Fast facts on slow food

Celebrate Terra Madre Day with good, clean, fair food

When Brennan Anderson was moving a box of books from his basement this past fall, a big, fat spaghetti squash rolled out from behind it.

The squash, leftover from his mom’s food delivery the previous October, was wedged between the wall and the box.

Was it gross and mouse-chewed? Sunken and decaying?

No. It was still perfect – almost a year after delivery.

Outdoor gardening is well behind us for another season, but Brennan, had unconsciously started down a slow food path. Now in his own home, he has dreams of raising and cooking his own squash from his own garden.
Founded a quarter of a century ago, the slow food movement is about many different things – from establishing growing and cooking programs in American schools and building 10,000 food gardens in African school to protecting endangered food products, such as dry yogurt from Turkey and orange blossom nectar from Italy.

Recently, I was part of a local delegation sent to Turin, Italy for Slow Food’s annual conference, and it reinforced the international value of good, clean, fair food.

donnasquash

Delegates discussed and shared best practices on everything from family farms, bees, animal welfare and food waste to land grabbing and genetically modified foods. But most of all, they discussed the importance of local, good, clean, fair food.

On Dec. 10, the international community will reunite again for World Slow Food Day, also known as Terra Madre Day, to celebrate the glory of real food, not fast food. Some will thaw frozen tomatoes. Others will unpack homemade kale chips or search their basements for missing squash. Food picked this fall is in its prime compared to anything you might get at the store.Visit www.slowfoodcalgary.ca to register for a World Food Day special event.

Brennan ended up cooking his lost squash for dinner in his new place a year after it was delivered. He called to tell me it was so good, he wants to order the same seed for his garden.

In early December, I will be including my “no fail – just grow it” holiday shopping ideas for new gardeners like Brennan. If you want to start your own homegrown slow-food movement, don’t miss it.

Donna Balzer is a garden writer and speaker. Check out her blog at www.gardenguru.net or follow on twitter @NoGuffGardener.

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