Eighteen21.com spoke with board members Chef Michael Higgins (Maldaner's), Denise Perry (Copper Pot Cooking Studio), Sally McDaniel-Smith (CSA Sally's Fields), David Radwine, Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, Kayla Graven, Reverend Joe Eby, Keith Hamilton, Patricia Broers and Karen Hine to learn more about Slow Food Springfield and find out what the team has in store for 2017.
Rooted in Italy by Carlo Petrini in 1986, the worldwide Slow Food movement has over 250,000 members in 150 countries and combines the love for food with a strong commitment to community and our environment. Founded by Deanna Glosser, the Springfield chapter provided a way to join those who desired to learn about the food system together. In the process, the group is able to expand upon its knowledge through the enjoyment of food events while supporting local producers and educating Springfield on where food comes from and who Springfield’s producers are - the ultimate celebration of food.
Since its founding in 2006, Slow Food Springfield has grown to 72 members strong. With no officially dedicated headquarters, board meetings are frequently held at Copper Pot Cooking Studio – owned by Denise Perry, who also serves as chef ambassador on the Slow Food board. Topics for discussion include ways to re-introduce people to eating food that is locally grown and thoughtfully prepared. The group hopes to raise awareness and help people understand where who grows the food, and how.
“Here we are in the midst of the richest farmland on the planet, and much of the food eaten in our community is grown in California (or Florida, Mexico or Chile), shipped to New Jersey to be processed, and shipped again to Springfield to be microwaved,” said Slow Food Springfield spokesperson.
Each month, Slow Food Springfield holds an event to support its mission by touring various farms, wineries, breweries, restaurants, apiaries, viewing films, and coordinating potlucks. In everything it does, Slow Food emphasizes the importance of biodiversity and supports those who grow and prepare precious heirlooms and rare livestock breeds in an effort to minimize the risk of extinction.
Upcoming Slow Food events include the 9th Annual Slow Food Springfield Film Festival at the Old State Capitol on Saturday, January 28th. The annual event is from 5 pm to 9 pm and features films that share food’s journey, increase food awareness, and create interest in the food system. Newly added to the 2017 agenda is the announcement of Snail of Approval Winners selected in 2016.
Slow Food Springfield's other major claim to fame is the annual Morel Mushroom Dinner hosted at Maldaner's Restaurant the last weekend of April.
The Slow Food Springfield spokesperson stated that “It is one of the most exquisite, flavorful dinners one can possibly imagine.”
Group members hope those who consider joining Slow Food Springfield do so for a sense of community, the enjoyment of education, and the love of delicious, locally produced food. Joining the local chapter involves contributing at the national level. Those interested should visit Slow Food USA's Join or Renew Membership page at https://www.slowfoodusa.org/join-or-renew-membership.
To learn more about Slow Food Springfield and upcoming event details, please visit www.slowfoodspringfield.org.
Photo Credit: Karen Hine