This weekend Slow Food hits Baghdad by the Bay. With a slogan of "Good, clean, and fair," the international movement started in 1989 launches perhaps its finest moment to date with a shindig billed as the largest celebration of American food (some might say that Thanksgiving takes that honor, but I suppose it's a matter of definitions). The confab runs Friday through Monday in San Francisco and will include talks and demonstrations, activities, and, rumor has it, eating. Slowly and with great pleasure.
Sadly, I am unable to make it up for the festivities, but I support the cause!
What is Slow Food all about? Though it started out with the simple idea of slowing down and enjoying quality food (the antithesis of McDonald's and it's ilk, natch), the movement has now expanded its mission to promote environmental and social concerns: make food in a way that doesn't hurt the earth or exploit workers or animals. From the Slow Foods FAQ:
Slow Food USA is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to supporting and celebrating the food traditions of North America through programs and activities dedicated to Taste Education, Defending Biodiversity and Building Food Communities. Slow Food USA believes that pleasure and quality of life is greatly increased when we make time to cook and share meals with family and friends using ingredients that honor our traditions and our land.
Free events include talks, music, and dancing performed on the small stage known as "the soapbox"; access to food stalls hawking local produce as well as hot foods prepared using sustainable ingredients, and some films at Fort Mason Sunday evening (reserve tickets in advance). Paid admission brings access to certain speakers, workshops, and tastings, but at this point the choice stuff is gone -- check out remaining activities on the Slow Food Ticket Page.
Aleta Watson over at the San Jose Mercury ran a nice article Wednesday describing this weekend's festival.
For the Twitter set: Slow Food Nation (which, 27 minutes ago, brought this tidbit: Whole Foods is about to reach an agreement with Comida Giusta for higher produce prices to guarantee better conditions for workers).