Slow Food Nation Showing Some Cracks

I was wondering how long it would take local foodies to realize that Carlo Petrini’s new book took some major pot shots at the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market. I’m guessing for most of them, it was the scoop item in the SF Chronicle’s food section today. In the book, Petrini is somewhat dismissive of the Market as being elitist and catering to rich ladies who lunch, happy to pay exorbitant prices for trophy food, from farmers who are milking the organic food trend in the Bay Area. I know I was taken aback when I read the anecdote, and that it colored my reading of the book. It’s interesting that he would make such a sharp jab at exactly the constituency whose support is needed to make next year’s Slow Food Nation event in SF a success.

I’d been planning on offering up myself as a SFN volunteer — both on site (since I have worked as a volunteer at dozens of food and cultural events in SF) and pre-event. I’ve been a SlowFood member off and on for 5 or 6 years, after all. But after I read the book, I’ve cooled on the idea. Am I any less of an authentic slowfoodie because I am not a multi-generational farmer? Or not part of an indigenous people trying to save their own cultural traditions? Is my own evangelizing of eating locally and supporting local farmers of no value to the Slow Food movement? It sort of feels that way.

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