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slow food

  • Subject: [cg] slow food
  • From: "oliver ginsberg" ginsberg@blinx.de
  • Date: Wed, 6 Nov 2002 22:17:46 +0100

Adam,

do I hear some sort of cynisism out of your statements here?

Slow food - which I happen to be a member of too, and I never have been
involved in any kind of poshy goumet clubs before (nor do I intend to join
one in the future) is about creating consciousness about the value of food
through sensory experience of the wealth of nature and artesanal (vs
industrial) food production. But it is also about social contact, about
eating together rather than everybody have a single portion TV-dinner, it is
about talking joking, singing at times - a life style that is centered more
around being than having.

Yes good food is more expensive (if you don't happen to produce it yourself,
but I bet there are not so many community gardeners making their own cheese,
olive oil, nut spreads etc.) . But I don't buy that
we-can't-afford-this-kind-of-food-story. In 99% of cases it is rather a
question of priorities. ( This is not an academic statement: I live for 20
years in a down town Berlin area with some 50% immigrants and 30%
unemployment rate).

When we started to build up a children's farm here (only little food
production here, because we find that children also need space for play and
undirected contact with natural elements) we quickly found, that some folks
on welfare spend three times as much money on video entertainment and beer
cans than on food for their children. Children are brought to believe that
it is more important to wear expensive sweat shop sport shoes than enjoy
good food together and they are given food money, which they spend half on
french fries and half on sweats.

Paradoxically the poorest families - many of whom happen to come from
Turkey, some Arabic and other African countries are those who still keep
some sort of healthy cooking traditions alive (Healthy at least in the sense
of using fresh vegetables rather than processed food)

We started to include cooking together in our recreational programs and
found that children like it. Not only do they like to work the food, but
also they enjoy to be in company with each other - an experience quite a few
don't know from home. Meanwhile some families have started to use the farm
on weekends for open air dinners, donate and enjoy home made cakes on the
farm, rather than buy cheep industrial "sugar containers".

All this is not a money thing - it is a decision on how you want to live and
spend your time.

Of course this is just a small edge of the picture.

In general terms we spend only an average of 12% of our income on food (the
numbers are from Germany, they are probably even lower in the US). And with
our personal consumer policy of as-cheap-and fast-as-possible we have
supported not only the growth of industrial food, but also the most
important single cause for destruction of natural resources and diversity
all over the world (which happens to be industrialized agriculture)

And this all has to do with how much we value (and enjoy) our food. Perhaps
for some people Slow food is a nice hobby - to me it is serious business,
but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be enjoyable as well (I don't
believe in that protestant work and enjoy in heaven ethics that is why I on
my behalf decided to become a Slow Fodie).

Perhaps if you invited me to cook a nice meal for you I would also do it,
but perhaps you might find it more worthwhile to look for people in your
neighborhood who share some sort of slow food attitude and come together
once a month to have a good and expensive dinner for the sake of saving our
little planet for the children. And that would be a good start...

food is 50% pleasure and 100% political...

best wishes

Oliver Ginsberg

Adam wrote:

...Sounds like a nice hobby, this movement. When "Slow Food"  becomes a
movement to actually save family farms by doing the work to support them
politically through zoning for the preservation of farm land,  by supporting
real farmers markets by advocacy and their food dollars, when it works to
create good jobs in artesanal industries with medical benefits ( like in
Europe), when it works to promote organic and healthful food for our poor
and provides the wherewithal to do it, when the members of "Slow Food"
decide to reach out, join and even start community gardens, then I'll take
more of an interest in what they're doing.

Of course, any time a "Slow Foodie" wants to come to my apartment as a
public service and cook a nice artesanal meal for me and my wife when we
come home, dead tired from work ( or any other poor wage slave, for that
matter) then, I might eat my words ;=)


Best wishes,
Adam Honigman



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