July 14th, 2014 by Keith Schildt
Slow Meat Symposium
I was lucky enough to be one of the hundred delegates selected to participate in Slow Food USA inaugural Slow Meat Symposium from June 20-22 in Denver, Colorado. The delegates ranged from ranchers and other producers, food policy experts and advocates, to others involved in our food system related to meat. Representatives from Slow Food International were also in attendance. Delegates spent the better part of two days in facilitated discussions aimed at producing actionable items that Slow Food chapters across the country can implement to help create a more humane and sustainable meat industry with reduced consumption as well. These items are being cataloged by Slow Food and should be available in late August.
These informative and lively discussions among delegates demonstrated the range of issues that encapsulate meat production in our country. Some delegates focused on the importance of educating consumers while other stressed the need for policy action. The negative impact to rural economies of industrialized meat production as well as its environmental degradation was a frequent theme. The Michael Pollan line “nobody knows a farmer anymore” was often repeated as we lamented the disconnect between rural and urban Americans as well as the general lack of food knowledge in our country.
Interspersed between the discussions were several plenary sessions. Speakers included Allan Savory from the Savory Institute, who provided a fascinating international viewpoint on holistic ranch management; and Mary Dee Berry of the Berry Center (and daughter of author and farmer Wendell Berry) who spoke passionately about the need to revitalize rural communities through family farming.
My overall impression was that this was a wonderful initial start to correcting the problems and injustices in our country’s meat production and consumption. Importantly, there are plans underway for a larger, more inclusive Slow Meat Symposium in 2015 to continue and expand these efforts. Specifically, it was clear to me that California (as well as New York City) Slow Food is way ahead of the curve on policy advocacy, and other chapters are looking to us to model their legislative advocacy activities. Also, state and localized efforts are likely to be our best means to achieve success – there was a “Washington DC is broken” and “captured by big ag interests” consensus that will make federal opportunities unlikely. Lastly, the overarching theme that we must consume less but better meat will need widespread localized educational efforts in order to make an impact on our restaurant menus and home meals. Towards this end, the Slow Food California Policy Committee is thinking about teaming up with Friends of the Earth to do a marketing campaign aimed at fast food restaurants. The campaign will focus on two goals: to eliminate the use of meat containing antibiotics and to develop a consumer education program.
July 14th, 2014 by Linda Elbert
Dear Slow Food Orange County,
Over the last few months we have been implementing our Snail of Appreciation award program. This program is a means for Slow Food OC to acknowledge restaurateurs, culinary artisans and CSA producers (community supported agriculture) who exemplify the principles of Slow Food and contribute to the quality, authenticity, and sustainability of food in our community. The three businesses that have received/will receive this award to date are Vitaly, Wheat and Sons Butcher/Rotisserie and Boldo Bol. On the website under the Program tab is a detailed description of the Snail of Appreciation program, information about these businesses, and the forms to use in nomination.
One of the side benefits of implementing this program has been the opportunity to spend time with other Slow Food members at a more personal level. Each time we presented an award we gathered together a few members to share a meal at the restaurant when presenting the award. This created the classic Slow Food conviviality around the table breaking bread! With no structured program, members had time to talk and get to know each other. Given that our chapter encompasses all of Orange County getting to know one another is not always easy. This was such a great opportunity we decided we should open it up to more people when presenting the third award to Boldo.
As you will see in this newsletter, we have organized a mixer at Boldo for the evening when we present our Snail of Appreciation award. Joining us in this mixer is Slow Money Southern California. Slow Money is a non-profit network that connects farmers, entrepreneurs, investors, thought-leaders and everyday folks interested in developing alternative resources that help strengthen and diversify our local food system. Slow Money was founded by Woody Tasch, former chairman of Investors’ Circle — a nonprofit network of over 200 angel investors, professional venture capitalists, foundations, family offices and others. The idea to initiate the Slow Money movement came to Woody Tasch while he was writing his book Inquiries Into the Nature of Slow Money– Investing as if Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered. Slow Food founder, Carlo Petrini wrote the forward to Tasch’s book and was the keynote speaker at the 2013 Slow Money national convention. The Slow Food philosophy is that everyone has a fundamental right to the pleasure of good food and consequently, the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, and the tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible. The Slow Money movement seeks to create capital flows to support “slow food” enterprises. Slow Money’s mission is to find ways to raise and allocate capital to support diverse, small scale agriculture and small food enterprises that are dedicated to using sustainable agricultural practices. Slow Food is a network of people who support good, clean and fair food and Slow Money can offer financial resources to build and support this network. We look forward to working in partnership.
Slow Food Orange County, Chair
June 11th, 2014 by Larry Elbert
Slow Food Orange County presented the second Snail of Appreciation Award to Wheat and SonsButcher/Rotisserie, Ashly Amador and Nate Overstreet proprietors, on Saturday May 31 at their brand new shop in the Packing District, 440 S. Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim CA.
We are so excited to have an authentic butcher and butcher shop in Orange County. Finding meat from a source the guarantees that its meat is from animals that were humanely raised and fed appropriate, organic food has been a challenge. We are so lucky to have his shop available. Meat can by custom ordered. Nate also brings tremendous talent in creation of artisan charcuterie that is available at Wheat and Sons.
Snail of Appreciation presented to Nate & Ashley on opening day!
Slow Food OC’s Snail of Appreciation award recognizes the commitment of Wheat and Sons to work with producers in the local area to ensure that their poultry, meat, and produce are raised humanely and to the highest standards in ways that support the ecosystem of the land.
Wheat and Sons are committed to use everything from the animal in a way that showcases that ingredient in its best form to create rotisserie items, market inspired sandwiches and sausages, and award winning Charcuterie.
We recognize their willingness in teaching classes, educating consumers about meat products and bringing us closer to the food we eat.