Thursday, May 10, 2007

It's Official: Alice Kicks Off Planning for Slow Food Nation

By John Birdsall
Thu, May 10, 2007 at 12:07 AM

At a lunch honoring Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini, Alice Waters marked the official start of organizing for Slow Food Nation, an event the Chez Panisse founder described as a "World's Fair of food." "We all know food as a source of joy and health," Waters told a group of food journalists, activists, SF mayor Gavin Newsom, and Petrini himself, assembled at the San Francisco restaurant Greens, "but it can also be an expression of our politics." Scheduled to open next May at Fort Mason Center, the four-day Slow Food Nation event aims - in the words of its press release - to "provide a forum for food professionals, farmers, activists, and people from all walks of life." Organizers promise a Slow Food Marketplace ("a large, bustling marketplace with some of the best regional, sustainable produce," according to the release), an International Food Film Festival, and a speaker series dubbed the Slow Food Forum. Petrini, an Italian journalist, is on a tour to flog his book Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should be Good, Clean, and Fairhttp://www.amazon.com/Slow-Food-Nation-Blueprint-Changing/dp/0847829456 , which is in part a philosophical defense of the Slow Food movement. "Why should this movement begin in San Francisco?" Petrini asked the audience through a translator, referring to next year's Slow Food Nation event. "It must begin here because so many things have begun here," quickly adding, "everything has begun here." The author went on to list what he sees as the Bay Area's innovations: the popularization of farmers' markets, the organic movement, and a defense of biodiversity. For her part, Waters (who's helping coordinate next year's sprawling event) suggested how the American political climate has already changed, thanks to the popularity of books like Fast Food Nationhttp://books.google.com/books?id=yNFN1OpnkBkC&dq=Fast+Food+NAtion&pg=PP1&ots=l_kkwybs4Z&sig=lIgj5PZ4JxeO_n42hDZHeC37JE0&prev=http://www.google.com/search%3Fclient%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den%26q%3DFast%2BFood%2BNAtion%26ie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8&sa=X&oi=print&ct=title . "Bill Clinton may have stopped by to eat a Whopper," she said, "but I don't think we'll be seeing Obama or Hillary or John McCain doing that today."

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