Slow Food Story

Slow Food Story is a documentary about how Carlo Petrini and his friends created the Slow Food movement. A revolutionary quest made of strong beliefs regarding economy, politics, science, philosophy… A story regarding people’s wellbeing bringing the spotlight on Food and it’s key role in contemporary world problems. You can find more information about it on Slow Food Story’s website (italian). The movie premieres in Italy on May 30.

 

 

Since I did not find any english descriptions or subtitles for the movie trailer, I am posting the translation I made from the italian release. It is not good english, but I guess the message is clear.

Here it is:

The story of the man and the movement that revolutionized gastronomy

This is the story of a revolution.

A cultural revolution, one of those that do not leave dead on the field, but still, when set in motion, marks a point of no return.

This is the story of a slow revolution. Slow. As a snail.

A revolution has been going on for 25 years and still shows no signs of stopping.

It has a Commander in Chief, which is called Carlo Petrini, called Carlìn.

The inventor of Slow Food.

In Italy, 1986, he founded the gastronomic association Arcigola, and three years later in Paris launches Slow Food. An international movement that began as a resistance to Fast Food, that came threatening the local cuisine all over the planet.

People like the idea, the movement of the nut made followers grow worldwide. Starting from Bra, a town of 27 thousand inhabitants, and speaking almost exclusively Piedmontese dialect, Carlìn creates out of nothing an international association that now has 85,000 members in 130 countries, and has a tremendous impact in the world of gastronomy and culture of our time.

His bet is powerful. It is to free food from the cultural marginality that it is relegated and get the focus on the centrality of food – regarding economy, politics, science, philosophy.

The ambition is revealed in all its greatness in the 2000s, when Petrini gives life to his most visionary projects: Terra Madre, a forum of 5000 farmers from around the world gathered in Turin to give voice to agriculture that fights against damaging mass crops, also giving life to the University of Gastronomic Sciences, which brings dignity to the academic study of food.

Meanwhile, gastronomy – also thanks to him – flies: the chefs are the stars,  TV from all over the world are full of cooking shows, publishing industry produces it’s best-sellers. Now, food typical products are cool- defended by the Slow Food Presidia project –  they are a status symbol.

A winning idea – Slow Food – as sometimes happens, is not the result of the predictable.

Slow Food Story is the story of a group of friends from a province growing  together between jokes, colossal eating and political passion. Between them, there is Petrini, of course. But there are also his best friends: Azio Citi and Giovanni Ravinale.

This is the story of their friendship. A story made of joy, but also of sorrows.

A story of restaurants, story of revived farmers rituals (like the “sing the eggs” ritual at night, during Lent in the farms of Langhe, waking up the farmers with improvised musicians and red wine, till dawn). A story of unmissable events like the club Tenco and the beast of San Fermin in Pamplona. A story of drunken travels, of bets, won or lost, but lived always with the same unsinkable gruff and contagious humor and character.

A life rich and unique. That is the life of Carlìn. Today he is an “European hero”, says Time Magazine, and a columnist in the most important Italian newspaper. Petrini is firmly anchored in the small town from which he took off, in spite of the global dimension of the international movement that he founded.

Here is a story that shows us how even the most important cultural adventures can arise from an amused and ironic approach to life.

And that, perhaps, deserves to be told.

Gotham Greens + Whole Foods: Commercial-Scale City Greenhousing

57904_10151356204230843_895285916_nGotham Greens is the first commercial-scale rooftop hydroponic greenhouse in the world. They got together with Whole Foods for this groundbreaking entrepreneurship, using less water, eliminating pesticides, putting an end to fertilizer runoff and leading the way to a sustainable agriculture.

 

 

 

You can read more on this Whole Foods article.

FoodMood

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FoodMood is an interactive information visualization project about food and emotion – two basic yet complex components of everyday life. The project aims do gain a better understanding of global food consumption patterns and its impact on the daily emotional well-being of people against the backdrop of countries’ GDP and obesity levels.

Michael Pollan’s Food Rules

Based on Michael Pollan’s talk “Food Rules” given at the RSA, this animation was created in the context of the RSA/Nominet Trust film competition. Using a mixture of stop-motion and compositing, our aim and challenge was to convey the topic in a visually interesting way using a variety of different food products. We made a little table top set up at home and worked on this a little over three weeks.

More information available at benoitdetalle.com/food-rules

Here are also some photos of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules in the making
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By 
WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

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Also read a post from WebMD, March 23, 2009

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– We Americans suffer a national eating disorder: our unhealthy obsession with healthy eating.

That’s the diagnosis delivered by food author Michael Pollan in a lecture given last week to an overflow crowd of CDC scientists.

As part of an effort to bring new ideas to the national debate on food issues, the CDC invited Pollan — a harsh critic of U.S. food policies — to address CDC researchers and to meet with leaders of the federal agency.

“The French paradox is that they have better heart health than we do despite being a cheese-eating, wine-swilling, fois-gras-gobbling people,” Pollan said. “The American paradox is we are a people who worry unreasonably about dietary health yet have the worst diet in the world.”

In various parts of the world, Pollan noted, necessity has forced human beings to adapt to all kinds of diets.

“The Masai subsist on cattle blood and meat and milk and little else. Native Americans subsist on beans and maize. And the Inuit in Greenland subsist on whale blubber and a little bit of lichen,” he said. “The irony is, the one diet we have invented for ourselves — the Western diet — is the one that makes us sick.”

Snowballing rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in the U.S. can be traced to our unhealthy diet. So how do we change?

7 Words & 7 Rules for Eating

Pollan says everything he’s learned about food and health can be summed up in seven words: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Probably the first two words are most important. “Eat food” means to eat real food — vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and, yes, fish and meat — and to avoid what Pollan calls “edible food-like substances.”

Here’s how:

  1. Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. “When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can’t pronounce, ask yourself, “What are those things doing there?” Pollan says.
  2. Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.
  3. Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.
  4.  Don’t eat anything that won’t eventually rot. “There are exceptions — honey — but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren’t food,” Pollan says.
  5. It is not just what you eat but how you eat. “Always leave the table a little hungry,” Pollan says. “Many cultures have rules that you stop eating before you are full. In Japan, they say eat until you are four-fifths full. Islamic culture has a similar rule, and in German culture they say, ‘Tie off the sack before it’s full.’”
  6. Families traditionally ate together, around a table and not a TV, at regular meal times. It’s a good tradition. Enjoy meals with the people you love. “Remember when eating between meals felt wrong?” Pollan asks.
  7. Don’t buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.

Monsanto doesn’t want you to know what you’re eating

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The biotech industry is working to prevent mandatory labeling for foods with genetically engineered contents

BY  AND 

The biotech industry, led by Monsanto, will soon descend on the state of Washington to try its best to defeat I-522, a citizens’ ballot initiative to require mandatory labeling of foods that contain genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. Voters should prepare themselves for an onslaught of discredited talking points, nonsensical red herrings, and outright lies designed to convince voters that they shouldn’t have the right to know what’s in the food they eat.

Topping the biotech industry’s propaganda playlist will no doubt be this old familiar tune: that requiring retailers to verify non-GMO ingredients in order to label them will be burdensome and costly, and the additional cost will be passed on to consumers who are already struggling to feed their families.

Playing to consumers’ fears of higher food costs makes good strategic sense, especially in tough economic times. But the argument doesn’t hold water, say food manufacturers and retailers who already have systems in place for verifying non-GMO, as well as rBGH-free, trans fat-free, country of origin and fair trade. The system involves using chain-of-custody, legally binding affidavits, not expensive testing.

“We have used the affidavit system repeatedly, without undue burden or cost,” said Trudy Bialic, director of public affairs for Seattle-based PCC Natural Markets. PCC, the largest consumer-owned natural food retail co-operative in the United States, uses the affidavit system to ensure its chocolate isn’t made using child slave labor, its dairy products don’t come from animals subjected to rBGH hormones, and that all seafood was harvested using sustainable sources and practices.

Trader Joe’s, a privately held chain of nearly 400 U.S. stores, confirmed that the company’s private label products, under the names Trader Joe’s, Jose’s and Ming’s, are GMO-free, though the company doesn’t label them as such. In an email, a company spokesperson said:

When developing products containing ingredients likely to come from genetically modified sources, we have the supplier of the product in question perform the necessary research to provide documentation that the suspect ingredients are from non-GMO sources.This documentation is in the form of affidavits, identity-preserved certification of seed stock, and third-party lab results from testing of the ingredients in question.

Trader Joe’s performs random audits of items with suspect ingredients, using an outside, third-party lab to perform the testing, the company said. Trader Joe’s system is not unlike that of the USDA, which requires sworn statements from food producers to certify organic foods. The agency requires test samples from approximately 5 percent of products, all of which must be GMO-free in order to be certified organic. For the other 95 percent, the agency relies solely on sworn statements.

Clif Bar & Co. also requires affidavits from ingredient suppliers demonstrating they can meet the company’s stringent non-GMO requirements.

Monsanto would have you believe that verifying and labeling for non-GMO ingredients is a costly and burdensome affair, but the fact that Trader Joe’s, known for its discount prices, can provide GMO-free private label products, which reportedly accounts for over two-thirds of the company’s estimated annual $9 billion in sales, takes the wind out of the “burdensome” argument. That leaves the cost of adding another line of ink to a label. Trader Joe’s doesn’t yet label its private label products as GMO-free, but the company cites a lack of clear labeling guidelines from U.S. governmental agencies as the reason it doesn’t label, not cost.

Megan Westgate, executive director of the Non-GMO Project, confirmed what retailers who use the affidavit system said:  “An affidavit system like what’s proposed in I-522 is a powerful way to have a significant impact on the food supply with minimal cost.”

How does the affidavit system work?

Companies selling non-GMO foods provide a sworn statement (i.e., an affidavit) to the retailer that the ingredients used are sourced from crops that aren’t intentionally genetically engineered. The affidavit, unless deliberately dishonest, protects the manufacturer and the retailer from liability in the case of unintentional GMO contamination.

Retailers are responsible only for labeling a few raw commodities that may contain GE ingredients, such as sweet corn, papaya or squash.  In these cases, the retailer can either stick a simple label on the bin or ask its supplier for an affidavit stating that the crop is GMO free.

Under this system, no costly testing for GE ingredients is required. No burdensome government oversight is necessary. The system is inherently designed to protect small grocers and retailers, at no additional cost to the customer or taxpayer.

The beauty of the affidavit system is that it offers retailers and manufacturers a simple, easy way to comply with a regulatory model that provides consumers with the right to know what’s in their food without increasing grocery costs.  Even for manufacturers who might otherwise seek to pass on the trivial expense of relabeling to consumers, empirical studies show that the fear of losing customers in the competitive food industry will be a deterrent to raising prices. Did food costs change when we labeled calorie content?

Is the system reliable? Retailers say yes. Why would manufacturers intentionally deceive retailers only to open themselves up to a lawsuit and public relations nightmare? And the system has a proven track record. PCC Natural Markets, Trader Joe’s and Clif Bar all use affidavits, as do other manufacturers who use them for country-of-origin and no-trans fat labeling. And nearly two-thirds of the nation’s largest dairy processors use sworn affidavits from producers in order to label rBGH-free. (rBGH, or recombinant bovine growth hormone, is a synthetic, genetically engineered hormone injected into dairy cows to increase milk production.)

Contrary to claims made by companies like Monsanto, states do have a constitutional right to label food. In fact, the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act explicitly allows states to add language to labels so long as the federal government doesn’t require language on the same subject – a right that has consistently held up in federal court.

A chain-of-custody, legally binding affidavit labeling system empowers consumers to make more informed choices about what we eat, without increasing the costs of groceries or burdening retailers and manufacturers.  One simple label to identify foods that have been genetically engineered, often using the genes of foreign bacteria and viruses, would lead more consumers to seek out sustainable, organic, non-GMO alternatives. And that – not some phony line about increased food costs – is why Monsanto is fighting labeling.

Feedipedia: An on-line encyclopedia of animal feeds

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Feedipedia is an open access information system on animal feed resources that provides information on nature, occurrence, chemical composition, nutritional value and safe use of nearly 1400 worldwide livestock feeds. It is managed jointly by INRACIRADAFZand FAO.

The main objective of Feedipedia is to provide extension and development workers, planners, project formulators, livestock farmers, science managers, policy makers, students and researchers with the latest scientific information to help them identify, characterize and properly use feed resources to sustainably develop the livestock sector.

This is particularly important in emerging and developing countries where feed resources available locally are often under-utilized due to lack of information. Providing global knowledge on feed resources, including unconventional and lesser known ones, contributes to the development and use of innovative and appropriate feeding options and strategies.

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Feeds datasheets contain the following information:

  • Feed names, including vernacular and scientific names
  • Description of the plants or plant parts/products used as feed
  • Feeding recommendations for the main livestock species: cattle, sheep, goats, camels, poultry, pigs, rabbits, horses, fish and crustaceans
  • Tables of composition and nutritive value
  • Illustrations, including photos and processing charts
  • Distribution and basic agronomic information
  • Forage management
  • Processes for improving nutritional value
  • Potential constraints such as presence of anti-nutritional and toxic factors
  • Environmental impact of the production and use of feeds

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