Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Chattanooga’s chapter of Slow Food is on a mission to show that the value of food isn’t determined by a value menu and that eating locally can be cheaper than expected.
“Good, healthy, real food isn’t more expensive than McDonald’s,” said Chattanooga Slow Food leader Ann Tindell Keener.
To prove this message to the community and help generate healthy local alternatives, the group’s Chattanooga chapter is collecting seasonal recipes that can be made with locally grown ingredients and which cost $5 or less per serving. Five recipes from each growing season will be selected and printed in a free recipe booklet available Sept. 17 in conjunction with the Slow Food National Day of Action.
According to Keener, the $5 meals are part of a national awareness campaign that shows that eating locally can be a lifestyle choice for everyone and not just the elite.
“If you don’t think about where your food comes from, you should,” said Keener.
Like Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini, Keener said she believes a focus on local food will change the direction of civilization since food production and transportation have a direct link to both the oil crisis and the economy.
“When gas prices get high or the economy crashes, people realize they are invested in a lot of ethereal things,” said Keener. “Food is really real. You are preparing it and eating it three times a day.”
The easiest ways to participate in this movement are to shop at farmer’s markets and look for locally grown items sold in grocery stores, she said. Membership to Slow Food is also an important component by helping raise awareness, said Keener.
“Buying just 10 percent of your food as locally as you can makes a huge difference,” said Keener.
Recipes can be sent to Ann Tindell Keener at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keener said she also plans to begin a larger recipe book for recipes that don’t make it into the smaller booklet coming out this September.
According to Keener, the Slow Food movement was originally started in Italy in the 1980s when fast food was becoming more popular throughout the country. Slow Food is an international nonprofit organization — not a protest, she said.
“It’s a reminder that we need to hold on to our traditions and respect our farmers,” said Keener.
Chattanooga’s chapter of Slow Food has approximately 70 members who are all volunteers. To be an official member, Keener said she encourages people to register with the national organization and pay the membership fee, which costs $25.
“I really like Slow Food because it has a powerful message that is very simple,” she said.
For more information or to register as a member, visit here.