Slow Food Nation, the three-day festival that's been hyped as the "Woodstock of the food movement" and the "first continental culinary congress," has begun and is full swing. It encompasses a thriving Victory Garden in front of San Francisco's City Hall (pictured); a Food for Thought lecture series with speakers such as Michael Pollan, Wendell Berry, Alice Waters, Eric Schlosser, and Dan Barber; a Taste Pavilion with curated sections devoted to everything from charcuterie to ice cream; Slow On the Go booths with local restaurants, markets, and artisan purveyors selling "fast food" made from SOLE ingredients; speeches out in the park area; a rock concert; films; and more.
I confess, I was really skeptical that Slow Food USA would be able to pull this off. Back in January, rumors of mass chaos were circulating, some farmers I knew were grumbling at what they were being asked to "donate," and very few details had been nailed down.
But you know what? Slow Food Nation is really friggin' cool. They did it. I've been blown away by every aspect so far: ordinary folk are learning about composting and growing food, the lectures have been great, everything looks fantastic, there are composting stations and tap water dispensers everywhere (the Ethicurean's Elanor is in fact womanning one), and the food is of course terrific. If you live in the Bay Area, come on down (but for god's sake, bike or take BART). It's hot and the lines are long, but actually both of those are good things. There's plenty to do and see and eat that you don't need tickets for.
I'll be posting updates as I can, in between running back and forth to various lectures and stuffing my face.