Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Slow Food Movement
Have you heard of the Slow Food Movement? If not, it is time you were introduced.
Slow Food is a worldwide movement founded in 1989 to "counteract ... the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat..."
And from Slow Food USA: "We reconnect Americans with the people, traditions, plants, animals, fertile soils and waters that produce our food."
I try very hard to "be slow". Almost everything I make is from scratch, using minimally processed ingredients, grown or produced as close to my home as possibly. I have a passion for good, clean, fresh food.
But I do understand that not everyone has been introduced to this way of eating.
Slow Food is working very hard to reach those who have no connection to where their food is grown. Those who think their nourishment comes from boxes and bags. Who don't know the beauty of a meal served with conversation instead of television pixels.
For several years I taught school in inner-city Houston. I watched everyday as my students ate cafeteria food that was originally canned, frozen or boxed. I watched as mushy vegetables were pushed aside for the other veggie choice, french fries. (not sure I blame them after trying the highly salty, canned, overcooked vegetable). I watched as "fruit drink" was the liquid of choice over milk. I saw fresh fruit never being touched.
But then problem doesnt just lie in the cafeteria.
I would beg parents to send their children to school with breakfast in their stomachs. Several times a week the 10 am headache would appear on a student, only to disappear after lunch. I would encourage a healthy afternoon snack of fruit or cheese to be sent, only to hear the rustle of a bag (or several bags) of chips or cookies being opened.
Why this lengthy diatribe? Because I want you to know that Slow Food USA is working hard to educate children and their families about fresh foods and to legislate change on cafeteria lunches.
Slow Food in Schools and Time for Lunch are two programs set up to educate children to develop a healthy relationship with food. The thought is this: If children see where their food comes from; if they are able to have a 'hands on' experience in growing that food; if they learn the importance of sharing food with family and friends, a new generation of healthy eaters will be born.
Understand this: No one is completely to blame. Many schools don't have the money they need to purchase healthier food. In many urban neighborhoods in the US, access to nourishing fresh fruits and vegetables is only a dream. And if these foods are available, the cost can be higher than eating at McDonalds, which is not helpful to poverty stricken families.
We need to start somewhere, and the Slow Food organization is a great way to get involved.
With chapters all over the US, if you are interested in learning more about the Slow Food movement in your area, click this link. Please take a look, as the school program is only one of the many that exist. It just happens to be an interest of mine.
And thank you for listening!