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Taking It Slow

By Gretchen Giles

Just as European nations are protecting their Champagne and Parmesan and Port from generic designations unrelated to geography, so too are American providers beginning to understand that what is produced exactly and only here is unique and worthy. That's where the Slow Food Nation steps in. Working outside of, say, such besmirchments as the 2008 Farm Bill, SFN works to "inspire and empower" Americans, it says, to rebuild our food network, returning it from a mass distribution system that grossly impacts the planet to the simpler days when agriculture and consumption were cleaner and fairer.

Slow Food Nation's inaugural event is slated for Labor Day weekend in San Francisco's Ft. Mason and the downtown Civic Center area. Featuring such reliable speakers as Marion Nestle, Michael Pollan, Wendell Berry, Slow Food's own Carlo Petrini, Alice Waters and others, this three-day celebration of real food by and for real people will also offer a marketplace, a tasting pavilion and even an old-fashioned victory garden to be planted in the city's center; a dinner for 500 will be held around that garden.

Speaking of that hateful real Farm Bill, the one that rewards factory farming, allows subsidies for wealthy growers and is generally a meal ticket to those who need it least, SFN will offer a ceremonial presenting of a "model" farm bill that outlines what such a government doc would resemble were it truly by and for the people. Expect to see plenty of North Bay neighbors at this event, from the Russian River Slow Food chapter to many local providers. Most events at this three-day fandango are free, but some warrant ticket purchase now. For details, go to [ ]

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