Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

What’s up at Slow Food

A life that’s good, clean, and just… with slow food as the start. Sounds good. Here’s what they’re up to these days.

1. UNISG: The Next Stages

Dear Friend,

The University of Gastronomic Sciences began as a dream which we can now declare a reality: there are 126 students from all over the world enrolled in the undergraduate degree course at the Pollenzo campus and 45 enrolled in the Masters programs at Colorno.
These young people have brought myriad perspectives and many changes to Italy, and with these, they have also brought interesting problems. These have involved Slow Food both directly and indirectly, as well as its international administrators and the regions and countries that, little by little, are becoming the backdrops for the university’s teaching activities.
To begin with, the stages, particularly the regional ones, offer the students invaluable learning experiences and present Slow Food with a unique promotional opportunity in the relevant areas.
After focusing on regions throughout Italy and Europe, upcoming stages will take place all over the world, including Japan, Australia, the US and India. As a university, we will be in great need of collaboration from our international representatives. We would like this collaboration to be practical, but also, importantly, human and farsighted, founded on exchanges, new friendships, imagination and a new and inventive vision for Slow Food. Through its university and students, Slow Food will plant the seeds of a new international gastronomic culture.

Slowest Regards,

Giacomo Mojoli
External Relations and Stage Coordinator
University of Gastronomic Sciences

2. Terra Madre Update

Biodiversity Bookshop
At Terra Madre 2006, there will be a bookshop dedicated to themes of food biodiversity and good, clean and fair wine and food. Facilitated by the Turin Book Fair, it will be operated in collaboration with bookshops from Turin. The scope of the bookshop will also be enriched thanks to suggestions and hints from food communities from around the world.

International Guests at Terra Madre 2006
Aminata Traoré, writer, ex-Minister of Culture for Mali and founder of the African Social Forum, will attend Terra Madre 2006. Traoré is one of the most authoritative and lucid voices in the debate on the future of the African continent. Three Malian communities have indicated to Aminata Traoré that they will set up a small market at the Salone del Gusto in October 2006, offering a simulation of the traditional market of Missira, Bamako. The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity is progressing on a project to rehabilitate this ancient market, which will offer the farmers of Bamako a venue for their produce.
Masatoshi Iwasaki, a huge celebrity in the Japanese organic world, will also be present at Terra Madre this fall. Iwasaki has been practicing organic agriculture for 25 years and is particularly concerned with harvesting and collecting heirloom seeds. To protect heirloom varieties threatened with extinction and to promote the idea that farmers have the right of access to seeds, he has created an association of farmers for natural cultivation, called Hachimaki. Iwasaki will participate in Terra Madre with a group of Japanese growers who are interested in exchanging information and experience with other ‘custodian farmers’ from diverse regions of the world.

Please send any suggestions for individuals, institutions and companies that may be able to make financial contributions to Terra Madre 2006 to Riccardo Sauvaigne, [email protected] or tel. +39 0172 419709.
All contributions will be used to cover travel costs for delegates from developing countries to ensure their participation in Terra Madre 2006.

For more information about Terra Madre, visit

3. News from the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity

Two New Presidia
In Transylvania, a region of uncontaminated and wild forests in Romania, the women harvest wild fruits and use them to make very unique jams; from green walnuts, gooseberries, dog rose and forest fruits. The intention is to work together with a group of women to highlight, through the jams, the extraordinary environmental integrity of this land.
Sir Iz Mijeha, or ‘cheese in a sack’, produced by the Nevesinje community in Bosnia-Herzegovina, is a raw milk cheese made through a special traditional process. It is known as ‘cheese in a sack’ because it is placed inside smoked sheepskins. The cheese is produced in villages of the Nevesinje (literally ‘desert of snow’) area, a predominately mountainous region with a largely uncontaminated natural environment.
At the 40th edition of Vinitaly (Verona, Italy, April 6-10) a producer from Nevesinje, with the support of the Province of Arezzo, was able to present ‘cheese in a sack’ to an international audience.

“Noir de Bigorre” Education Day
Slow Food France [] is organizing an education day in Tarbes (Hautes-Pyrénées) on June 24, 2006, giving members the opportunity to learn about an exceptional product, “Noir de Bigorre” ham, made from the Bigorre Gascony Black Pig []. A Slow Food presidium since 2004, this cured meat is produced in the Midi-Pyrénées region where this particular pig, after nearly reaching extinction at the beginning of the 1980s, is at the centre of a repopulation program. The exceptional quality of its meat, which compensates for the low productivity of the animal, is becoming well recognized due to a consortium of 49 producers who are developing commercialization.
On the eve of the General Assembly of Slow Food France, to be held at Tarbes on June 25, members who are eager to find out more about this presidium are invited to visit some of these breeders and, over the span of a day, closely follow the operational phases of ham production. The day has been organized thanks to the support of the Bigorre Convivium and its leader, Raphael Pava.
At the closing of the event, a gala dinner will bring the participants together; among those invited, Carlo Petrini is expected at the local organization of Noir de Bigorre, where he will offer his official recognition of the presidium.

For more information about the event (PDF in French),

– Visit the Foundation website [] for more information and news about Slow Food’s Ark and Presidia projects.

4. UNISG News

May has brought a number of renowned visitors to the Pollenzo campus to meet with the degree course students.
On May 8 George Ritzer, Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park, held a seminar entitled “Mc Donaldization, (Dis)enchantment, Nothing and the Gastronomic Interest of Slow Food”. A leader in the field of food sociology, Ritzer is the author of The McDonaldization of Society and The Globalization of Nothing.
Ann Noble, Emeritus Professor of Enology, Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis. taught a course on the sensory evaluation of wine from May 22 to 25. She is an expert in the field of sensory and chemical analysis of wine flavor.
On May 23 chef and restaurateur Alain Ducasse held a conference for the students on the links between land, products and cuisine. Slow Food President Carlo Petrini was also present.

The next Open Day will be held on Saturday June 24. Please contact the University to book your visit: [email protected], +39 0172 458 511.

Visit the UNISG website [] for more information and other news.

5. Focus on Convivia

Market in Devon
A Slow Food Market, organized by the Devon convivium in southwest England, will be launched on the Quayside in Exeter on June 17 and will return the third Saturday of every month. The response from producer members has been very encouraging and the public response to date has been enthusiastic to say the least! They will have a good range of Slow Foods on offer. Profits will go towards the Slow Food scheme for setting up school gardens. This project will do much to raise the profile of Slow Food in Exeter and the district.

6. Major Events & Projects

German Congress
On April 30, Slow Food Germany elected their new leadership and board that will guide the organization for the next two years:
Otto Geisel

Johannes Bucei

Financial Director:
Helmut Ertel

Walter Kress
Harald Scholl
Friederike Klatt
Marianne Wager
Of this group, Otto Geisel and Marianne Wagner have served previously, while Friederike Klatt returns as a member of the International President’s Committee, a role that will be shared with the new president Geisel.

Slow Food and Coop Partnership
The Swiss supermarket giant Coop has signed an agreement with Slow Food Switzerland for a collaboration aimed at endorsing ‘good, clean and fair’ products. They will work together over the next months to make an assortment of products in line with the Slow Food philosophy. The products will be available on Coop supermarket shelves by spring 2007.
Involved with organic products, promoting local foods and encouraging fair trade for many years, Coop supermarkets are a natural ally for Slow Food. J¸rg Peritz, a member of Coop’s board of directors, explained that what makes Coop different from other supermarket chains is that it has always believed in the added values of quality, variety and sustainability.

Käsemarkt am Kiekeberg
The ninth edition of Käsemarkt am Kiekeberg (Cheese Market at Kiekeberg) will be held on May 21, from 10.00 to 18.00 near the outdoor Museum of Kiekeberg, in the vicinity of Hamburg. This already well-established event draws a crowd of at least 10,000 visitors. This year’s theme is “The Art of Affinage”, with many of the day’s activities focusing around this topic. As usual, the participating dairy producers are not only German but also from other northern Europe countries. In addition to dairy produce, there will be the opportunity to taste and buy other artisan products: wine, bread, apple juice, Schnaps, mustard, oil, fruit, asparagus, herbs, butter, jam, honey and salami. For more information (in German), visit

Tibetan Yak Cheese Week
May 19-26
The Trace Foundation, coordinator of the development program being implemented in Magin county on the Tibetan plateau and sponsor of the Tibetan Plateau Yak Cheese Presidium, organized a week of Tibetan plateau yak cheese in New York City in collaboration with Slow Food USA and the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity.
The event opened in the space provided by the contemporary Tibetan cultural center, Latse, with a press conference presenting the project and its participants, including the Tibetan monks in charge of the project and representatives from the Trace Foundation and Slow Food. There were also screenings of videos about the cheese’s production area and a photo exhibit depicting the faces, landscapes and colors of Tibet.
Journalists, Slow Food members, experts in the field of Tibetan culture and the New York food and wine world were all on hand to taste dishes made with yak cheese, created by renowned chefs.
The week’s events also included a photo exhibit open to the public at the Latse center, a series of events involving several New York schools, an evening dedicated to Tibetan culture, as well as tastings of the yak cheese at quality New York shops.

7. On the Slow Food Website

Carlo’s Corner: Water is life, and conservation is crucial

No Time to Cook Nation: Joanna Blythman writes about some of the marketing behind ready-made-meals

Snail night: awards at the Slow Food on Film festival
Films from the festival have been donated to the UNISG Videoteca in Pollenzo, Italy, and will also be featured on the Slow Food on Film USA tour, which will travel from the opening at Silver Spring, Maryland, to Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chattanooga, Iowa City, Napa Valley and other cities.

8. Slow Food in the International Press

– “Signalwirkung f¸r die ganze Region” (Motivating the whole region), by Andreas Dörr, Reutlinger General-Anzeiger, Germany, April 27, 2006 (in German) Slow Food is active in Baden-Wurttemberg, where one of its many initiatives are farmers markets aimed at showcasing the gastronomic wealth of the area.

– “Movimiento Slow food llegÛ a Costa Rica” (The Slow Food movement in Costa Rica), by Giuseppe Tarnero, El Financiero, Costa Rica, April 17, 2006 (in Spanish)
Fast life is one of the greater dangers in modern cities, but there is a remedy: Slow Food, which now has its first convivium in Costa Rica.

Please get in touch with your area coordinator if you have any questions or news and events to share.

Slowest regards,

Slow Food International Office
[email protected]

Ask the Expert: Andrew Mefferd

Before writing The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook: Organic Vegetable Production Using Protected Culture, Andrew Mefferd spent seven years in the research department at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, traveling around the world to consult with researchers and farmers on the best practices in greenhouse growing. Andrew has graciously agreed to offer up his expertise to our […] Read More

Top 10 favorite goat facts (with gifs)

New this month from author Gianaclis Caldwell, Holistic Goat Care is the essential resource on caring for your herd. Goats have provided humankind with essential products for centuries; indeed, they bear the noble distinction of being the first domesticated farm animal. From providing milk and meat for sustenance and fiber and hides for clothing and shelter […] Read More

New French edition of The Resilient Farm and Homestead available

Great news for French-speaking fans of Ben Falk’s The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach. The French language translation is now available from Imagine Un Colibri, from French booksellers, and on Falk’s book is a technical manual that details the strategies he and his team have developed for […] Read More

How to Make Biochar

Doing some spring cleaning around your property? By making biochar from brush and other hard-to-compost organic material, you can improve soil—it enhances nutrient availability and also enables soil to retain nutrients longer. This excerpt from The New Farmer’s Almanac, Volume 3, explains how to get started. To make biochar right in your garden, start by […] Read More

Generosity as Activism, and Other Homesteading Principles to Live By

“Like everyone I know, we occasionally find ourselves faced with a decision to which there is no obvious answer,” says Ben Hewitt, coauthor of The Nourishing Homestead. “Do we borrow money to build a bigger barn, or do we keep getting by with what we have? Do we spend our meager savings on trees and […] Read More