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Slow food movement catching on locally

Published: Wednesday, March 3, 2010 11:11 a.m. CST

We all know what fast food is, but what is slow food?

Slow food is good-tasting food that’s produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, according to Slow Food USA, a New York-based organization that supports the slow food movement. 

Slow Food USA said slow food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. The slow food movement was founded to counteract fast-food culture, emphasizing locally produced food that tastes good and does not harm the environment in its production. 

Cara Newkirk, member of the recently formed Slow Food City’s Edge chapter, said the movement officially began when delegates from 15 countries endorsed a manifesto written by founding member Folco Portinari in December 1989. 

Slow Food International is the nonprofit organization founded in 1989 that represents the interests of the global slow food movement. There are more than 100,000 members in 132 countries and more than 200 slow food chapters in the U.S. 

Slow Food International said the slow food movement is founded upon this concept of eco-gastronomy, which recognizes the strong connections between plate and planet.   

“Plate and planet are related,” Newkirk said. 

She explains what the slow food movement is all about. 

“[It is] supporting and celebrating the food traditions of the world,” Newkirk said. “[And it is] believing that pleasure and quality in everyday life can be achieved by slowing down, respecting the convivial traditions of the table and celebrating the diversity of the earth’s bounty.”

Slow Food USA was founded in 2000, and the Slow Food Chicago chapter was formed soon thereafter. The Slow Food City’s Edge chapter was unofficially formed in November 2008 and then formally approved by Slow Food USA in June 2009. City’s Edge held its first meeting in February.   

City’s Edge was formed by five local women involved in various aspects of the food industry with a passion to bring the slow food principles to the Fox Valley area. These individuals are Newkirk, Bronwyn Weaver, Victoria Nowicki, Laura Andersen and Penny Newkirk. 

Serving DeKalb, DuPage and Kane counties, City’s Edge has approximately 20 members at present. Newkirk, a food ingredient consultant, said the chapter is actively seeking new members to join the organization. 

City’s Edge holds various educational- and food-centered events to raise awareness about the slow food movement as well as draw interest in becoming a member of the local chapter. Last year, the group assisted the Kane County Forest Preserve with its annual maple syrup tapping event as well as offered a children’s lettuce garden planting activity at the Geneva Green Market.

City’s Edge also participated in the Time For Lunch campaign by holding an event at Heritage Prairie Market, which promotes Slow Food USA’s initiative to raise awareness about the issues that cause child obesity and health problems.  

Newkirk said “slow foods” such as produce sold at a farmers’ market, heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables, farmhouse cheeses and other artisanal products are a part of our cultural identity.

 “They reflect generations of commitment to the land and devotion to the processes that yield the greatest achievements in taste,” she said.

Find out more:

Slow Food City’s Edge will hold two or three informational meetings this year, along with several special events. Their next informational meeting will be held in June with a garden walk tour. For more information, e-mail info@slowfoodcitysedge.org.

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