Slow Food Columbia is one of 200+ Slow Food USA chapters, located in Columbia, South Carolina. Our mission is to support the movement behind GOOD, CLEAN and FAIR foodways in the Midlands and beyond. Our convivium hosts workshops, potlucks and other events throughout the year to celebrate local + seasonal flavors; to showcase the culinary talents of our region's chefs, farmers, + artisan producers; to strengthen connections between members of our local food community; and to educate the public about the importance of knowing where your food comes from.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Slow Food Columbia at the Food and Farm Event of the Year

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Slow Food Columbia at the Food and Farm Event of the Year

Grateful and Humble 'Farmers of the Year' Flo & Portia from Chapel Hill Creamery gave great thanks for being present with "A room full of people who want to change the world" at our opening dinner reception. This kicking off a weekend's workshop conference with passions shared and benevolence all around.  Myself privileged to attend the food and farm event of the year on behalf of our Slow Food Columbia Chapter, I was joined by fellow advisory members Katie Welborn and Anna Redwine~
Anna, Ariel, Katie Slow Foodies 

This is my third year attending CFSA's Sustainable Agriculture Conference. First year as a recent horticulture graduate on the precipice of farming for Midland area farmers markets, second year as a 'New and Beginning Farmer' Dow Scholar recipient, and present this year representing Columbia's fair food ways and Midlands grassroots farm and food policy groups, Slow Food Columbia

We were greeted with a cornucopia of local, organic foods and a warm and insightful reception, while the hotel was a buzz with trade booths, seed exchange, food and farm literature and networking abound.  

The opening evening receptions dinner boasted the Goat. A heart warming Shepard's Pie with braised goat paired with quintessentially seasonal roasted roots, crucifer vegetables, and creamy goats cheese riddled throughout. The dinner heralded the likes of outstanding farmers, activists, and long time association members. Impassioned food council activists Grace and Carey of NC's Davidson's County Local Food Network, inspired the room with their community driven strategy to reach out and make the change we want to see in our neighborhoods and counties, "It's not about fighting the power. It's about being the power."
Carey & Grace Selfie with 800 CFSA Friends

Emotionally charged keynote speaker, Micheal Twitty, is a food writer, culinary historian and justice activist. He gave an equally charged sermon and captivated a room of foodies and farmers with the reminder that "Culinary justice is about giving recognition to those who started before us, from the 1600's to the freed men". His inherent love for the land and sentiments were shared by all there as he espoused eloquently, "The land is our health. The land is our wealth...Change the composition of our brains by changing the compositions of our soil."

The next few days followed suit with delicious organic local foods, fellowship and networking, along with workshop intensives and a healthy crop of how to's.  I adjourn home with a wealth of new knowledge and insight to marinate in, on how to farm better, feed more and an arsenal of seeds for next years garden. The inspiration to continue to strive to make healthy local foods and farms for our Midlands future is ever positively charged after such a worthwhile weekend at this year's Sustainable Agriculture Conference.    

Grateful for the opportunity to attend on behalf of Slow Food Columbia,

Ariel McClain
  Slow Food Columbia
  Midlands Food Alliance
  Humble Farm 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Eating Slow this September

Gathering around a table and sharing the pleasures of food grown on a farm is one of life's greatest creature comforts, and a pillar of the Slow Food community. We are happy to share the invitation to two community potluck events this September, below, and encourage you to join in celebrating Midlands-grown ingredients this fall with your neighbors! 

The Midlands Food Alliance is hosting a Lexington County Potluck at
Greener Acres Farm at 1390 Bub Shumpert Rd. in Pelion on Sunday
September 13th from 3-5pm and a Richland County Potluck at DOKO Farm
at 2101 Cedar Creek Road in Blythewood on Sunday, September 27th from
3-5pm. Join other farmers and eaters who support local food for a time
of meal sharing and fellowship. The mission of the Midlands Food
Alliance is to Advocate & Educate for a Sustainable & Equitable,
Localized Food System in the Midlands of South Carolina. The purpose
of the potlucks are to build relationships with others in your
community who also support local food production. Please bring your
plate and utensils (there will be a space to wash them at meal's end),
 a dish to share with serving utensil, and name-card of the dish and
its ingredients. Please RSVP to 803-360-3358 or

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Notice of Healthy Food Access Funding!

Image courtesy of Forest Clonts for Slow Food Columbia
Do you have an idea for a project to boost healthy food access in an underserved area in the Midlands region? Think mobile markets, farmers markets, grocery store, food hubs... Funding could be available, and we'd love to hear from you! 

In a message from the SC Community Loan Fund, SFC received notice that Midlands Housing Trust Fund and SCCLF have $4,000,000 in flexible, low rate capital available to finance projects throughout the state that: 1) provide affordable housing; 2) create access to food and essential services; 3) increase the quality and availability of neighborhood facilities; 4) create employment opportunities; 5) attract additional investment; and 6) strengthen the social and economic fabric of the community. More details are available at their Joint Funding Round Notice.

A mandatory application workshop for this funding round will be held on onTuesday, August 18th from 1:00-4:00 PM in Columbia, South Carolina. If you have a project idea to increase healthy food access in an underserved area, email!! 

More information about the healthy food retail loans from SCCLF. 

Loan Products
SCCLF provides loans up to $1,000,000 to finance acquisition, predevelopment, infrastructure, construction, renovation, leasehold improvements, machinery and equipment, working capital, and permanent financing business costs.
Eligible Projects
SCCLF finances the construction and renovation of retail and wholesale outlets including, but not limited to, grocery stores, corner stores, farmers markets, food hubs, and mobile markets selling healthy food in underserved South Carolina communities.
Eligible Applicants
Non-profit organizations, government entities, and for profit businesses are eligible to apply. 

Recently funded projects include the Harvest Park Food Hub in Spartanburg, SC. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

5th Annual Slow Food at Indie Grits Sustainable Chef Showcase, April 19!

New Chefs Join 5th Annual “Slow Food at Indie Grits” Sustainable Chefs Showcase on April 19, 2015 in Columbia, SC

Even more progressive, eco-conscious chefs will bring their A-game to the 5th annual Slow Food at Indie Grits “Sustainable Chefs Showcase,” potluck and party on Sunday, April 19, from 3-6pm at 711 Whaley in Columbia, South Carolina. 

Hosted by Slow Food Columbia and the Indie Grits Festival, the event sells out each year; tickets can be purchased starting March 1 at:

Images: Jonathan Sharpe

The Greater Columbia Society for the Preservation of Soul will provide guests with groovy tunes, while The Whig’s cash bar will feature top-notch wines by AdVintage and South Carolina-brewed beers. 

The Midlands’ most environmentally friendly chefs will be on hand to serve an array of complimentary hors d’oeuvres; each chef’s dish must feature at least one locally, sustainably produced major ingredient. For a lower-priced ticket, guests can put their creative minds to work and create a potluck dish to share with others.

*Cool news for potluck bringers! 
The Local Palate Magazine in Charleston will be on site to award a couple of prizes for our home chefs! It will be a very low-pressure contest; just something for fun for those who want to go wild with their potluck dishes. Most Innovative and Best Dish will each win a Le Creuset mini cocotte and a subscription to The Local Palate. Sweet!

**This just in: 

The gracious folks at FRS Restaurant Supply are donating 2 springtimey servingware sets for us to raffle! Bring some extra cashola, y'all. 

2015 Slow Food Columbia Sustainable Chefs
One asterisk indicates new chefs; two indicate those returning after long hiatus:

Chef Brandon Velie*, owner, Juniper

Chef Frank Bradley*, Bourbon

Chefs Henry Griffin** and Bertrand Gilli*, co-owners, Ristorante Divino

Chef Ryan Whittaker**, owner, 116 State

Chef JT Simms*, Tombo Grille

Chef Wesley Fulmer, Motor Supply Company Bistro

Chef Mike Davis, owner, Terra

Chef Travis Rayle, Rosso Trattoria

Chef Alex Suaudom du Monde, owner, Baan Sawan Thai Bistro

Chef Scott Hall, owner, Scott Hall Catering

Chef Blake Faries, Saluda's

Chef Todd Woods*, The Oak Table 

Chef Jessica Shillato, owner, Spotted Salamander Catering

Chef Benoit St. Jacques, Rosewood Market and Deli

Chef Kim Stone, Charleston Cooks!

Chef Gabrielle Watson, Whole Foods Market

Chef Bryan Tayara, owner, Our Local Catch

Chef Sharon Wright, owner, Good Life Café

Since being founded in 2011, “Slow Food at Indie Grits” has been a sold-out “laid-back,” “fun,” and “family-friendly” celebration that is recognized as “a must for foodies in the Midlands.”

Slow Food Columbia potlucks are a place where resourcefulness, simplicity, and creative juices shine all the way to plate presentation. Past Slow Food potluck favorites include dishes like radish butter, tomato-chocolate truffles, and free-range coq au vin.

For a lower-priced ticket, guests are invited to bring a potluck dish to contribute. Guests should prepare roughly 20 small portions of a dish made with at least one sustainable, local ingredient. Other ticket levels are available for those who do not opt to bring potluck dishes.   

Part of Slow Food Columbia’s mission is to bring together the sustainable food community in recognition of “food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it, and good for the planet.” Slow Food at Indie Grits is an official partner event of the 9th Annual Indie Grits Festival.

Slow Food at Indie Grits sustainable chefs showcase
Date + Time: Sunday, April 19, 2015, 3pm-6pm
Location: Market Building at 711 Whaley (next to 701 Whaley)
Host: Slow Food Columbia and the Indie Grits Festival
Tickets: $25 general; $20 Slow Food and Nickelodeon members; $10 potluck bringers

Festival pass sales, which include Slow Food at Indie Grits admission, are available at, or visit the Indie Grits Box Office at The Nickelodeon Theatre, 1607 Main Street, Columbia, SC, 29201, 803.254.8234,

Join or renew your Slow Food USA membership here for a 20% discount on tickets:

[Email your membership receipt to, and we'll send you your discount code for the member rate!] 

Volunteer for a free ticket!

About Slow Food Columbia
Slow Food Columbia is one of 200+ Slow Food USA chapters. Our mission is to support the movement behind GOOD, CLEAN and FAIR foodways. We host workshops, potlucks and other events throughout the year that celebrate local + seasonal flavors; showcase the culinary talents of our region's chefs, farmers, + artisan producers; strengthen connections between members of our local food community; and educate the public about the importance of knowing where their food comes from.

About the 9th Annual Indie Grits Festival
What started as a DIY festival for a tight-knit and dedicated audience, Indie Grits has grown into a staple of the city’s cultural life, giving novice to advanced media makers a venue for sharing their interest in independent media making, while also giving thousands of visitors and locals access to a progressive cultural life unmatched in the Southeast. The festival is hosted by the non-profit art cinema, The Nickelodeon Theatre. For full festival info, visit

Contact:   Tracie Broom, Flock and Rally, 415.235.5718,

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Tradition of Togetherness

The Tradition of Togetherness

December 26, 2014

By Ariel McClain, owner The Humble Farm

Greetings fellow slow foodies, in the midst of the holiday bustle, the planning, shopping, celebrating the advents of the season with our family and friends let us muse in the joy of good tidings and cheers with gratuity for the tradition of togetherness. As we gather here and there, these, the easiest of days to express gratuity for our community producers, our work partners, our near and dear friends, neighbors, both close and distant relations; let us give thanks with our appreciation and support, let's pay it forward where we can.

Against the grain of the 'December Dilemma' with values availed centered around and about consumption, there are ethical options and locavore choices to consider. The choice to decide what we consume, where we spend our dollars and how to integrate a meaningful intention with each purchase or gesture is made easy while entertaining the wares of our local purveyors. This year I happened upon the consumer conscience alleviation while perusing a locals market of craftsman, producers and merchants, not lacking of exemplary slow foodesque exchanges of  local goodies to indulge in and gift  to. Also, not lacking in expressive holiday greetings, warm hugs with generous smiles and heart warming feelings, engaged with sincere, virtuous producers and local wares sellers, market makers and goers together in tradition.  I cannot help to take notice of the additional assuage each exchange with a local producer or crafter imbibes. 

Amidst the shopping sprees, culinary expeditions, the gatherings, the intoxication of sweet home baked treats and feasts there is inherently togetherness, heritage, goodwill, a holiday season with a legacy of humanity. This holiday motor hums of holiday bells and jingle,  as well as, sighs of content from full hearts and bellies. Past the enchanted spell of the holiday festivities, fast approaching a new year of promise and progress may we recall the brightening of fellowship, fine foods and the traditions of  togetherness we can look forward to again in all our days of the coming year.