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Slow Food (Fall 2009 Article)

We live in a world that puts no emphasis on slowing down.
Everyday, millions of Americans hastily grab dinner from
a fast food drive-through, scarfing down convenient meals
in the front seats of their cars. By the time they get home,
eating dinner has just become one less thing to think about
in this whirlwind lifestyle geared towards constantly moving
forward.
But let’s stop and think about that food for a second. Suddenly
this fast food routine may not seem like the best solution
to our daily time-crunch. Did the beef in our hamburger
come from a cow that spent its life grazing on a pasture,
eating a natural grass diet, or was it immobilized in a confined
animal feeding operation (CAFO) eating an unnatural
diet of corn and soybeans? Is the employee who handed
us our meal being paid a fair wage? What about the farmer
who supplied the beef? Is the worker at the processing
plant/slaughterhouse unionized? Finally, is this food nutritious
to us, our ecosystem, and our environment? Because
our ecosystem is a closed system, toxins in the manure
from a CAFO can seep into water run-off, producing harmful
contaminants in our drinking water and fish. Choosing
what we eat for dinner affects more than just our own bodies.
Now you probably have a better idea why the Slow Food
Movement is most easily defined as the opposite of Fast
Food. Slow Food is stopping to think about the broader
picture of the food we eat with an appreciation for what we
put into our bodies and our surrounding community. This is
achieved on many levels – from putting a face to your food
by starting a conversation with the farmer at the farmer’s
market who is selling you his heirloom tomatoes, or taking
the time to prepare and eat a meal with your closest friends
and family. Slow Food, simply put, is: “good, clean, and fair
food.” This international movement was started by Carlo
Petrini, an Italian who campaigned in the 1980’s against
the implementation of a McDonald’s on Rome’s Spanish
Steps.
It is impossible to deny the satisfaction of a delicious meal
prepared together by family and friends. Slow Food takes
this one step further by recognizing that from its roots, our
meal can be sustainable to our earth, grown and handled
by respectfully-treated people, and composed of healthy
plants and animals.
So, what can you do? Vote with your fork! Renowned
journalist and author Michael Pollan says: “The wonderful
thing about this is we got three votes a day to change the
world.” It’s important to remember that Slow Food is not about being a Purist, but rather about just doing what you can. Here are some tips on how you can get involved with the Slow Food Movement.
•Buy locally. Buying locally is an easy way to directly support your community.
It also cuts down on food miles: the amount of fossil-fuel energy used in the travel, packaging, and processing of your food. If you can, buy locally at the farmers market for an opportunity to meet the people who grow your food! Two markets close to Emory are the Morningside Farmers Market, which is open from 8-11am on Saturdays in the Virginia Highlands, and the Decatur Farmers Market, open 3-6pm on Wednesdays on the corner between Church and Commerce Street.
•Buy ethically. Fair Trade certified items produced by a
living-wage paid worker ensures social and environmental
standards and helps small farmers in developing countries.
Coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, honey, chocolate and bananas
are all common Fair Trade certified products.
•Go out to eat! Don’t feel like cooking? You can still support
the Slow Food Movement by going out to eat! Restaurants
that use local and organic ingredients in Atlanta are
plentiful. Rosebud, Restaurant Eugene, and Dynamic Dish
are a few examples of delicious and Slow Food supporting
eateries.
•Volunteer. Slow Food Emory often pairs up with Slow
Food Atlanta to engage in local volunteer efforts. Supporting
local farmers in need by donating to the Georgia Farm
Floods Relief Fund, marching in a parade to advocate slow
food in Atlanta public schools, and lending a hand at a local
farm are all examples of past Slow Food Emory events
dedicated to volunteering.
•Okay, I’m a freshman without a car or kitchen. Is there
anything else I can do? Yes! Every little action counts.
Choose the Fair Trade coffee option at Jazzman’s. Consider
skipping the roast beef at the DUC and challenge
yourself to eat vegetarian for a day to be more sustainable.
Buy some fresh bread, organic granola, and tasty fruits and
vegetables at the Cox Hall Bridge Farmers Market every
Tuesday on campus from 2-6pm. Join Emory Green Dining
Team to have a say in what type of food is served at
the DUC. Finally, eat with friends! Community building is a
cornerstone of the Slow Food Movement.
•Join Slow Food Emory. Slow Food Emory is dedicated
to contributing to the international Slow Food Movement in
a way that is both accessible and adaptable to students.
They seek different ways to be active in our local community,
cook together (of course!), and engage in educational
outreach. The more people who learn about the Slow Food
Movement, the more likely we are to make lasting and
meaningful changes in our food system to formally incorporate
our values and ensure pleasure in the food we eat.
-Rachel Levine

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