The Wall Street Journal has this correction today to its Nov. 16 article on "Politically Correct Developments," which had put to rest some of the speculation over why Alice Waters was involved with Montana’s Ameya Preserve:
WADE DOKKEN, a developer of the Ameya Preserve housing development in Paradise Valley, Mont., paid $100,000 to Slow Food Nation, a nonprofit organization founded by San Francisco Bay area restaurateur Alice Waters in exchange for her help in guiding plans for a cooking school on the property. Mr. Dokken would pay an additional $400,000 directly to Ms. Waters and not Slow Food Nation for additional consulting services under terms of an unsigned contract. Based on erroneous information provided by Mr. Dokken and Ms. Waters, a Nov. 16 Weekend Journal article on new "politically correct" developments incorrectly said that Mr. Dokken pledged $500,000 to Slow Food Nation in exchange for Ms. Waters’s participation.
It’s odd that the WSJ specifically states that the original total came from both Dokken and Waters. Wonder who was the source of the correct split?
Although she is an idealist, Alice Waters is not the Joan of Arc of the sustainable food movement. Her emphasis has always been on the primacy of taste, on leading through deliciousness. She deserves a lot of respect, both for her success in elevating seasonal, local ingredients to a revered art form, and for initiating and spreading the Edible Schoolyard project. She has a right to earn money from the stature she has achieved — by all accounts she herself is not all that wealthy — and a cooking school under her imprimatur would dramatically increase the number of chefs who insist on a short field-to-fork food chain.
So let’s hope she does her homework on Dokken, and the actual ecological and karmic footprint of the Ameya Preserve, before signing the abovementioned contract. Maybe there are other benefactors out there she will choose to team up with instead.