Eaten by the Chronophage

22 Nov

It’s been months since I’ve written anything of any interest, and much has happened: Slow Food Nation, an unexpected move, the presidential election and the Green Fest. All of which I will touch on at some point in this post. It’s been a tumultuous 3 months and I now feel that I am finally settling down a bit and after some periods of stress and worry, disappointment and disillusionment, I am now feeling hopeful and more inspired. Thank goodness.

Slow Food Nation San Francisco August 29 – September 1 http://slowfoodnation.org/

There are many things that have shaped my views on food, the environment and social justice. To me, these three things are intrinsically linked; they are inseparable. This is often difficult to express and also difficult to act upon. I was talking to a friend of mine recently who was thinking about ways that he could help the world. He said that stories were what really effected and changed people. I started thinking about this and remembered that the few times when I’ve really been able to help someone change their views on food are the times when I’ve shared my experiences and breakthroughs. I think that, more than anything else, is what makes events like this interesting and important.

Farmers, foodies, artisans, writers and nonprofits all came together and made themselves and their views and observations available to the public. I attended the free, outdoor market which wound itself around its focal point – the Victory Garden.

City Hall Victory Garden
City Hall Victory Garden

 

I found some great information and learned about the wonderful FEED project http://www.feedprojects.org/, signed up with Roots of Change http://www.rocfund.org/ and got to try raw milk for the first time. But the food was expensive (not surprising) and the lunch available was surprisingly not local – at least not much of the meat – and there was lots of meat. The only Vegetarian “meal” I could find was a fresh tomato salad. I may have missed something, but I did look at all of the booths and all of the menus I could find. I have to give them props, I suppose, as they did include maps at every restaurant vendor pointing out where the meat and some recipes came from.

Lunch at Slow Food Nation

Lunch at Slow Food Nation

It seemed to me there was something missing though, as there often is at events like this. I went to the free event, primarily because the main speaking engagements and tasting sessions were really quite expensive. That’s all well and good for the rich foodies in the bay area, but what is being done to educate and inspire those who can’t afford to buy healthy food and don’t have the knowledge to help them make good food decisions in terms of health, cost and environmental impact? Shortly after the event, I found a fabulous article about just this very topic written by John Birdsall and published in San Francisco Magazine.

“The paradox of Slow Food lies somewhere between the Taste Pavilions’ high-ticket gastronomists swooning over bloomy-rind triple-crèmes, and the Victory Garden firebrands pushing for organic 2 percent milk for the masses. Stung by accusations of offering little more than epicurean thrills for the well fed, the organization is seeking new relevance at a time when the politics of the plate havemoved center table. “Everyone else is organizing to try and savethe world,” says the festival’s executive director, Anya Fernald, “but we’ve just been sitting around, talking about the cheese course.”

Read the full article here: http://www.sanfranmag.com/story/slow-food-was-here

Green Festival San Francisco November 14-16 http://www.greenfestivals.org/

I was volunteering at the festival on the last afternoon of the event so I had the opportunity to talk to a variety of people and hopefully spread the nonprofit love. But it seemed to me that there was not a very good way to connect with other nonprofits at the event. It was primarily eco-vendor heaven. You could feed and clothe your entire family, build, furnish and power your house and find ways to recycle absolutely everything with the products available under just this one roof. Oh and of course everything was organic, eco-friendly or fair trade. A good show really if your main interest lies in become a greener consumer.

San Francisco Green Festival Crowd

San Francisco Green Festival Crowd

It is unfortunate that I missed all of the featured speakers at the event. The line up was quite diverse with interesting people such as Chuck D (yes – from Public Enemy,) Dr. Cornell West, and Amy Goodman from the DemocracyNow.org‘s War and Peace Report. Thankfully, speeches and videos are available on the Green Festival website.

Once again I felt that a very specific market was being targeted at this event. From what I’ve read and heard about the speakers, I have no doubt at all that they were inspirational and said many things that people need to hear. But without that experience under my belt, the festival felt a little soulless. I was happy to read later that discussions were had about environmentalism and social justice – primarily within low income communities of the Bay Area. This week, Alex Jacobs wrote a nice article about this in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

“… the event’s keynote speaker, Cornel West, along with Van Jones of the Oakland-based Green Jobs for All and San Francisco-based Muslim minister the Rev. Christopher Muhammad, all conveyed an expanded definition of environmentalism that emphasized social justice and concerns specific to African American communities.”

Read full article here: http://www.sfbg.com/entry.php?entry_id=7546&catid=4

Presidential Election November 4th, 2008

What can I say that has not already been said? I voted for Obama and am happy, excited and hopeful. I wasn’t at any election or cellebration event but I could hear people yelling in the streets after the announcement and I was moved by Obama’s speech. If you haven’t had a look at the president-elect’s website, you should really do that now: http://www.change.gov/.

In Other News…

We moved! At first this was quite traumatic for me as we had found out that our beautiful building was being sold. I was convinced that with us having the best apartment in the building and the best view and conjuring up of all of the doomsday, worse-case scenarios I could, that the new owners would ask us to move out.  They might have to pay us to leave, but they certainly had the legal right to do so. After two, nerve racking open houses, a neighbor informed us of another apartment in the neighborhood that had just become available. More than anything else, we didn’t want to leave Telegraph Hill and signed a lease for the new place 3 days later. It took us a month to move everything up and down the steps but we are finally done and mostly settled in.  We can now see a different piece of the sky and the parrots are quite fond of the tree right outside of our office window.  It is a privilege and a blessing to live here and I strive to be consciously thankful for each day we are in the beautiful part of San Francisco.

Sunrise in the Garden

Sunrise in the Garden

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