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Child Nutrition Act could be delayed

May 13, 2010. The National School Lunch Program hasn’t been updated for years, and schools are struggling to meet the demand for fresh, local food. The Senate has introduced a bill with new funding for healthier food, stronger nutrition standards, and grants for linking schools to local farms — but it’s been stalled by Senate leadership, and may be postponed for another year or two. Ask Senators Klobuchar and Franken to make child nutrition a priority by signing the Lincoln/Chambliss “Dear Colleague” letter, which requests that Senate leaders schedule time for the Child Nutrition Bill as soon as possible. The deadline is Wednesday, May 19. Information on the letter here >>

From Lori Callister: Pending USDA rule may harm
Small processors: Your input could make a difference

May 10, 2010. I recently became aware of the USDA rule that will require all processors to conduct extensive microbial testing before and after processing each product that facility makes. We at Callister Farm currently conduct microbial testing once per processing week. The new rules would initially increase our expenses for testing by $30,000 to $50,000 per year. This would spell disaster not only for Callister Farm but for other small “MN E-2” and USDA processors as well. Most of us would have no choice but to scale back to “custom only” status (we could process our own poultry but it could only be sold at the farm — no off site sales) or we would go out of business. In other words we would be regulated out of business by the USDA. This affects farmers who need the processors as well as the consumers who want their products.

The USDA is taking comments on this issue until June 19, 2010. If you haven’t already done so, please take a few moments to send an e-mail with your reaction to the USDA at: DraftValidationGuideComments(at)fsis.usda(dot)gov. For more information on the rule go to the Land Stewardship Project’s Web site: information on new rule here. >> It might also be helpful to send your comments to your U.S. Senator and Representative.

Thank you for your help. Hopefully the volume of comments against this rule will be so powerful that the USDA will take a second look and make changes that better reflect smaller processing plants. We’ve all come so far in this movement and made so much progress that we can’t just sit back and be complacent. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions. Lori Callister, Callister Farm, West Concord, MN 55985. e-mail: henhouse(at)clear.lakes(dot)com

Volunteer questionnaire is available: tell us how you’d like to help,
And let us know your thoughts about the direction we should take

April 6, 2010. We've just posted our new volunteer survey for members. We hope you will get involved with Slow Food Minnesota in a small (or large) way. We need people to help at events, to talk about Slow Food at fairs, to cook, to speak at gatherings, and more.

We would also like to know your opinions on the types of events we have and the projects we support. You may fill out the survey online and e-mail it to us or print it and send it by U.S. Mail. Click here to download a pdf of the survey >>

Three local events support Slow Food USA’s
Time for Lunch campaign

Saturday, Aug. 29 2009 was Slow Food Day at the State Fair’s Healthy Local Foods exhibit. Slow Food Minnesota volunteers were there to talk about the Child Nutrition Act and improving school lunches, and also Terra Madre, sustainable food and our Fowl Affair farm day. The exhibit was sponsored by Renewing the Countryside.

On Sunday, September 6 Slow Food Minnesota had a booth at the Kingfield farmers market in Minneapolis. Dina Berray and Val Landwehr spoke in support of Slow Food’s school lunch platform, while Jane Rosemarin pushed grilled summer squash, converting a few doubtful juveniles.

On Labor Day, a potluck picnic in support of Time for Lunch was held at Shepherd’s Way Farms in Nerstrand. The event, organized by Jodi Ohlsen Read, drew 150 guests.

What’s happening with school lunches?
An article focuses on St. Paul and includes video about Berkeley

September 2009. An article on what is being done to make school lunches healthier appeared recently on the Edutopia Web site. The story features Jean Ronnei, the director of nutrition for the St. Paul public schools, who has been active in the pursuit of healthy food for her 40,000 pupils. It contained facts about the Child Nutrition Act and a link to a video about the school in Berkeley, Calif. where Alice Waters has her Edible Schoolyard. Find the article here >>

USDA Takes to the Internet to
Support Sustainable Agriculture

September 2009. Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture has made a YouTube video to introduce the public to the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative. The program seeks to “break down the barriers that prevent local food systems from thriving.” One grant will allow the University of Minnesota to study how producers can market directly to educational and health-care institutions. You can see the video, and add your comment here: http://www.youtube.com/usda >> You may e-mail a comment to KnowYourFarmer(at)usda(dot)gov.

Early Morning at the St. Paul Farmers Market:
The View from Callister Farm’s Booth

Summer 2009. I love to watch the market come to life on a Saturday morning. Alan and I usually arrive by 5:15 a.m. That means we leave home about 4 a.m. There are quite a few vendors already there when we arrive. They probably get there by 4:30 or so. For vendors with flowers and/or vegetables, it takes an hour and a half to two hours to set up. Some have been dropped off so their family can continue on to another farmers market. Many market farmers don’t get any sleep Friday night since they are busy cleaning produce and packing their trucks.

I don’t know of a harder-working group of people than farmers market farmers. At 5:15 some farmers already have their flowers arranged in neat rows, and they’re working on their vegetable displays. Between 5:30 and 6 there’s a little time for socializing and a cup of coffee. By 6 all vendors are in place, set up and ready to sell.

Around 7:30 things really start to hum as the market finds its rhythm. The featured band of the week arrives and is entertaining the crowd by 9. Long lines of people wait to place orders for a bagel and freshly squeezed lemonade. The delicious smell of egg rolls frying wafts gently over the crowd. By noon it’s quieting down, some vendors have sold out and are heading home. The rest of us stay until the 1 p.m. closing time. By 1:30 the sidewalks are empty and swept clean of any flower or vegetable residue, and the market returns to a parking lot again.
Lori Callister

A New Way to Control Garden Marauders?

June 29, 2009. My brother, who lives in the D.C. area, has successfully kept raccoons from raiding his fish pond by installing one of those sprinklers that is activated by motion. They send a pretty powerful jet stream of water. My sister on the North Shore has also used one of these to keep deer out of her garden, so they work well on larger animals, too.
Pat Eliason

Have you read our Tales of Terra Madre Page?

March 2009. Find out why Terra Madre is a life-changing experience. An article by Atina Diffley was just added to our collection of stories and photos by Minnesota delegates. Please click here >>

Slow Food's Vandana Shiva Speaks at MOSES Conference in LaCrosse

Vandana Shiva and Audrey Arner at the MOSES Conference

March 2009. A strong showing of Terra Madre delegates joined the 2,600 individuals attending the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) Organic Farming Conference in LaCrosse, Wisc., at the end of February. The crowd was measurably moved by the keynote speaker, Vandana Shiva.

Dr. Shiva is a vice president of Slow Food International and founder of Navdanya, an environmental organization in Delhi, India. She is a globally-renowned ecologist and feminist and a prolific author.

In her speech, she reiterated her urgent call for a shift toward local and organic agriculture.

In her new book, “Soil Not Oil,” she associates current global food and agricultural production and transportation with our rapidly changing climate. She bears messages that give us hope and fortitude to carry on with an honest agriculture in which prices do not lie, and which does not exploit the earth or its people.
Audrey Arner

Breeder Loses 40 Rare Hogs in Maveric Heritage Ranch Fire

November 2008. Arie McFarlen owns Maveric Heritage Ranch in South Dakota, where she has single-handedly saved several rare breeds of pigs, bringing them back from the brink of extinction. On November 19, Arie’s barn burned to the ground killing over 40 of her rare breed hogs, sows with babies and her treasured horse. She lost everything — the feed she'd put away for the winter, the feeding troughs — she doesn’t even have a pitchfork. Yet she still has other animals to care for. Since it was an electrical fire and electricity powers her water pump, there was no water on the farm to put out the fire.

More information, and a link for online donations are available at Maveric Heritage Ranch’s Web site, www.maveric9.com >>

Donations may also be mailed to: Endangered Hog Foundation, Maveric Heritage Ranch Co., 47869-242nd St., Dell Rapids, South Dakota 57022

Based on a message from Josh Viertel, president of Slow Food USA

A Report From Tom Hunter, a Slow Food Minnesota Member:
Slow Food in Krakow — Codzienne (Every Day)

November 1, 2008. My wife, Sue, and I have been living in Krakow, Poland since September 1. Sue is busy pursuing a master’s program at the Jagiellonian University here. I’ve had time to get to know the food scene in Krakow, and it’s very rich. Poland’s traditional cuisine is focused on meat dishes, like bigos (hunter’s stew, made from sauerkraut, meat, sausage, maybe venison), golonka piecona (roasted pig knuckle) and of course pierogi (dumplings filled with meat, potatoes, cabbage & mushroom, and many other varieties). This wonderful medieval city is filled with restaurants offering traditional fare, from inexpensive bar mleczny (milk bars) to karchmas (old-style cellars) and upscale restaurants offering updated versions of traditional fare.

Slow Food is present in Poland. The local Web site lists many recommended foods, particularly cheese and sausage. One brand of traditional bread is recognized by Slow Food, and I often see it on sale here in Krakow, with a Slow Food label. Slow Food Polska is working to preserve traditional breeds and varieties, such as the Red Polish cow and mountain sheep, as well as apples. Traditional foods, such as oscypek, mountain sheep’s cheese, as well as specific makers of traditional items, like distillers of cordials, are listed and recommended. See it at www.slowfood.pl >>

I’ve enjoyed shopping in the open, traditional markets. Just a 10-minute walk from our flat is Stary Kleparz, a lively, six-day-a-week market, with farmers, greengrocers, meat vendors and bakery stalls. The regular vendors have staked out their prime spots, and I now recognize them and their products. I don’t know whether many of the vendors or shoppers are aware of Slow Food, but traditional, slow food is a regular part of their daily lives.

My favorite section is the dairy ladies. They offer their own fresh raw milk (sold in re-used water bottles), thick cream, twarog (white cottage-style cheese), butter as well as homemade liver sausage, cured kielbasa, dressed chickens, eggs, even mushrooms. The white plastic bags in the picture are all filled with white cheese, cultured to slightly different flavors. Tasting all the variations is a key part of the buying process. Only a small portion of Polish consumers buy their dairy this way, but those who do make it a lively and active part of their lives.

There is a huge variety of fruit and vegetables on offer, many from Poland or nearby countries, some shipped in from farther afield. Farms in Poland are still small and worked largely by families. Some have put in glass or plastic greenhouses to extend the season — as of the end of October we are still getting fresh raspberries, plums, tomatoes, chestnuts, and a variety of greens and other vegetables. No problem making a salad or a full meal from the variety here, or finding flowers for the table.

Wild forest mushrooms are a real specialty of Poland. Drive through the countryside and you’ll constantly go through patches of forest, with mushroom sellers camped out along the road. Somehow these small baskets of mushrooms make their way to our local market, and we can choose from five or six varieties at any time. We’ve tried many and found them all different and interesting. We add them to soups and omelets. Our favorites are borowiki, king boletes, simply sauteed in butter, salt and pepper, and then doused with cultured cream; bardzo pyszne, delicious.

Sometimes we get something we don’t expect. I have bought some very nice blueberries, and last week I asked for half a kilo of what I thought was the same. When I popped one into my mouth at home, I was surprised to find a large pit. Not blueberries at all, but tarnina, sloes, a plum relative — think sloe gin. They were tasty but very astringent — I puckered right up. Now they’re in the freezer, freezing out the astringency while I decide what to do with them. They’re sitting next to rose hips, also awaiting a plan.

Slow Food is very evident in Poland, both in the activities of the organization, and in the ordinary, daily lives of millions of Poles. As the classic Polish invitation to food goes: Smacznego! - Tom Hunter

Good Results From Online Auction

Slow Food USA’s annual online auction ended on June 26, 2008. This was the first time Slow Food Minnesota participated. We earned $944, which is eighty percent of the sale price of items from local donors. The remaining 20 percent will support programs of Slow Food USA.

Proceeds will benefit a youth food project. Our food for youth committee, Jo Schifsky, Marienne Jurayj and Nuala Bobowski, is working on a proposal for use of the auction funds.

Thanks to everyone who donated or bid!

Slow Food Helps Coffee Presidia from Guatemala and the Dominican Republic

Andrea Amato (left), of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity
and Manrique Lopez Castillo from Huehuetenango, Guatemala at the
Specialty Coffee Association annual convention in Minneapolis.

Updated June 2, 2008. Saeyoon Baik, co-leader of the Carleton College student convivium and Ron Huff, leader of the Minnesota convivium have been working to get two Slow coffees into more American shops. Their efforts are part of Slow Food International Presidia projects.

Slow Food is working with the Italian government and an NGO to improve the standard of living in the two mountainous coffee-growing regions (each a Presidium) and to keep the cultivation sustainable. Each region has hundreds of producer families. A major goal is to increase sales of the products, Huehuetenango Highland coffee >> from Guatemala and Sierra Cafetalera coffee >> from the Dominican Republic.

Slow Food International’s Foundation for Biodiversity designates as Presidia, foods that are in danger of extinction and have a strong cultural heritage. (Wild Rice from the White Earth Reservation is a local example.)

The foundation brought representatives of the two Presidia to Minneapolis for the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual exhibition at the Convention Center on May 2–5. Before the show, Ron and Saeyoon were in touch with numerous coffee importers and roasters in the region to encourage them to try Presidia coffees at the convention and to purchase them.

Their efforts were a success. Andrea Amato from the Foundation for Biodiversity wrote, “Café Imports and . . . Dunn Bros., whom you introduced to Manrique and me, loved the Huehue coffee and will be buying two containers. . . . Your introduction of us to Royal Coffee Importers, [the] largest importer of coffees in North America, . . . was another great success. These coffees are now assured a place in the North American marketplace.” (Each of the two containers holds 250 sixty-pound sacks, a total of 30,000 pounds of green coffee beans.)

Items Needed for Slow Food USA Auction

Slow Food USA’s annual online auction is June 16-26, 2008. This year, Slow Food Minnesota’s board would like to ask you to donate an item to the auction to help fund a local youth program: we will either aid a youth farm or help a food-in-schools project with the proceeds.

Eighty percent of the sale price of each item donated for the benefit of Slow Food Minnesota will come back to our covivium for the youth project. The remaining 20 percent will help national Slow Food programs.

If you can donate a basket of products, a single interesting item, something handcrafted, an autographed book, food of any kind, a restaurant or hotel gift certificate ... anything that can be auctioned online, please do so! The items can be mailed or picked up: it’s up to you. They can be of use only to local residents or to people around the country.

Real Snails Prefer Paper Mushrooms

April 2008. Slow Food MN’s communications person (me) does origami on the side, and in creating the graphics for our Where the Wild Things Are event >>, I thought I would use an ingenious origami mushroom design by Vincent Floderer from France. I wrote to ask his permission to distribute my renditions of his design, and he replied with an endorsement of Slow Food, a funny story and the photo of his work above.

“Dear Jane,

“Thank you for being so kind asking for permission to use my mushroom for your meeting in May. It’s a great pleasure for me to accept.

“I’m really happy if this can help just a little to support the Slow Food movement.

“Feel free to fold so many mushrooms you like. Just be careful and check that nobody confuses them with the real ones during the meal. (Some of my last models have been tested by snails in the garden of a natural history museum! See pics attached.)

“I wish you and all the guests a wonderful, wild and slow meal!

“Bon appétit,
Vincent Floderer”

Terra Madre Candidates Selected by Standards Committee

In early March, 2008 our convivium’s Standards Committee chose four farms to sponsor in their bids to be delegates at the 2008 Terra Madre meeting in Turin, Italy. If the farmers are selected as delegates by Slow Food International, Slow Food Minnesota will provide each family with one plane ticket to Italy.

Our sponsored candidates are:
Brad and Leanne Donnay of Donnay Dairy in Kimball, MN. The Donnays have a flock of 100 goats and they provide organic farmstead goat cheese to restaurants.

Jim and LeeAnn VanDerPol of Pastures A Plenty in Kerkhoven, MN. The VanDerPols raise pastured hogs, chickens and cattle.

Alan and Lori Callister of Callister Farm in West Concord, MN. The Callisters raise chickens and turkeys. In addition, they are partners in Farm in the Market, which brings products from more than 70 sustainable producers to shoppers in Minneapolis.

Audrey Arner and Richard Handeen of Moonstone Farm in Montevideo, MN. The family produces grassfed beef in a polycultural environment.

Profiles of each candidate will appear soon on our Featured Artisanal Producer page.

A Busy-Slow Weekend: Food and Wine Experience, Carleton Cooking Class, Humphrey Institute Meeting

Food and Wine Experience, February 23 and 24, 2008. Slow Food Minnesota had a booth at the Food and Wine Experience at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Our volunteers gave literature to about 650 people and added about 100 names to our e-mail list. Many people were introduced to Slow Food for the first time. Others said they had been meaning to join and would do so now. There were good conversations about local events and Slow Food’s programs to support sustainable agriculture.

The theme of the booth was that Slow Food is an organization for everyone who is interested in good, clean and fair food and convivial dining (farmers, chefs, foodies, parents, producers, retailers …). The booth was designed and constructed by Sarah Libertus and Jane Rosemarin and staffed by Derek Hook, Naomi Karstad, Val Landwehr, Connie Lepro, Jane Rosemarin, Bruce and Julianne Seiber and Fred Stenborg. Many other provided suggestions or products for display.

Carleton College, Saturday, February 23. Three Slow Food Minnesota board members, Derek Hook, Ron Huff and Jane Rosemarin, went to Northfield to meet members of the Carleton College Slow Food convivium. The day included a French cooking class followed by lunch. The Carleton students learned to make carrot soup, a chicken gratin and profiteroles.

Lunchtime conversation covered many subjects. The Carleton convivium had been on a tour of Shepherd’s Way Farms, and we discussed this cheesemaker’s comeback. We talked about how the students are beginning to improve the quality of food on campus by giving the food service good recipes to prepare. One of the convivium’s activities is to have regular student-prepared meals at the Culinary House (a student residence hall).

Student convivia, of which the Carleton College convivium is one of the first, are the heart of Slow Food USA’s Slow Food on Campus program. The Slow Food Carleton Web site is: http://sfcarleton.wordpress.com >>
Jane Rosemarin

Humphrey Fellows Meeting, February 24, 2008. The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program was initiated in 1978 to honor the late senator and vice president and his lifelong commitment to international cooperation and public service. The program brings accomplished mid-career professionals from developing nations and emerging democracies to the United States for a year of professional development, academic study and cultural exchange. Collaboration among fellows, the university and a network of affiliated professionals creates an extraordinary environment for cross-cultural learning. The people-to-people approach to international understanding strengthens the global exchange of knowledge and experience essential to a sustainable world.

Minnesota Slow Food members Ron Huff and Audrey Arner met with a dozen of the fellows on February 24. Fellows were from Georgia, Kenya, India, Yemen, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Burma, India and Peru. They were interested in discussing global food and farming movements, specifically the work of Slow Food and its connection to other grassroots initiatives. We spoke in small groups about the history of Slow Food, current projects, Terra Madre — the world meeting of food communities, genetic integrity, biological diversity and local food systems. It was a warm and wholesome interchange.
Audrey Arner

Annual Meeting: Bread Is Hot, Desserts Are Out

Sunday, February 10, 2008. Our annual membership meeting took place in the comfortable social area of Edgcumbe Presbyterian Church. At the business portion, a new board, bylaws and a document on standards were approved. The standards document has two sections. The first includes criteria for selecting Terra Madre candidates. The second is a questionnaire for restaurants, producers and farmers who would like to appear on our Local Slow Foods Web page. The document will be available for distribution soon. The standards committee is made up of farmers, chefs and people conversant with wine, beer and Twin Cities dining. Members are Audrey Arner, Ken Goff, Betsy Kremser, Bob Kyllingstad, Dave Minar and Ron Huff (ex officio). Members of the new convivium committee (board) can be found on the Contact page.

The headline refers to the potluck that followed the business meeting. We had an excess of beautiful fresh bread, enough soup to please everyone and not enough pastry to go around: just one chocolate torte, one apple galette, and ice cream. The webmaster wonders if the buzz about artisanal no-knead bread has sent cooks to the bread board. Some members said they thought bread was easier to make than desserts.

At the site was a collection barrel provided by the United Way for the Keystone Community Food Shelf. Members donated rice, beans and canned tomatoes.

Slow Food Minnesota Newsletter Archive

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