Chair’s February Message

February 11th, 2014 by Nina Macdonald

Dear Slow Food OC,

In February each local Slow Food chapter is asked to submit a report of the years activities to the national office of Slow Food USA in New York.  As chair, that job falls to me.  This year I spent a fair amount of time procrastinating getting started on this task I viewed as “paperwork.”  However, it the processing of completing the report I compiled a list of all the activities and events in past year, more or less reliving them.  In the end I felt very excited about the year’s events, the people who volunteered and the partnerships we had formed.  SFOC  is a pretty great organization with some amazingly committed people.  Here is a list with some annotations so you can see in one place all that went on in 2013.

Bringing Home Terra Madre Dinner – Italian Dinner in a private home in Laguna Beach in partnership with the Organic Cellars & The Basement Table. The dinner was an opportunity to share my Terra Madre experience with chapter members.

Slow Food Book Club – This year we started a book club in which we read both fiction and nonfiction books about food, meet for discussion and a book related potluck dinner in private homes. Meetings are fun & great opportunity to get to know other members on a more personal level.

Urban Chicken Coop Tour in Orange – 7 coops with over 200 signup.  Who knew so many people were interested in chicken coops, or maybe it was the great egg dishes served at each home.

Carlsbad Aquafarms Tour and Tasting –After touring this eco-friendly shellfish farm we sampled smoked and raw oysters and steamed mussels. Interesting and so delicious!

Dinner at the Ranch – Great dinner, toured the kitchen and learned about their local sourcing of ingredients.

Art of Bee Keeping Workshop with Backyard Bees – Tour of the Honey House, honey tasting and learning about bee keeping and the plight of bees.

Mixers – In support of restauants doing their part for “good, clean and fair” we began to hold mixers for old and new members.  This year we chose Tender Greens and Vitaly.

Master Gardener Edible Presentation on Gardening in Small Places and Tour of Food and Farm Lab at the Great Park

Central Orange County Food Swaps – partnering with the Food Swap Network and OC Food Access held 3 food swaps.

Patchwork – The Edible Editions – Participated with larger Orange County food community in  presenting an information booth, participating in a panel discussion and DIY workshops in an event that attracted 1000’s.

School Gardens – Provided Ark of Taste Seeds to school gardens as well as sponsored a Slow Food Garden Intern.

Good Food Awards – we sponsored two Artisan Producers in the 2014 Good Food Awards, 123 Organic Tequila and Wheat & Sons.  Wheat & Sons were winners in the charcuterie category!

Microgrants – We established a microgrant program and gave our first grant to Tustin Memorial School Garden to support their Green Bucks  program.

Craft Cocktail Class – Mixologist Ben Webb taught about the history of cocktails and how to mix a variety of cocktails in the lovely outdoor garden at 5 Crowns.

Supported Dr. Riba’s Healthy Sack Lunch Challlenge at the Pretend City Museum.

Holiday DIY Edible Gifts Class – participants made salts and spice blends, Lebneh, flatbread and a holiday conserve.

Tamale Making Class – for Terra Madre  day. Chef Octavio Montoya taught us to make absolutely wonderful tamales.  Donations for Chef Octavio, Nancy Milby at Laguna Culinary Arts and Stadium Brewery allowed this event to raise funds for our Micro-grant program.

Thanks to all the volunteers who made this possible.  Specifically, thanks to Stacey Blaschke, events chair for planning and organizing so many great experiences, Gillian Poe, outreach chair for her work in getting Slow Food out in the community, Diana Tierney for organizing our book club and Nina Macdonald for getting the newsletter out every month.

I am looking forward to the 2014 year with Slow Food Orange County!


Linda Elbert
Chair, Slow Food Orange County

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