I attended my first meeting of my local Slow Food Convivia last night, in Portland. I had been invited nearly a year ago to some of the initial meetings of a group looking to explore community in greater Portland, around a monthly meal, consisting of healthy and local food. Obviously, I'm a bit of a procrastinator, as it has taken me a year to finally show up at a gathering. Ironically, the woman who invited me couldn't attend.
For those of you who don't know about Slow Food, it is a movement that was founded in Italy in 1986. Its founder, Carlo Petrini, sought to promote food and wine, as well as agricultural biodiversity worldwide.
Like many aspects of our culture, local food production has been co-opted by market elements, robbing it of uniqueness and resulting in the homogenization of much of what passes for production and preparation of food in the U.S.
While my intial experience of what Slow Food (the movement) was about came from an Utne Reader article, I didn't know alot about what the significance was of the worldwide movement.
I'm still in the process of understanding it, but my initial in-person experience was a positive one. The Portland Convivium (local chapter) had a communal meal, with members (and non-members) bringing various foods. All of us got to try new foods, drink some wine, socialize and then participate in the monthly meeting. As a newcomer, I met alot of new people, many with connections to food; either cooks, owners of bakeries or local markets, as well as others like myself, with no formal connection to food other than being a consumer.
The concept is an interesting one and I'll probably go back again. The meetings are the first Monday of the month and our next one will once again be at the beautiful St. Lawrence Arts and Community Center in Portland, with the meeting set to start at 6PM.