Slow Food Sacramento

A Chapter of Slow Food USA

Browsing Posts in Uncategorized

THE FOOD SAFETY MODERNIZATION ACT COULD PUT YOUR LOCAL FARMER OUT OF BUSINESS. YOU CAN HELP BY SENDING YOUR COMMENT TO THE FDA!  

Dear Slow Food California Leaders – The Slow Food USA Food and Agriculture Policy Task Force has drafted a call to action that we urge you to share with your members. The deadline for comments is December 15.

 

Fresh carrots, perfectly ripe strawberries, crisp salad greens from local, sustainable, family farmers at farmers markets, from CSAs, and in grocery stores carrying local produce; are these the foods you like to buy, prepare, and enjoy with your family and friends? If you are reading this, we think the answer is, “YES!”

 

Sustainable, small and mid-scale family farmers across the country have been innovating with new, creative approaches to get these kinds of fresh, healthy foods to people affordably, wherever they shop and eat, and – even better – do it using sustainable and organic growing practices. Innovations like direct marketing, aggregation, food hubs, multi-farm CSAs, and on-farm, value added processing are getting more good, clean, and fair food to more eaters than ever before!

 

But wait, there’s a catch. Remember last year when new food safety regulations were being developed by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), under the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)?  And how the proposed new rules could make sustainable and organic agriculture, local food, and farm conservation collateral damage in the name of a safer food system?

 

The most significant incidences of foodborne illnesses, that are responsible for FSMA and the proposed new Produce Standards and Preventive Controls Rules, have been the result of industrial-scale food production and distribution, not the result of food produced and sold by small and mid-scale family farms. Responsible small and mid-scale, sustainable, family farmers support a safe food system and should have the protection of rules that are clear, consistent, and reflective of the scale and risk of their operations.

 

This year, there is some good FSMA news and some bad FSMA news.

The good news is that the FDA received tens of thousands of comments from responsible farmers and concerned eaters (like you), and, to their credit, the FDA took those comments seriously, re-drafting several key sections of the proposed FSMA rules.

The bad news is that, while the FDA did make some critical improvements, the improvements don’t go far enough. They mean well, no doubt, but the FDA still doesn’t quite get what it means to be a sustainable family farmer participating in a local farm and food economy.

 

As someone who cares about sustainable food and farms, we need your help to tell the FDA, Let a farm be a farm!

  • Farms innovate. Don’t let the rules squash farmers’ innovative efforts in growing and selling local food. The rules need to ensure that local food and farms can grow and thrive.
  • Farms work with nature. Don’t let the rules undermine farmers’ sustainability. The rules need to allow farmers to use sustainable farming practices.
  • Farms deserve fair treatment. Don’t let the rules raise costs for farmers, food businesses, and consumers by imposing unclear, inconsistent, and unfair rules. The rules need to provide options that treat family farms fairly without creating unnecessary, excessive costs.

There is no doubt, everyone has a role in ensuring that our food is safe – from the farmers who grow the food to the eaters who take the food home and prepare it. But, unless we act now, the proposed new rules will have a devastating effect on the small and medium-scale family farmers and businesses responsible for putting local, sustainably produced fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods on our plates – which, in turn, undermines local farm and food economies and affects our health and well-being.

 

STAND WITH FARMERS, SEND YOUR COMMENT TO THE FDA BY DECEMBER 14!

It’s EASY; customize, cut, paste, and submit your personal message to the FDA using the comment template provided below.  Suggestions for customization are [bracketed in bold italics].  Submit your customized comment in TWO places – to the Produce Standards Rule (www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2011-N-0921-0973) and to the Preventive Controls Rule (www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2011-N-0920-1553).  This is important because the food you love is affected by both rules.  Make sure you add your personal information and select your category, Individual Consumer, after you paste your comment.

Thank you.

SFUSA Food and Farm Policy Steering Committee

Cheryl Brock, Oregon Charity Kenyon, California

Gabby Lothrop, Florida William Powers, Nebraska

Alex Razavi, Ohio Jane Steinberg, New Mexico

Ed Yowell, New York (chair)

———-Using the template below, customize, cut, paste, and submit your personal comment———-

 Re:  Comments on

Preventive Controls Rule: FDA-2011-N-0920-1533

Produce Standards Rule: FDA-2011-N-0921-0973

Submitted electronically via

http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2011-N-0920-1553

http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2011-N-0921-0973

To whom it may concern;

I am a supporter of Slow Food USA – a non-profit organization dedicated to good, clean, and fair food and farming – and a [consumer, parent, etc] who is very concerned about the impact that the FDA’s proposed FSMA rules will have on the [farms that I buy food from, my family’s ability to find local food, the environment, etc.]. I ask you to let a family farm be a farm – and to treat it like one, not like an industrial factory or corporate mega-farm!

I value safe food and family farms and want to be able to [choose food for my family based on its sustainable production / support my local farm and food economy / purchase local, sustainable, and organic food].  I get much of my food at [my farmer’s farm stand, my farmers’ market, from my CSA, at a grocery store offering local food] and I want to continue to be able to find the food I love there. These proposed new rules can’t subject family farmers to rules intended for massive, industrial agriculture and be so expensive to follow that they put small and mid-scale sustainable family farmers out of business.

Please modify the proposed new FSMA rules to reflect the realities of sustainable farming:

  • Farms innovate. Don’t let the rules squash local food. The rules need to ensure that local food and farms can grow and thrive. The final rules must provide a clear definition of what FDA considers a farm, and must take a risk-based approach to regulating farms. FDA must clarify the difference between a farm and a food processing facility using common sense and risk-based distinctions that have clear connections to promoting food safety.
  • Farms work with nature. Don’t let the rules undermine sustainability. The rules need to allow farmers to use sustainable farming practices. FDA should incorporate stronger incentives into the rule for on-farm conservation that supports food safety and protects our soil, water, and wildlife habitat.
  • Farms deserve fair treatment. Don’t let the rules raise costs for farmers, food businesses, and consumers by imposing unclear, inconsistent, and unfair rules. The rules need to provide options that treat small family farms fairly without unnecessary, excessive costs. FDA should find ways to decrease the costs of compliance with the new rules, especially for small and very small farms.

Thank you for your consideration,

[Your full name, city and state, e-mail address]

 

On September 21, Slow Food Sacramento is celebrating with Sacramento Waldorf School by encouraging kids and families to learn how to eat healthy by going back to school gardens.

Find about more about the “Back to School Gardens” event by visiting the Events page.

The Slow Food Sacramento Book Club is a book club for readers who enjoy food-related literature, both non-fiction and fiction. The club meets at 6:30 pm on the second Thursday of every other month at one of our member’s homes.

Next meeting: December 11th at 6:30 pm

For more information, visit the December book club.

Kick off Sacramento’s Farm to Fork Week 2014 with a communal commitment to end hunger in our region. Affectionately known as “Fork It!” this sit-down dinner for 150 features appetizers and a dinner menu from the best local farms and restaurants.

Your ticket buys two meals – one for you and one for a neighbor that might often experience hunger. We’ll break bread together, share stories, and understand better the challenges facing over one quarter million of our neighbors who are food insecure, including ongoing efforts to cut food stamps even further.

Farm To EVERY Fork is a coalition of farmers, urban gardeners, food banks, Slow Food Sacramento, and other food justice activists, including Loaves and Fishes and the Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee/Homeward Street Journal. Together we advocate and act for good, clean, and fair food for all.

Tickets
(which will pay for two meals) are $150.00 per person.

Sponsorships (with recognition in dinner program) include:
One Harvest Hero sponsorship available at $5000 – 4 guests and sponsorship recognition, logo display

Three Pantry Patron sponsorships available at $1000 – 2 guests and sponsorship recognition, logo display

Six Food Access Friend sponsorships available at $500 – 1 guest, sponsorship recognition, logo display

Unlimited Seedling Supporter number of sponsorships available at $250.00 – sponsorship recognition

All proceeds of this event benefit local organizations serving the low income and homeless community, including the Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee/Homeward Street Journal, the Sacramento Food Bank, River City Food Bank, and the Fund for Urban Gardens, featuring the Oak Park Garden for Peace and Homeward Gardens.

For more information, and for dinner tickets, visit:
www.Farm-to-Every-Fork-Sacramento.Eventbrite.com

Mayumi Tavalero of Fork and Knife Creations will lead Slow Food Sacramento world cuisine enthusists on a 60-90 minute culinary tour around the world inside the impressive KP International Market in Racho Cordova.

See the Slow Food Sacramento Events page for more information on registration and event details!

Hosted by Slow Food Istanbul in the midst of the Taksim Square Gezi Park protests, the June 2013 International Council meeting was exciting, inspiring, and tasty. The International Council includes representatives of countries with at least 500 members. (Slow Food USA is represented by two Board members – Matt Jones and Nazli Parvizi and two Governors — Joel Smith and Charity Kenyon). The Council, together with the Executive Committee, plans and promotes the Slow Food movement’s development worldwide. As a result of action taken at the October 2012 Slow Food International Congress in Italy, the International Council for the first time includes representatives of Terra Madre communities where the convivium structure is not developed, but Slow Food is working with producers and gardeners — largely in the global South. This expansion made for a rich and rewarding exchange that demonstrated the strength and breadth of the organization.

All but one Councilor was able to attend, notwithstanding the close proximity of the meeting to the rapidly developing demonstrations. Our hosts were fully engaged in supporting the protests, even planting a symbolic vegetable garden in Gezi Park. The Council adopted a resolution in support of those demanding: “a new Turkey, able to value simple but important things, like the trees in a park.”

Friday night’s dinner started the meeting – on a boat on the Bosphorus – what more need we say? The pleasure of shared food and conversation helped make and strengthen connections across continents and hemispheres; the weather was calm and mild; the lights on mosques and old palaces was dramatic. The demonstrations were far away.

On Saturday Carlo Petrini welcomed us, pointing out that next year 2014, will be the 10th anniversary of the Terra Madre Network and 25th Anniversary of Slow Food. And there is no going back. The question for the Council was how to manage and lead this complex movement for the common good.

To that end, Slow Food has adopted three areas of emphasis to meet our goals for change: (1) 10,000 products boarded on the Ark of Taste — the FAO recognizes Slow Food as the only movement formally safeguarding the biodiversity and the fight against malnutrition. This gives us the responsibility to follow through. (2) 10,000 Gardens in Africa — a
movement spreading education and training with knowledge of local seeds to fight both land grabbing and malnutrition. We cannot close our eyes to the injustice of 24,000 people dying every day from hunger, mostly in Africa. Our 10,000 gardens in schools, at hospitals, and in communities can set an example for other NGO’s and African governments. (3) 10,000 Convivia and Food Communities — networks have knots and we are currently at 1,600 chapters in 170 countries and 2,200 food communities for a total of 4,000 toward our goal of 10,000.

The growing Youth Food Network is under new leadership of Joris Lohman from Amsterdam who sits on the SFI Executive Committee. Foodstock will take place in Polenza in 2014 – 1,000 students from 67 countries are expected. The SFYFN is developing, including its governance, but it represents our future.

Finally, we need to carry out a census that somehow documents all the different SF projects around the world, so that we can more accurately understand and convey our impact.

We next heard about the re-launch of the Ark of Taste, including review of new documents in draft to explain the relationships among AOT, Presidia, and the Biodiversity Foundation. The point is to make boarding products easier, fun, and rewarding. We may make mistakes, but must not hold back for fear of error. Mistakes can be corrected later. The only mistake is failing to act now to capture and document the wealth of our food communities. There was robust discussion of other knowledge we are losing, including methods of production and processing, as well as of the dangers of bio-­‐ piracy. The exciting Alliance of Chefs and Presidia is developing as a way to bring AOT products to the attention of consumers and to support markets for producers. Menu language has been approved.

In the afternoon we met as regional groups, including a meeting of the Americas — from Canada to the tip of Chile. And each group reported out on action items agreed upon within the groups. We will be hearing more about these plans, including a likely Slow Meat conference (like Slow Cheese and Slow Fish) in Colorado in 2015. The more we talked, the more it became obvious that we had links already and could use them to build our networks across the Americas — from Terra Madre communities to chapters. A current example is Slow Food Philadelphia’s work with blue corn tortilla makers in Mexico, uniting two halves of a small indigenous Puebla minority and promoting their special corn. We look forward to making more of these connections.

Dinner was in a small, intimate restaurant in the Nisantasi neighborhood. Lovely, diverse, conducive to discussion and very close to the demonstrations. Towards the end of the evening the government ruthlessly cleared Taksim Square, demonstrators fled into the neighborhood, a small hospital was erected around the corner from the restaurant. Our hosts and guests were calm; taxi drivers were able to get us back to our various hotels without much trouble.

Our half-­day meeting on Sunday focused on funding, membership: the numbers. We approved the 2013 budget — half way through the year and agreed that future Councils will receive, discuss, and act on the budget at the beginning of the budget year. A lengthy financial report and social report with commendable detail were presented by the external auditor. I, for one, was impressed both by the amount accomplished on a small budget and by the commitment to transparency and accuracy.

Next, we discussed Strategic Goals, which had been presented in draft shortly before the meeting. Another draft will be prepared by October. Councilors are to prepare their responses to the current draft by mid July.

Finally, we were all energized by an upbeat presentation of the Slow Food Youth Food Network, and by a delicious tasting of traditional Turkish foods with a presentation by a well known chef and journalist. Wow! Lots to do and lots of great people to do it with! It was a great honor to represent Slow Food USA in Istanbul.

Charity Kenyon


Slow Food USA Governor, Central Valley Region of California

International Councilor

Slow Food Sacramento would like to extend the kindest words of gratitude to our greater community of partners, supporters, and amazing members who last year helped support the soft launch of the School Garden Coalition through their participation in Urban Ag Fest IV.

Last year’s beneficiary of funds raised at Urban Ag Fest IV was Rosemont High School Green Academy. And they have put the funding to good use! In addition to adding much needed fencing, Green Academy students completed the ADA beds; graded and plumbed; planted fava beans, asparagus, cilantro, and potatoes; and reserved the clay extracted during excavation to build wood burning ovens!

Culinary Arts teacher Chef Scott Singer, Masonry Program educator Brett Hutchison, and Principal Leise Martinez are excited to demonstrate the practical life and job skills, linked learning, and critical thinking applications possible in a school garden environment. And in the 3rd week of April, almost 70 Rosemont HS Green Academy students walked to neighboring Sequoia Elementary to do a full day of work in that garden alongside their younger friends.

See some photos here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/chefbrendaruiz/RosemontHSGreenAcademySpring2013?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMDcy_6Qs5OwsgE&feat=directlink
or on twitter at @RHSCulinary.

Please join us for Day on the Farm, May 19, at Soil Born Farms American River Ranch at the School Garden Expo. At this event, you can get connected to a few of the region’s school gardens and edible education programs. Thanks to Assemblyman Roger Dickinson for in-kind support helping to make the expo possible. Help needed on May 18 and 19th! To volunteer, learn more about the Coalition and the exciting work ahead, or to donate resources contact Brenda Ruiz at chefbrendaruiz@gmail.com

The Producer category recognizes businesses producing locally unique and sustainable foods. Nominees for this category can include producers such as farms and products such as beverage makers, stores and markets, caterers and food services other than restaurant and drinking establishments.

Bariani Olive Oil
http://www.barianioliveoil.com/
Office: (415) 864-1917
9460 Bar Du Lane
Sacramento, CA 95829

The Barianis make fabulous olive oil and are well-known in the community, attending many farmers markets. “We don’t have any employees and never will. (More Information.)

Del Rio Botanical
http://www.delriobotanical.com/
(916) 991-1843
20030 Old River Road
West Sacramento, CA 95691

Del Rio Botanical, located on old River road between Sacramento and Woodland, is a privately owned 200-acre ranch producing open-pollinated organically grown seed and freshly packed specialty produce. (More information.)

Devine Gelateria & Café
http://devinegelateria.com
(916) 446-0600
1121 19th Street
Sacramento, CA 95811

Devine Gelateria & Café features gelato made with a base prepared onsite under the direction of the owner, a licensed pasteurizer, who studied gelato making in Italy so she could produce authentic Italian gelato. (More information.)

Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms
http://www.dragonmushrooms.com/
1225 North B Street
Sacramento, CA 95811

Their mushrooms are hand grown, hand picked, and hand delivered. They use the untreated hardwood waste from a local moulding shop for their sawdust. (More Information.)

Feeding Crane Farms
http://www.feedingcranefarms.com/
(916) 698-5171
5333 E. Levee Road
Sacramento, CA 95835

An organic farm in Natomas, Feeding Crane sells beautiful produce at the Oak Park Farmers Market, Corti Bros, and many of our Snail of Approval restaurants. (More Information.)

Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates
http://gingerelizabeth.com/
(916) 706-1738
1801 L Street, #60
Sacramento, CA 95811

Ginger Elizabeth was voted one of the “top 10 chocolatiers in North America.” She uses seasonal items in her chocolates, jams, and sundae sauces. (More Information.

Lundberg Family Farms
http://www.lundberg.com/
(530) 538-3500
5311 Midway
Richvale, CA 95974

Lundberg Family Farms founder, Albert Lundberg, had a favorite saying: “Leave the land better than you found it.” (More Information.)

Revolution Wines
http://www.revolution-wines.com/
(916) 444-7711
2831 S Street
Sacramento, CA 95816

Revolution Wines produces wine under their own label using locally grown grapes from Clarksburg and Sacramento and Amador counties, generally from within 50 miles of their facility. (More information.)

Soil Born Farms
www.soilborn.org
(916) 363-9685

American River Ranch
2140 Chase Drive
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670

The Farm on Hurley Way
3000 Hurley Way
Sacramento, CA 95864

 

As the new SFUSA Governor for the Central Valley Region I will work to strengthen our regional network of Slow Food Chapters and to share information about activities of interest up and down the Valley. (Who knew that Stanislaus County is the nation’s sweet potato capital?) I hope we will join forces to host some multi-chapter events and look forward to visiting our counterpart leaders from Shasta to Madera County.

And I anticipate that forging relationships with California’s other three governors and the governors across the country will bring loads of ideas and energy to our efforts to promote good, clean, fair food for all. I’ve already learned that Slow Food Sacramento is a standout chapter in this region and state. I’ll point SFUSA our way when they are looking for replicable models and best practices for other chapters. I’ve also learned that I’ll be the main connector between the region’s chapters and SFUSA. I welcome your suggestions and counsel.

On a more personal note, we recently hosted an organic farmer from Japan, seeking refuge in California from the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. Read about it here.

Charity Kenyon
charity@slowfoodsacramento.com

18 we hosted our Third Annual Urban Ag Fest attended by 130 friends of Slow Food Sacramento. The event was on the lawn at the old Army Depot right next to the new garden we installed for Plates Café and Catering, a project of St. John’s Shelter for Women and Children. Sunny and breezy weather made this the perfect setting for learning about urban beekeeping, edible landscaping, chicken keeping, food preserving and more.
View the photos »

Everyone was pleased to see real progress on the garden, which was constructed by Bill Maynard of the Sacramento Community Garden Coalition with the help of volunteers from Slow Food Sacramento and St. John’s Shelter. Spring Warren’s talk was inspiring and many of us took home a signed copy of her Quarter Acre Farm. The food, supervised by Bobbin Mulvaney and made and served by Plates’ volunteer learners was delicious and plentiful. And the auction items were irresistible. We raised over $10,000 for the garden and introduced lots of new fans to the great café at Plates—open Monday through Friday 11-2. Visit and enjoy!