Slow Food Nation: Day 1

by | Aug 29, 2008

Today was the kick off of Slow Food Nation, the largest celebration of food in American history.

For many, the day began with the commencement of the Food For Thought seminar series at Herbst Theater. I would have loved to attend the talks, but the ones I was most interested in were sold out before I managed to get tickets. But from what I heard as people were leaving, the lectures were inspiring and the speakers did a fantastic job articulating the environmental and health challenges facing our nation and how Slow Food addresses these concerns. I have a ticket for tomorrow’s seminar, “Edible Education,” hosted by Alice Waters. Stay tuned to hear what I learn.

Today was also the first of three days of the Slow Food Market Place at Civic Center Plaza. The Market Place features a farmers market, Slow on the Go and the Slow Food Victory Garden (see pic). The Market hosts dozens of local farms and artisan vendors selling the best of what the season has to offer. The booths were small, but well attended. Samples of everything were available and the sense of community in the air was almost tangible. While not quite matching the bountiful selection of the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market, the exquisite quality of the products and the spectacle of the event definitely makes this a must-do trip this weekend.

Nearby, Slow on the Go is a collection of restaurants and vendors selling sustainable prepared food, demonstrating that you can live Slow even when you are in a hurry. The vendors there represent a veritable all-star cast (The Slanted Door, Vik’s Chaat Corner, Fatted Calf, Blue Bottle Coffee, Bi-Rite Creamery, to name a few) and the options were beyond delicious and relatively affordable.

At the center of everything stood the Victory Garden, to “herald the era of self-sufficiency .” Though ornamental, the garden is a symbol of what Slow Food represents. There is an inextricable connection between us, our food, the soil and ultimately our planet. While wandering the grounds, Soap Box talks given by various “intellectuals of the earth” on a myriad of topics share ideas and concerns for our health and our food. These events are all free and open to the public.

As mentioned above, tomorrow I will be back at the Market and at the Food for Thought seminar. Sunday I will head to Fort Mason for the Taste Pavilion. I only wish I had time to attend everything, especially the Slow Food Rocks music festival and the various dinners occurring at my favorite restaurants around the city.

Slow Food memberships are discounted at the event (only $15 for students!), so if you were considering joining now is the time. T-shirts are available for $20.

Come to the table!

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