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Re: Slow Food and Food Security

  • Subject: Re: [cg] Slow Food and Food Security
  • From: "Deborah Mills" deborah@greencure.org
  • Date: Tue, 5 Nov 2002 08:05:12 -0800

This dialogue reminds me of the event I attended on Friday for one of Green
Cure's board members, Phil McGrath, who is one of the last of our local
family farmers. He was honored at a celebration for his environmentally
responsible farming practices (organic) from the Wishtoyo Foundation and the
Ventura Coastkeeper's. To some, it may not represent a call for honoring but
when you consider the fact that in Ventura County we have the most expense
land that I know of in California (or probably anywhere for that matter).
The going rate for our farmland is $2,000 a month verses maybe $200 per
month for property inland. As a result, our farmers are forced to grow
"luxury" crops that often times require high inputs of water, fertilizers,
and pesticides. So as you can see, farming organically and having to grow
luxury crops verses row crops, in Ventura County, is a major event.

My connection with the ongoing flow of conversation is, slow food or slow
farming is all the same but often times not seen as such. To illustrate my
point, here we are in a room filled with elitist type people, who supposedly
cared for the environment and the finer things in life. First we were served
a mixed green salad (that Phil could have easily supplied this establishment
with) and a piece of overcooked salmon with a side of broccoli (I think it
was broccoli) all for the small price of $125.00 (beverage not included, not
even coffee at the end). Everything that we were served was either trucked
or bussed in from who knows where. Whereas, the man we were honoring, Phil,
could have easily supplied the ingredients for our dinner (except the fish).
Phil has to also truck his "exotic" type vegetables out of the county to LA
in order to make the profit he needs to cover expenses, for example, land.
In the past, I have had discussions with our local restaurateurs and they
state they can't afford to purchase locally. What's wrong with this picture

Anyway, I often times do not do well at these types of events. I found the
snobbery of both the Moms against Pesticide use and the Indians presented a
little too much for my taste.  Needless to say, I spent most of my time with
outside with the wife of the flute player talking when I should have been
smoozing the crowd for big $$'s. It was clearly apparant to me that any
other conversation that I came close to having with anyone could have been
dangerous, as a reflection of a few close encounters with individuals.

To me, "slow foods" is altogether different but I can see where an
organization promoting this can attract elitist type who haven't a clue as
to where food comes from. For myself, I like to tie the two together. From
the garden to the table, sort of speak.

Deborah Mills

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