The Slow Food Movement

by Brandi Savitt – June 13, 2011

Eat Locally & Affordably

This past weekend, a few friends and I had the great pleasure of taking a tour of Stone Barns, the 80-acre four season farm and home of the acclaimed farm-to-table restaurant Blue Hill,  just north of New York City.  Once a dairy farm owned by the Rockefellers, the Rockefellers have since designated the farm as a nonprofit institution dedicated to creating a healthy and sustainable food system, training farmers in resilient, restorative farming techniques, and educating children about the sources of their food.  –All the essence of the Slow Food Movement.

The idea for our adventure began when we wanted to do something special for our friend Jocelyn’s birthday.  Our food loving group not only enjoys to eat (a little too much), but we also are interested in learning more about the food we buy.  However, the sad truth is:  eating well today can be extremely expensive! So, how can you support local farmers and eat the freshest, cleanest food possible without spending your entire paycheck? The first step is to get educated.  So, this week on Fab & Fru, we’ve dedicated the entire issue to talking about eating well and spending wisely. And first up is – The Slow Food Movement!

What is Slow Food Anyway?

Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization with supporters in 150 countries around the world who are linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment.

A non-profit, member-supported association, Slow Food was founded in 1989 in Italy by Carlo Petrini.  The purpose of the movement was to counter the rise of fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.

Many local restaurants and farmers in the US are embracing the philosophy of the Slow Food Movement, which is one reason you see more and more Farmer’s Markets popping up and restaurants using organic, locally produced produce, meat and dairy.  People are finally going back to basics and they want to know where their food is coming from!

Know Thy Farmer (TM)

Eating organic doesn’t always mean that you have to buy your produce and meat at the most expensive health food store in town!  And while the price for locally grown veggies sometimes costs a little more than your packaged salad mix at Costco, shopping at weekly Farmer’s Markets or buying a share in a CSA is a great way to pay less for quality produce than at many other grocery stores.

Buying directly from the farmer also allows you to inquire about the farm’s practices of how they grow their fruits, veggies and raise their animals.  -Paying for the government’s organic seal of approval may not be an affordable option for all small farms, but talking to the farmer about their use of pesticides and fertilizer will give you an even better idea of how what you are actually eating and if it’s chemical free, free range and healthy!

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