A Brief Post from Slow Food Nation

Note: I am attending Slow Food Nation events all weekend and hope to post about that experience in the near future. Meanwhile, here’s my impression from opening day.)

It’s late Friday afternoon and I have just returned home after spending the day at the Slow Food Nation Marketplace where several dozen local artisan producers were offering tastes and selling their wares. The prices weren’t bad and everything was made locally from local ingredients. As you can imagine, there was much deliciousness everywhere.

And there was also plenty of politics.

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The most global and very prominent was the Food Declaration which seeks to provide 1) a clear statement of policy which is committed to healthier food and agriculture systems 2) an invitation for all Americans to join in and take action and 3) an articulate a set of principals to aid policy makers. The declaration can also be signed on line here.

On the other end of the spectrum was something that's more mundane and personal and yet has the potential, in my opinion, to change the world: how we label our waste. Slow Food Nation has adopted the practice of labeling waste bins in three categories: ‘recycling’, ‘compost’ and (most importantly) ‘landfill.’

I’ve been recycling and composting most of my adult life but still was profoundly affected by this switch from ‘garbage’ to ‘landfill’ the first time I saw it at the Berkeley Farmer’s Market this spring. I’m thrilled that my workplace has agreed to do the same and I’m looking forward to the discussions its sure to provoke.

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Also very inspiring was the panel discussion between Michael Pollan, chef Dan Barber, food activist Gary Nabhan and environmentalist and activist Winona LaDuke. Titled Re-Localizing Food, the panel explored how to create and support local food systems. After returning from this day of unprecedented support for local food artisans, I was frankly puzzled by Ed Levine's editorial on Serious Eats. I wished he could have been here to see some of his concerns being actively addressed.

It's true that there is a preciousness to the Delicious Revolution's efforts to effect the way this country eats but there's some muscle there, too. Please, let us spend our time and energy working towards the change we want to see by actively participating in that change as much as we can. Be it labeling your landfill, signing a bill, or supporting a local business, get out there and do it! And tell your friends. I think you will be amazed at how powerful you are.

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Dana Velden is a freelance food writer. She lives, eats, plays, and gets lost in Oakland, California where she is in the throes of raising her first tomato plant.