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, 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.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

People Like to Talk about Local Food....They also like Happy Hour

The COPASCities program at USC in conjunction with the Midlands Local Food Collaborative surveyed 77 food producing farmers throughout the Midlands between August 2013-July 2014.  The main purposes of the survey were to: identify barriers farmers face in producing and selling food for human consumption; the level of demand for locally farmed foods; and the potential need for a food hub in the region. The findings of the survey tell us that farmers see access to capital, processing regulations, the need for skilled labor, the labor pay scale, and food safety certifications as the top obstacles to farming in the Midlands. 

Quotes from farmers throughout the Midlands who were surveyed are below. Hope these snippets help us understand the perspectives of Midlands food-producing farmers. 

"The demand for Local/Real food is overwhelming. We have customers from other towns that come to buy from us because they may not be near a 'healthy' grocery store, etc. that has food that they feel good about feeding to their families. The demand is here."

"Competition for everything comes in at once when it comes to produce; I'm always competing with other farmers."

"People like to talk about local food, but they also like happy hour. People here aren't going to put a dent in their happy hour money to be able to buy food locally."

"There needs to be a legislative mandate that makes some entities buy local. We don't need to be selling California produce in stores during times when local growers are/can grow the same things."

"We need to secure natural laws, grandfather in that every human has the right to produce/grow/sell their food and eat it themselves. No one's regulating what squirrels eat, and they're just fine."

"The days of subsidies helping farmers are few and far between. And we don't want more loans. Clarity with the Farm Bill and what it means and clearing up the programs would be useful."

"Having to have the right facilities to process....I would really like to process greens. There really is no place for me to process them. I'd have to go all of the way to Hilton Head from Orangeburg."

"Regulation: I'm on FDA's target list because what I produce is full of bacteria (good bacteria--but sometimes bad bacteria can get in). Grocery stores are starting to not carry my product and products like mine for liability reasons."

"Knowing what can/can't do in terms of growing, zoning laws, etc. It's difficult to navigate different levels of government's laws, rules, and regulations."

"Transportation is a HUGE issue for me...How do we create efficiencies with delivery and distribution?"

"A month and a half ago I attended a conference in Greenville and was discouraged because I was surrounded by small farmers, and I'm not a small farmer. I didn't like the tones of these small guys talking about the ‘big growers’."

"I'm old and may not farm for much longer. I used to sell to Piggly Wiggly 20 years ago, but now they’re going away and big grocery stores have laws and can't buy from the little guys as easily anymore because of all of the laws now."

"Small farmers are dying out. Where are our new farmers? You have to have a whole lot of money to start a farm. And all the good land is disappearing."

"We used to make and sell jams and jellies but now you have to do that in a commercial kitchen and regulations are strict so we don't do it anymore."

"My biggest problem is processing- the plant is 3 hours away and it is very costly."

"Farming inputs cost more now due to the price of petroleum and competition from China and other countries are using more technical ag supplies like fertilizer which makes it harder to compete."

"Would love to have products in ‘bricks and mortar’ so that we don't have to physically sell it ourselves. We could focus on the farm."

"I can't sell to Bi-Lo because I don't have enough liability insurance. So food hubs sound good. I'm not lacking markets though--If I grow it, I can sell it! Children also need to learn where food comes from. And people need to learn about farming so they stop being nit picky and wanting to shut down big ag. At the same time I don't believe in big farms raking in tax incentives and subsidies."

"If you have a passion or an idea to produce a product it's just such a daunting task to figure out what's needed to be "legal" to sell to the general public."