"As much as I admired and appreciated the slow-food movement, and the increased interest in better, more seasonal ingredients, there was a whiff of orthodoxy about it all that I felt contradicted the chef's basic mission: to give pleasure. I'd met a lot of hungry people in recent years and I doubted very much whether they cared if their next meal came from the next village over or a greenhouse in Tacoma. The notion of "terroir" and "organic" started to seem like the kind of thinking you'd expect of the privileged - or isolationist. The very discussion of "organic" vs "nonorganic", I knew, was a luxury. I've since come to believe that any overriding philosophy or worldview is the enemy of good eating." Anthony Bourdain
I greatly appreciate this quote as it states much of my feeling on why I participate in groups such as Slow Food. I believe Slow Food is a suburb organization, I just feel that some people forget that others don't have everything that they have received in life. Not everyone can afford the $4/lb tomato some of us buy, so just think of that before you start to lecture someone on their eating habits.
I have been a member of Slow Food for about five or six years and have found many a friend from participation. Just this past weekend I attended the first official dinner for the new Saratoga Slow Food chapter up at Top of the World in Lake George, NY. A very good meal, utilizing many local ingredients from local farmers, including Sheldon Farms where I cooked for a Slow Food fundraiser yesterday, both breakfast and lunch so I am a little burnt out.
Usually I find the conversations to be wonderful with great topics on food and culture and how we can "ideally" live. I occasionally get disappointed when I bring up topics of helping to feed those that are less fortunate than some of us. The conversation will invariably lead to how they should be eating locally and more nutritious foods, but I rarely hear how we can do this.
For the last year I have been researching this project that Rutger's University, I believe through the IR-4 program. The idea was to take a city block in NYC and convert it into a multi-tier farming facility with I think about 32 floors. Each floor would pretty much contain the necessary essentials for meals, with each floor coming into season after the prior floor was harvested. this one building would be capable of feeding the entire island of Manhattan for the full-year.
Many people would complain that this project is not "natural" due to the fact that obviously it would utilize artificial lighting and fertilizers. However, natural fertilizers could be used and quite honestly, I don't think the homeless or working poor truly care where their food comes from daily, this is evidenced by the growing waistlines reported as many have turned to cheap eats like McDonald's cheap menus or some that are in food-deserts and must shop at the local bodega which is over priced junk food. This project would be getting quality food into their homes, and for those of us that can afford the higher priced heirloom vegetables and other specialty items, we could still buy as we have been.
When thinking about our foodways it is great to idealize, but we also need to ground ourselves in reality. Yes, the localvore thing where you eat within 100 miles of your home is great, but it isn't always feasible for all people. So think about your audience and the lifestyles of some of the people you run into before you preach to them. Sometimes you can do more harm than good for the effort by putting off a person who has less than yourself.
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Release date: 2008-04-29