Can Slow Food Feed the World?
By Bryan Walsh
Over Labor day weekend, thousands of foodies flooded a special farmers' market set up by Slow Food Nation in San Francisco's grand Civic Center. But the gourmands who showed up eager to fill their baskets with dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes and muslin-wrapped Cheddar cheeses might have been surprised to find that the first event of the conference wasn't a seminar on artisan bread but an earnest panel on the global crisis of rising food prices. Slow Food--the anti-fast-food, anti-industrial-agriculture movement launched in 1986 by a left-wing Italian journalist--too often has tilted more toward high-class gastronomy than hard-to-solve public-health issues, a criticism the weekend conference sought to address. "This is a coming-out party for a more inclusive Slow Food movement," says culinary writer Michael Pollan, who moderated the panel.
With worldwide crop prices soaring, the élitist charge often tossed at Slow Food groups--which have some 16,000 members in the U.S.--suddenly stings a bit more. Who cares about the perfect mushroom when more people are going hungry? The movement's leaders are responding, however, by putting politics back at the center of Slow Food's agenda and calling for reform of a global agro-industry they say has failed farmers and eaters alike. "How did we get to a place where it is considered élitist to have food that is healthy for you?" asks Katrina Heron, head of the San Francisco-based Slow Food Nation. Read More
It’s interesting that Slow Food is worried about better tasting food when many people in this world are worried about having enough food. Agriculture has a big job ahead of it to figure out how we are going to feed our ever increasing population. At the same time, many people want to thwart agriculture’s growth by telling us what animals we can eat and forcing the production of some animals elsewhere. So far our industry has been up to the challenge by producing more food on less land, but at some point we will need to stop losing our ability to feed this nation.