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Global revolution, local roots

Randy Wyrickrwyrick@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Doug Stewart | Special to the Daily
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EDWARDS, Colorado – It’s amazing how fast an international call to move slowly can spread.Slow Food started a couple years ago in response to the growing problems corporate farming is creating with the world’s food supply.Now it’s in more than 150 countries and hosts a worldwide gathering, Terra Madre, every two years.Colorado Mountain College local culinary program director Todd Rymer was recently in Torino, Italy for Terra Madre, an international Slow Food gathering where they strategize to boost small scale agriculture and sustainable food production.Slow Food advocates that food be good, clean and fair, that the workers who produce it are working in safe conditions and paid a living wage.”We need people to pick our food, and they’re as important as any other member of our society,” Rymer said.Rymer will be at Crazy Mountain Brewery Sunday to talk about his experience at Terra Madre, and what we do now.Terra Madre put together food producers, cooks, educators and students from 150 countries. Rymer fits most of those descriptions.

Local slow foodies are not culinary Don Quixotes tilting at corporate windmills. They’re part of a network of 100,000 members in 153 countries – grouped into 1,300 local chapters.Those 1,300 chapters hosted 5,000 events and planted 350 school gardens in 100 countries.Local slow foodies foraged for mushrooms with Bill Windsor, past president of the Colorado Mycological Society. They learned to cook in a wood-burning oven with Chef Kelly Liken. Rymer taught them how to make their own pasta and fresh pasta sauces.The rhetoric is lofty; the goal is to create a global revolution with local roots.Slow Food is becoming an international phenomenon; they launched their Thousand Gardens in Africa project. But its perspective is obsessively local.It teaches cooks and consumers how better food begins with local economies.Among other things, they discuss issues with food supplies. It turns out we all have them.In the U.S., congress passed the Child Nutrition Act last week, spearheaded by Slow Food. Slow Food pushed the Food Safety Bill, aimed at problems created by corporate farms, like the guy who had millions of eggs recalled because they were contaminated with gawd knows what.

Eagle has had community gardens for years. One is planned for West Vail, Rymer said.There’s a garden in Colorado Mountain College’s Edwards campus to grow produce for the culinary program. A couple elementary schools have them. The new Battle Mountain High School has a greenhouse. Eagle Valley High School helped pioneer agriculture and aquaculture programs in schools.”It’s making kids aware about where their food comes from,” Rymer said. “It’s interdisciplinary and incorporates science and much of their curriculum.”Rymer runs CMC’s culinary program and his students have fanned out to some of the valley’s finest restaurants and beyond. He showed up with Johnson and Wales, but when they left, he stuck around.Besides the standard culinary classes, CMC is launching a Sustainable Cuisine program.”It meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of people in the future to take care of themselves as well,” Rymer said.Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935, or rwyrick@vaildaily.com


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