Last weekend, groups across the U.S. held "eat ins" to send a message to Congress about the Child Nutrition Act, which governs the National School Lunch Program. Not only was this event a great opportunity to get heard, participants got to learn about Slow Food USA and the movement as a whole.
Why eat ins?
According to Slow Food USA president Josh Viertel (pictured to the right), it just felt like the concept went right along with the spirit of the Slow Food Movement. At the picnic here in Atlanta, we were honored to have Viertel attend and speak. He told us the Slow Food origin story.
The organization started in 1986 in Italy when a McDonald's opened at the Piazza di Spagna. A group of Italians got together and made a huge batch of fresh pasta that they handed out. Folks sat and ate and chanted, "We don't want fast food. We want slow food." A movement was born.
Slow Food events are sometimes a bit pricey, and this communal pot luck format allowed a lot of folks who wouldn't normally be able to attend a Slow Food event to do so. In that same spirit, Slow Food USA has altered their membership fee for the month of September. Normally, it's $60 per year to join the group, but this month they're asking folks to donate what they can for membership. Give less if you can't afford the $60. Give more if you can.
Why Slow Food?
The Slow Food International philosophy is:
Slow Food is good, clean and fair food. We believe that the food we eat should taste good; that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health; and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work.
Slow Food is about taking responsibility for what's on our plates by learning about its production and supporting those producers. Rather than being consumers, Slow Food advocates believe that we should "become a part of and a partner in the production process."
That can mean any number of things. You could hit up your local farmers market or join a CSA. It could be something as simple as taking the time to prepare fresh, healthy, organic meals with your friends or your family. It's about reconnecting with food and promoting sustainable food systems - keeping it good, clean and fair.
If you're interested in joining Slow Food USA, I definitely encourage you to take advantage of the September "give what you can" promotion! You can also learn more about their Time for Lunch Campaign right here. If you haven't had a chance to sign the Time for Lunch petition, there's still time to do that, too!
Did you attend an eat in in your area? We'd love if you shared stories and pictures in the comments!