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.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Slow Food Columbia Celebrates Thanksgiving Early with Potluck

Our November meeting was a potluck and we had a great turn out. Look at those "purple haze" carrots from City Roots! Not to mention the delicious local shrimp, sausage, beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and basil members brought (plus much more).

Thanks, Slow Foodies, for a the good food and conversation. Keep your eyes peeled for an email update.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Call to Action from a Local Organic Farmer

We recently got wind of a terrific letter -- a call to action, really -- written by one of our most active Slow Food Columbia members, Ben Dubard. He sent it out this week to the CSA he runs with his wife Kristen at their organic farm in Cedar Creek, SC, Five Leaves Farm, and we wanted to put it out there should some budding Slow Food enthusiasts come across it and feel inspired.

Here's an excerpt (we've added some headers in bold and a few  links out to thought-provoking sites, blogs, etc. for you multi-taskers out there):

Why Vote Organic with Your Grocery Dollar?
How is it that the food I grow can cost more? Well, there are a myriad of answers to that question, and whole books have been written on the subject.

The Problem with Those Cheaper, Conventionally Farmed Meats and Veggies
In brief, the cheap way to grow food is to spray toxic chemicals, pollute the soil and the water, employ illegal immigrants and abuse them, and ruthlessly seek to eliminate competition. While I generally don't talk like this to avoid making people uncomfortable (who wants to walk around all day feeling guilty for what they have eaten?), it needs to be discussed.

Our Opportunity
Restoring the health of the planet through farming is possibly the greatest environmental opportunity out there. Even as corporations steal the good name that organic farmers have labored to make, the urgency of restorative agriculture has taken precedence.

Concrete Goals: Build Topsoil, Eschew Agricultural Chemicals
It is no longer enough merely to do no harm; it is time to fix the problems at the root. I see our job as growing food AND building topsoil. By building topsoil we sequester CO2. By building topsoil we assist the land in producing clean water. By refraining from using agricultural chemicals, the amphibians and fish in our waters thrive. Birds come in profusion to our farm to eat the insects that are kept in balance by not poisoning the fields.

I could go on at length, but I hope that you get the idea.

Hey Slow Food Columbia! See you at our All-Local Potluck this Monday, Nov. 16! 6:30pm, 2404 Park; bring your favorite autumn dish made with all local ingredients, and consider bringing $5 or more for our farmer friends in Georgia. The September rains left many farms ruined. You can read more about these farms on the Slow Food Atlanta website and watch relevant video. Please help us support our fellow members to build their farms back!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Heard of the Southern Foodways Alliance?

Any of you Slow Food Columbians familiar with the Southern Foodways Alliance?

(Slow Food Columbia members Emile deFelice of Caw Caw Creek Pastured Pork and Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills have -- they are SFA Hall of Fame inductees!)

At the most recent monthly Slow Food Columbia meeting, we were discussing the fact that we'd like to know even more about like-minded* organizations, websites, and blogs throughout South Carolina and the greater Southeast United States.

The Southern Foodways Alliance has just won a 2009 Travel + Leisure Global Vision Award, given for "the latest and best efforts at cultural preservation, environmental conservation, and community-building through tourism." They provide a great model for outreach, publishing, and promotion. See below!

*Hey, Slow Food Columbia! Do you know of other local, regional, and national blogs, websites, or organizations from whom we might take further inspiration in our mission to promote "good, clean and fair" food in South Carolina and beyond? Comment below! 

From page two of the Travel + Leisure article:
Culinary Heritage: Southern Foodways Alliance, Oxford, Mississippi
"An exuberant champion of Southern food culture—from its barbecue pit masters and bourbon distilleries to its butterscotch-pie breakfasts and deviled-eggs competitions—the Southern Foodways Alliance celebrates and records the region’s diverse gastronomic landscape through documentary films, books, and not-for-the-calorie-shy field trips and events. The Alliance’s food-trails program, which has mapped a Tamale Trail through the Mississippi Delta, a Barbecue Trail in the Southeast, and Boudin and Gumbo Trails across Louisiana, introduces travelers to the small-scale producers and off-the-beaten path restaurants that are the soul of Southern cuisine."

The Southern Foodways Alliance is an institution of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. Their blog is here:
Thanks to Slow Food Columbia member (and recent State Art Collection inductee!) Anna Redwine for reminding us about this engaging resource!

Photo reprinted, some rights reserved, from the Southern Foodways Alliance Flickr page.
Post author Tracie Broom is a freelance writer/editor and South Carolina native, back in Columbia after 10 years as Food Editor at San Francisco, CA city guide SF Station. She publishes a foodie blog called The Yum Diary and is thrilled to rejoin the Midlands' flourishing progressive community.