School Food Program and organic food for kids.

WHAT CAN SLOW FOOD MEMBERS ACROSS THE STATE DO TO SUPPORT SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM IMPROVEMENTS?

With October being the official National Farm to School month and with Slow Food USA encouraging engagement with World  Food Day on October 16th, the CA Slow Food Policy Committee suggests chapters consider featuring a school food themed activity in October.   We are happy to help connect you with speakers who can share updates on the national and state school lunch policy initiatives supported by Slow Food California and by SFUSA and ways Slow Food members in your region can get involved.  It could be as simple as organizing a potluck and inviting a few guest speakers, including a local school food director or farmer who is selling produce to local school districts. Or perhaps Slow Food members might want to volunteer in a local school garden project for a day. Please let us know if you want to brainstorm or would like a speaker to come to a local chapter dinner or meeting to share the latest information on upcoming policy opportunities at the state and federal level to increase access to healthy, locally sourced, climate-friendly school food. More details  here. Contact khamerschlag@foe.org if you are interested.