Wednesday, May 14, 2003

In Mother Jones, Michael Pollan on Slow Food; Alice Waters chimes in too.

I have an Italian friend who recently told me that he was giving up on Slow Food, that it was too commercial. It sounded like he was talking about Nirvana signing with DGC. Sellouts. In Italy Slow Food has probably become more oppressive with its success -- the Gamberi Rosso guides are certainly exercising excessive influence on the wine market [on the other hand, better them than Parker]. Conversely, in this country, SF seems quixotic, if not precious, as Pollan points out and my local convivium reminds me all too frequently. Despite these flaws, though, they are still doing something very, very important in the form of the (quixotically-named) presidia: promoting the biodiversity of the food supply. This is not just a good idea because we might need it (biodiversity) some day, but because we need it right now. The inexorable logic of monocultural production agriculture not only impoverishes the food supply, it actually reduces its quality, as the pig item immediately below makes clear. I'm not saying the rapture is imminent unless we destroy factory farming tomorrow, but we have to modulate its influence, before we end up eating Soylent Green. If Slow Food is too much for you, there are plenty of other people working on the same thing, like Seed Savers and the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. Or you could just buy some Rhode Island white flint corn, Iroquois white flint corn (order info here), or the equivalent from your neck of the woods, before it vanishes forever.

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