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July 2013 Newsletter


In This Issue
Chair's Message
Volunteers Welcome
Slow Food Region Policy Committee Report
Volunteers Welcome
Tender Greens Member Mixer
June Book Club Meeting
Walking Tour of the Farm + Food Lab
July Book Club Meeting
Past Events
Join the Slow Food Movement!
We invite you to join the Slow Food movement! Slow Food Orange County is working hard to preserve and protect local foods and food traditions. Our convivium plans events and programs in places across Orange County-anything from community gardens, taste education dinners, and farm tours-join the network and become active in planning and participating in these diverse initiatives.  Click here for Benefits of Membership,  here to join or send us an email if you have questions.



Hello again,

Last month I wrote that four members of our Slow Food OC leadership team would be attending the Slow Food National Leadership Convention in New Orleans.  We have all returned full of new ideas and renewed enthusiasm. In a town hall-style meeting, the new executive director, Richard McCarthy, described his vision for Slow Food USA and answered questions from conference attendees. I was impressed with his ability to listen to input from the Slow Food membership, reflect back what he heard and turn feedback into an action plan.  I look forward to his leadership which will direct its immediate focus to supporting and strengthening local chapters and training local leadership.  This will be done through website information, conference calls, webinars and a yearly national convention. Having a team attending the conference allowed us to split up and attend different workshops. We attended workshops on a variety of topics:  Preparing for Media Interviews, Strengthening Chapter leadership, the Ark of Taste, the Snail of Approval, Fund Raising, and others. The California Regional group met and voted to accept the draft of a regional vision & statement of purpose.  This is a movement to support chapters in working together to spread the Slow Food message (a copy of this document can be found on the website). I trust that you will see the outcome of our convention experience manifested as we plan and carry out events and projects throughout the coming months.


After all those meetings in conference rooms we did get out and tour the city.  We saw the Crescent City Farmers Market. The farmers themselves were in the stalls early Saturday morning.  One farmer shared with pride about his first crop of tomatoes for the season.  He told me which ones were new varieties, which were the sweetest and which would make good sauce. Another farmer talked about varies of shell peas that I had never seen. In the afternoon, we broke up into groups and guided by local residents toured the city's various food communities.  There were eight different tours.  My tour was to the well established and rebuilt Vietnamese community. We learned about the struggles of local fisherman, visited a community park with a fruit orchard to provide snacks for children in daycare as well as garden plots for senior citizens and toured a Vietnamese bakery.  Later we toured a local composting company that also provided a community garden.  The highlight for me was a traditional Shrimp and Crayfish Boil in the middle of an Edible Schoolyard in a post-Katrina charter school. Alice Waters, Vice President of Slow Food International, spoke about the Edible Schoolyard Program. We heard local musicians and sampled food all donated by local restaurants and artisans. The opportunity to form friendships with fellow Slow Foodies from around the country stands out as a definite highlight.


I hope as you get involved with our Slow Food OC chapter you will consider attending future conferences.  It is inspiring to see what is going on in Slow Food across the country in small farm towns as well as in large cities.


Linda Elbert 

Slow Food OC, Chair

Slow Food Orange County Needs You
We are looking for active participants for our Events and Outreach Committees.  No experience necessary, just a desire to effect positive change in our community and, of course, a hearty appetite for good food!

EVENTS COMMITTEEBring your ideas to promote good, clean and fair food. Take the lead on one specific event or volunteer for the day to help on any one event. The next subcommittee meeting is June 20th. Please email the Events Chair, at, if you are interested in being on the committee.

OUTREACH COMMITTEE: School gardens, community gardens, food security, food policy - if you are passionate about taking action in these areas, we need you on this committee. Interested, email Gillian at

Slow Food Region Policy Committee Report

The Slow Food Region Policy Committee was formed to give Slow Food a voice in legislation that affects our members in the state of California. And so far we have been quite busy! Over the last few months we have voiced our disapproval of what is commonly referred to as an AG Gag Bill, which would make whistle blowing in ranches and slaughter houses much harder to do. We have also voiced our support to bills that would make it easier for our members to do their own homesteading and support GMO labeling, as well as keeping an eye on the ever-debated farm bill.


Contrary to popular belief, making our voices heard to our Senators and Representatives does work. In the coming months our policy committee will be organizing calling and emailing campaigns to our congress men and women. If you are interested in learning more about how you can be more active in food policy and would like to participate in a workshop, please email me at

Outreach Committee Meeting

Date: Thursday, June 20th

Time: TBA

Location: Laguna Beach

Members and non-members welcome

The Outreach Committee will begin moving forward on its three main initiatives at our next committee meeting, June 20th. Come join the conversation and help define the specific projects we undertake.

Priority Areas Are

  1. Develop a Slow Food OC Ambassador Program to invite more members of the community to join Slow Food in building our food communities in support of good, clean and fair food for all. Specific activities may include food swapping and produce exchanges, community pot lucks, cooking classes, and culinary heritage projects. Ambassadors will also help identify and meet with organizations and groups that share Slow Food principles.
  2. Expand Garden & Urban Ag Programs by defining a unique Slow Food OC garden installation product(s), engaging high schools and colleges in gardening + culinary programs, and seeking partnership with schools with existing agricultural programs.
  3. Establish Slow Food OC Snail of Approval Restaurant Program to celebrate restaurants and other establishments in Orange County that embrace Slow Food principles and possibly create a Slow Food Member "perks" program that provides local discounts at restaurants, garden stores, CSA programs, etc. for Slow Food OC members.

If any of these project areas are of interest, please contact Outreach Chair, Gillian Poe, at

Upcoming Events 

Member Mixer

Date: Wednesday, June 19th

Time: 6PM

Location: Tender Greens, Irvine Spectrum

Members and non-members welcome

Join Slow Food for our first ever member mixer; you will be able to join SFUSA while there. We will be joining with Tender Greens located at the Irvine Spectrum 6pm, June 19th. The chef at Tender Greens will be preparing a wonderful selection of appetizers for us free of charge (full entrées and alcoholic beverages will be available for a charge). Space is limited, RSVP is free but a must at

Central Orange County Food Swap

Date: Sunday, June 23rd

Time: 11am-1pm

Location: The Village, 1505 E. 17th St., Santa Ana 92705

Members and non-members welcome

A Food Swap is part silent auction/part village marketplace/part fun-loving open house where your homemade creations (breads, preserves, special concoctions, canned goods, etc.) become your own personal currency for use in swapping with other participants. What better way to diversify your pantry and network with like-minded friends and neighbors?

We welcome everyone, as long as you bring something you made, grew, or foraged yourself. We will also consider other homemade non-comestibles (soaps, beauty products, etc) on a case-by-case basis.

Bring an assortment of your homemade edible specialties (think pickles, preserves, baked goods, honey, granola, pasta, fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices... you name it!) to exchange for other handcrafted delights.
No money exchanges hands. Even your entrance to the event is FREE!


Eventbrite - Central Orange County Food Swap (sponsored by Slow Food OC)


You will also find additional details about the event, including downloadable forms, on the Eventbrite site.

For more information about the Food Swap Network, check out For questions regarding this event, feel free to contact Sarah Whittenberg at or 714-329-7521 cell/text on the day of the event.

June Book Club Meeting

Date: June 28, 2013

Time: 6:30PM

Location: Newport Beach, address sent upon RSVP

Members and non-members welcome

We will be reading Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan. RSVP to

Walking Tour of the Farm + Food Lab

Date: Wednesday, July 10th

Time: 10:00 AM

Location: Great Park, Irvine

Members and non-members welcome

Please join us on Wednesday July 10th at 10 a.m. as UCCE Master Gardner Teena Spindler takes us for a guided walking tour of the Farm + Food Lab Garden at the Great Park.


In 2009, the Park opened its Farm + Food Lab, as the beginning of a larger agricultural program planned for the Great Park. The farm gardens now include a Pizza Garden, Square Foot Garden, Herb Garden, Edible Garden and Butterfly Garden, Hay Bale Garden and a worm bin for composting. The garden beds are designed, planted and maintained by UCCE Master Gardeners.


Adults and children are welcome on the tour.

Eventbrite - Tour of the Farm + Food Lab Tour at the Great Park Sign up is free, but RSVP is required.

About the Farm + Food Lab

The Farm + Food Lab is a two-acre demonstration garden created to educate and inspire visitors of all ages on how they can grow organic, fresh produce in their own backyard. Open seven days a week and staffed by University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Master Gardeners of Orange County, the Farm + Food Lab is home to spring and fall gardening workshops for adults as well as monthly workshops for children, developed in partnership with the UCCE Master Gardeners.

July Book Club Meeting

Date: Friday, July 26th

Time: TBA


Members and non-members welcome

We will be reading Farm City: The Education of An Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter.

Past Events

Annual Membership Update, Gardening Tips, and Dining al Fresco at the Duck Club

About sixty members and non-members attended our Orange County Slow Food chapter's annual meeting on Sunday June 9th at the Duck Club at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary near UCI nestled between the Audubon watching marshes in the vicinity.


The late afternoon meeting started out with our co-chair, Linda Elbert, speaking about the origins of Slow Food, starting in Italy as an anti-fast food movement in protest of the arrival of a McDonald's at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome. Linda went on to explain what Slow Food is all about which is good, clean and fair food. This was followed by Ted Wright, our co-chair, and five of the OC Slow Food steering committee chairs giving updates to the crowd.


After the updates, we had the opportunity to learn more about growing your own food from a presentation on Edible Organic Gardening presented by two UCCE Master Gardener guest speakers, Rebecca Chadwick and Dana Duenzen. 


Both Rebecca and Dana are 2010 graduates of the OC Master Gardener and, among other duties, share responsibility for the hay bale at the Food and Farm Lab at the Great Park in Irvine. They spoke about the multitude of choices of containers for growing edibles, the many modern vertical gardening choices, such as woolly pockets, and gardening tips for successful growing in smaller spaces. They also brought along informational handouts including ones on hotter, summer season and cooler, winter season gardening suggestions.


Following the gardening talk, guests stayed to dine on an amazing array of homemade, seasonal dishes prepared and brought by those attending. We gathered around tables and while the sun began to set, and lively conversation was enjoyed by local chefs, restaurant owners, gardeners slow foodies and food geeks all having in common an interest in gardening and a love of good food.


Some favorite desserts, among many incredible dishes, included a coconut flan prepared by Aurora and an amazing pie brought by Ashly and Nate, the two owners of Wheat and Sons Bakery.


We encouraged people to sign up and renew and many did. If you live in OC, could not attend, and would like to join it is only $25 and you can join at



Photo credits: Janine Robinson

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