When Eric Schlosser wrote Fast Food Nation, he built a platform for discussion in America regarding the downfall of the food industry. Little did he know that college students would become some of the nation's best activists against mindless consumption.
Slow Food USA is a nonprofit organization founded in 1989 to counter the fast-food lifestyle. There are now 20 Slow Food USA campus chapters across the nation; students sow seeds and share meals to remind their peers and the local community that food is meant to be cultivated and enjoyed, not meaninglessly devoured.
Slow Food SSU became official in April 2008 with the support of Bill Hawn, the president of Slow Food Sonoma County. The university chapter is the only existing Slow Food group in the California college school system—a testament to the spirit of this group of 25 students promoting quality, locally produced food.
Robin Temple the founding president, now serving as vice president of Slow Food SSU, emphasizes his belief that food is an important issue not only in terms of environmental justice but also in terms protecting farmworkers' rights.
"The decisions we make about eating have a lot of impact on the world," he says. "The Slow Food movement is shaping the way we think about and practice eating in this culture. It's about paying attention to these issues of the environment, but also mostly about the enjoyment of life and the creation and preservation of culture. Culture, after all, largely revolves around food."
SSU's Slow Food enthusiasts are young, energetic students concerned not only with receiving an education but impacting the world through their passion for one of life's greatest pleasures, food.
On Oct.11, this convivia will host "Good Eats and Music" near SSU's pond for an afternoon of entertainment and locally grown cuisine. The event is open to the public and features a wine and cheese mixer and performances from local bands the Easy Leaves, Open Market and Blue Shift.
Local Slow Food chapters will present tabled presentations of their projects and guest speakers include Slow Food USA president Josh Viertel, SSU president Dr. Ruben Armiñana, California Assembly member Noreen Evans and Mark Arax, author of West of the West: Dreamers, Believers, Builders and Killers in the Golden State.
"I'm hoping that this event will bring the food activist community together in celebration and introduce some people to the ideas of slow food," Temple says.
"Good Eats and Music" is slated for Sunday, Oct. 11, from noon to 4pm. SSU, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. Full day, including lunch, $28&–$35; speakers only, 2pm to 4pm, $5. http://slowfoodssu.blogspot.com.
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