By Charity Kenyon, Slow Food California Board, Co-chair Equity, Inclusion & Justice Working Group
Slow Food’s annual national gathering, Slow Food Nations 2019 in Denver, showcased the energy and support of Slow Food California chapters, members and supporters. With Slow Food California, Slow Food Russian River, and Slow Food Sonoma County chapters leading, 35 chapters nationwide and 80 individuals donated $35,000 to support food justice programming and participation of Slow Food Turtle Island. You could feel the difference of quadrupled support! Together, we answered the questions: Why Slow Food? What does Slow Food do?
Our own Ian McFaul (Bay Area Governor) worked with International Indigenous Councilor Denisa Livingston (Diné) to elevate the voices of Slow Food Turtle Island. They ensured that the Leader Summit began with an appropriate land acknowledgement and blessing. The afternoon featured a powerful presentation of the Reclaiming Native Truths project by First Nations Development Institute followed by an allyship panel Ian moderated, including Chefs Vincent Medina (Muwekma Ohlone) and Louis Trevino (Rumsen Ohlone) of Berkeley’s Ohlone Café. Friday evening’s Indigenous Dinner was amazing — delicious, fun, thought provoking, and ambitious. Your support brought us Chef Ben Jacobs (Osage) of Tocabe in Denver orchestrating seven courses including local bison but also Ark of Taste Chinook Marbled Salmon purchased from the Makah tribe in Washington. And you brought us the music of Wade Fernandez (Menominee) — check out his Facebook page. It was amazing to have him join us.
Your support brought diverse voices to discuss solutions to the inequities of our current food system. Moving beyond lamenting problems, the Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Working Group sponsored discussions of Immigration Reform and the Food System, as well as the Radical Power of Cooperatives. Attendees surely came away recognizing that, unless a food system is equitable, inclusive, and just, it is not, by definition, sustainable. But also that there are ways forward.
Slow Food California President Peter Ruddock, once again, organized a happy hour that gathered EIJ donors, Slow Food USA Board members and staff, and the food justice panelists and Slow Food Turtle Island delegates. Thundershowers did not put a dent in our celebration — those of you who missed it, also missed Northern California Governor Max Caruso’s braided hair!
The California members who made significant contributions of time, creativity, energy, and money are too numerous to mention. Thank you all! Photos will give you some idea. Special mention goes to Hillary Lyons (Slow Food Russian River) who developed and deployed the social media campaign to fundraise through sales of our Joy + Justice bracelets. We have more for sale! All donations support the EIJ Working Group directly. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo link: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmFisSus