We all have heard of the word Fast Food and surely can name a dozen or so of these chains that participate on this fast track; however, Slow Food is a newer concept that started in Italy in 1986 by Carlo Petrini who founded the organization in 1989.
So what does Slow Food mean exactly? Well, it is quite simply the opposite of what Fast Food means and this is their philosophy:
Slow Food stands at the crossroads of ecology and gastronomy, ethics and pleasure. It opposes the standardization of taste and culture, and the unrestrained power of the food industry multinationals and industrial agriculture. We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to the pleasure of good food and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible. Our association believes in the concept of neo-gastronomy - recognition of the strong connections between plate, planet, people and culture.
This concept counters the rise of fast food, the disappearance of local artisanal traditions and the disconnect of where the food comes from, how it tastes and how the choices we make affect our own local communities and the environment worldwide.
Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization with supporters in 150 countries, 1,300 local chapters, 2,000 food communities who practice small-scale sustainable production of quality foods and 100,000 members worldwide.
Slow Food East End
Slow Food East End is feasting on the pleasures of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment. I experienced this recently at their Potluck and Annual Meeting which was held at the Hayground School in Bridgehampton, NY in Jeff's Kitchen, which is a professional grade kitchen and classroom with classes in nutrition, food science and cooking for both children and adults. I found it fitting to have such a gathering at a school which promotes health and nutrition through gardening and culinary arts for children.
How amazing is it that these kids can plan their menu and lunch for the day? They go to their school garden, pick out their vegetables, and visit with the chicken coop to get their eggs and then partake in the making of it! When I was a child lunch was a mystery. Vegetables were not of the primary color, spaghetti floated in a neon maroon oil substance and Sloopy Joe's was just that slop on a cardboard bun.
I met with passionate Slow Foodies of the East End Community and together we did a tour of the Hayground Facility and grounds given by Arjun Achuthan who is one of the Founder's and Director of the Hayground Culinary Arts Program.
After our tour we were able to feast our eyes and palates on local delights prepared by the members of Slow Food East End and friends. Mingling amongst like minded folks we shared stories of our own heritage and discussed the bounty of the East End Community.
Mary Morgan, president of Slow Food East End kicked off the Annual Meeting. We were introduced to three New School Garden Coordinators which were given by Slow Food East End and funded by the generosity of the Josh Levine Memorial Foundation.
Jeff Negron and Peter Priolo spoke about their experience, unfortunately, KK Haspel had a prior engagement, however I am very much looking forward to meeting her in the near future. The common link amongst these three individuals is undeniably obvious. They are environmental stewards within their local communities, influencing the next generation, our children on what it means to nurture a local garden and the positive impact it has within its community. You can read about each Garden Coordinator here.
School Grants were announced by Bryan Futerman the chef and owner of Foody’s in Water Mill, NY and Slow Food East End educational coordinator. It has been Slow Food East End's mission since their founding in 2004 to help local schools start and develop school gardens. Grants of $500 each went to eight area schools: Bridgehampton School, East Hampton High School, Greenport School, Hampton Bays Middle School, Sag Harbor School, Southold School, Springs School, and Tuckahoe School. You can read about Bryan Futerman here.
New leaders were elected at the annual meeting. They are Jeannie Calderale, Sheryl Stair, Ivo Tomasini and Joan Turturro. You can read about these leaders here.
After the Slow Food East End Annual Meeting I realized how fortunate I was to be living amongst passionate and like minded individuals with a commitment to community, the environment and the future of our children. I am proud to say that I am now an official member of Slow Food East End. I made new friends, tasted some fabulous fare and met passionate individuals who are doing incredible work within our local communities.