Slow Food California 2018 Leaders Meeting

By May 8, 2018 May 6th, 2019 News
Slow Food California 2018 Leaders Meeting on their tour at Veggielution

Slow Food leaders from chapters around the state gathered for a Slow Food California 2018 Leaders Meeting to share plans, ideas, hopes, dreams. The meeting, on April 12 and 13, was hosted by Slow Food South Bay, in Cupertino.

Day One started with a tour of Veggielution Community Farm to give leaders from elsewhere in California an idea of the good work taking place in the South Bay (see featured image). The tour proceeded to the Hermitage Brewing Company for a tour led by Beermeister Greg and an extended Happy Hour in the tap room. 

Greg Filippi, Head Brewer & Cellarmaster, explains how the beer of Hermitage Brewing Company is “A Retreat From the Ordinary”.

Greg Filippi, Head Brewer & Cellarmaster, explains how the beer of Hermitage Brewing Company is “A Retreat From the Ordinary”.

On day Two, after a welcome and Introductions, the opening exercise explored how to create a Slow Food Manifesto (Mission Statement) for your chapter, an important  process in identifying each chapter’s core values, branding ourselves and communicating with our members and the interested public. Theinternational Slow Food movement officially began when delegates from 15 countries endorsed a manifesto, written by founding member Folco Portinari, on December 10, 1989.

Next up was a presentation about the California Grain Campaign by Farmer Mai Nguyen. Nguyen gave a very informative update about their campaign, “Whole Grains for a Wholesome Diet.”

“We’ve missed out on the whole grain our whole lives,” Mai told us. “The unique characteristics and beneficial nutrients that excite our palate and nourish our bodies have been separated, discarded. Lets bring them back to the bowl, to the plate, to our local food shed.”

The California Grain Campaign is coming to a farmers market near you. Its goal is to increase the visibility, knowledge, and consumption of California-grown whole grains.

Farmer Mai Nguyen is growing four varieties of wheat right here in Sebastopol in the Two Rock area..Farmer Mai, with Kathleen de Chadenedes a Slow Food Russian River member who also sits on the Board of Slow Food California, presented and answered questions about the Grain Campaign and attendees had opportunity to sample biscuits made with four types of locally grown wheat, and learn how most of the nutrients of wheat are lost in industrial milling.

A new community of millers, bakers and farmers is working to change all of this. The Grain Campaign is asking for a commitment from participating bakers to incorporate 20% locally grown whole grain flour by 2020,.

Tasting of four grains, Sonora, Chiddam Blanc, Spelt and Red Fife. at the Slow Food California 2018 Leaders Meeting in Cupertino.

Tasting of four grains, Sonora, Chiddam Blanc, Spelt and Red Fife at the Slow Food California 2018 Leaders Meeting in Cupertino.

The afternoon session of Day Two started with a bright spot about the One Seed One Community project in the South Bay with Hallie Salo.

Hallie works with a local Seed Bank that is affiliated with the local public library. Their goal is to ask the public to plant an extra row yearly, for donating to local food banks. (More…)

One Seed, One Community is based on “one book, one city” or “community read” programs. Instead of uniting a community in reading a single book, common ground is found by growing the same seed.

Charity Kenyon and Brenda Ruiz from the Slow Food California Policy committee, guided us through the current food policy landscape and provided action steps on how to engage with these issues through Slow Food California and National Policy committees.

After the meeting Kenyon wrote us: “Slow Food California is pleased to be the principal supporters of food justice discussions at Slow Food Nations this year. We believe that both joy and justice are required to bend the food system toward good, clean, and fair.

Here’s what we plan to support: Raj Patel (remember Stuffed and Starved?) will give a keynote talk about capitalism and unraveling the roots of injustice. Professor John Ikerd will talk about eliminating hunger, continuing a conversation from Eco-Farm 2018. And we’re participating with a national working group drafting an Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Manifesto. I hope you’re coming to the Leader Summit to participate in these conversations!

These food justice efforts are aligned with Slow Food’s global goal to radically renew the organization, making it more open and inclusive and addressing the challenges that await us in the future. But we need your help! California folks were big donors last year. We need your help again to bring diverse voices to Slow Food Nations. Please consider making a donation today.

Are you interested in joining our new virtual book club? Or want to get involved more deeply? Get in touch directly at info@slowfoodcalifornia.org “

Farmer Mai (Nguyen) taught us the difference between whole and refined grain, knowledge we'll use during our yearlong partnership with the California Grain Campaign.

Farmer Mai Nguyen taught us the difference between whole and refined grain, knowledge we’ll use during our yearlong partnership with the California Grain Campaign.

Dinner for Day 2 we made ourselves, under the guidance of Joni Sare. David Kaisel brought Capay Mills wheat for piadini and ravioli. It was a great way to end a day and a half of work, food and joy.

On Day Two we made dinner ourselves, under the guidance of hostess and chef Joni Sare.

We ended the afternoon session with a short, fun hands on exercise, led by Julie Conway Kendrick of Slow Food Mendocino to share what is working today for both Slow Food CA and Slow Food USA, and building goals for a better future.

We then broke into small group “World Cafe” style conversations about several topics, including Slow Meat, Building Partnerships, Recruitment, and Food Policy and Justice.

After sitting most of the day, it was a great idea to do an Edible Tree Walk in Joni’s neighborhood with a naturalist, who pointed out trees, plants, and herbs in neighboring yards.

WE ended our conference with a collectively cooked dinner, using teams of 4-5 people each making a dish featuring CA grains and local greens. David Kaisel of Capay Mills in Rumsey in the Capay Valley (Yolo County) had brought his wheat and showed us how to make making piadini and ravioli. It was a great way to end a day-and- a-half of work, food and joy.

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