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Good Food For All… Slow Food USA, San Benito Bounty Chapter $5 Challenge

“…cuz not everyone can afford to buy grass fed beef.”  Josh, my brother

Slow Food USA, San Benito Bounty Chapter

Last Saturday my family and I attended a Slow Food event, hosted by San Benito Bounty and Quicksilver Farms.  We were asked to bring a side dish consisting
of local, seasonal ingredients costing $5.00 or less to make.  The event was based on the Slow Food USA $5.00 Challenge. The idea behind the challenge is slow food shouldn’t have to cost more than fast food.

A couple of weeks ago I read an article in USA Today that restaurants like Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut are among the handful of fast food locations joining the ranks of accepting food stamps.  My immediate response was “NO!”  Our local farmer’s market accepts food stamps.  Instead of buying a chicken nugget meal or chicken tacos or chicken pizza… you could buy a whole chicken at the market and make all three of those meals out of one chicken, at home with your family.  But there are so many other factors to consider besides fast food vs. slow food.  Not every neighborhood has access to a farmers market or even fresh fruits and vegetables.  There are towns across the country that are considered “food deserts” and only pre-processed packaged foods are available.   Some people don’t have kitchens to cook in.  What happens when it comes close to
the end of the month and the amount of food stamps left will only allow a $0.99
cent meal…anything to allow your family to eat?

The poverty level has increased for a third consecutive year, according to the US Census.  More and more people are faced with the challenges of finding healthy affordable foods to feed their families.  When you consider the long-term financial impact of a lifestyle consisting of mostly processed, genetically engineered foods, the amounts are staggering.  Healthcare costs are through the roof. Families are fighting obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer because of the lack there of, of affordable healthy food.  How can a family of four on food stamps afford to pay for medications to support heart health or insulin levels?

“…slow food shouldn’t cost more than fast food…”  So how can we get there?  How can everyone around the world have access to fresh whole reasonably priced foods?  How can the people who help harvest our foods have safe, clean, healthy working environments?  How can the communities and it’s people work together to bring healthy food to the table while keeping families working?  That is where Slow Food comes in.

Who is Slow Food? Slow Food is a global grassroots member-supported nonprofit association that promotes our right to enjoy great food while responsibly protecting the heritage of food, its traditions and the cultures that make these pleasures possible.

The members of Slow Food are committed to improving the way food is developed, harvested, and distributed.  There are local chapters in over 153 countries around the world.  Slow Food operates on the Local, National,
and International level organizing activities, events, and projects that
promote the slow food movement.  Slow Food works closely with producers focusing on food biodiversity and traditions that support the growth of food communities, cooks, academics and youth working for a sustainable food system (Slow Food – How We Operate).  Sound interesting…?  Find a local chapter near you Slow Food International and Slow Food USA.

San Benito Bounty is my local chapter for Slow Food.  Their mantra is “Supporting Good, Clean, and Fair Food.” We live in the heart of an agricultural Mecca.  We are so fortunate, in San Benito County, to have access to a diverse array of organic produce and pasture raised meats right at our fingertips.  San Benito Bounty believes it’s our responsibility to share with our community and the surrounding communities the information they need to arm themselves in the fight to bring affordable fresh food to their tables.

Last Saturday’s event was hosted by two of San Benito Bounty’s founding partners, Tim and Nants Foley of Quicksilver Farms.  Quicksilver Farms believes in responsible, sustainable agricultural practices and educating others in what they’ve learned.  The farm provided a serene backdrop for the event.  There were apricot trees, walnut trees and lavender bushes outlining the property.  Nestled in the back of the property were a family of horses, sheep, donkeys, and goats.
The kitchen was filled with dishes handmade by each attending guest.  There was local fare consisting of potato salads, roasted beet & red pepper salads, pickles, roasted squash, tomato basil bruschetta, herb & pepper goat cheese with crackers, salsa and chips, apple pie, and the list goes on.  Each meal made for under $5.00 and from local seasonal ingredients.

The event was a success resulting in several new San Benito Bounty Slow Food members.  I’m proud to say that my family is now part of San Benito Bounty Slow Food!  We are very excited to get involved helping our community grow, helping to break down the barriers to allow our community and surrounding communities’ access to fair, clean, fresh, affordable foods.

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