By Brodie Jenkins
Hold on a minute! Drop the Whopper. Swerve out of the drive-in line, and head to Slow Food Nation '08, a weekend-long celebration of fabulous fresh food, for a tantalizing taste of the future—as provided by the past. The Slow Food and Roots of Change organizations are teaming up to prove to Slow Food newcomers that indulging in a cheap bite doesn't have to be a health sacrifice. The event, though divided between two San Francisco locations, represents a variety of North Bay businesses and activists.
Progressive restaurants and foodies from all over are discovering the endless benefits of growing their own gardens and eating local. But the shift from a Burger King nation to one that values real food is still a work in progress. To some, the idea of Slow Food appears too lofty and intangible for everyday application. Slow Food Nation '08, taking place Aug. 29–Sept. 1, feeds mouths and minds with delicious proof that fresh, nutritious environmentally sound food is within everybody's grasp.
"Because of what's happening with healthy issues worldwide, America's waking up to this food issue. They're seeing how central it is to our overall health as a nation," says Michael Dimock, president of Roots of Change. "But it's been confined to a fairly small group. There are perceptions surrounding it that it's elitist. All of us involved [in Slow Food Nation '08] are really reaching out to say we want to be partners. We represent passionate consumers."
For the hungry and penniless, two free public food fests—a special farmers market and "Slow on the Go"—fill S.F.'s Civic Center Plaza with inexpensive fresh goodies. In the middle of it all, the Slow Food Nation Victory Garden rises up as an inspiring symbol of sustainable bountiful innovation. The garden is just one in Slow Food's plan to install some 15 organic urban gardens throughout the city.
Real education happens Friday and Saturday at Herbst Theater and the Milton Marks Auditorium. The "Food for Thought" series hosts a slew of well-known doers and thinkers, including Alice Waters and Slow Food president Carlo Petrini, who give 90-minute lectures about their experiences transforming the world of food.
A Food Bill Declaration in the Rotunda of the San Francisco City Hall makes things even more official on Aug. 28. Calling for new vision for a 21st-century food, farm and agriculture policy, the bill is intended to capture 300,000 signatures and be taken to Washington for review.
That's not all. Check out www.slowfoodnation.org for more info.
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