Sustainable WNC

The Gateway to Sustainability in Western North Carolina

Being “Slow”

At it’s most basic, I think of being “slow” as the preservation of Taste. The foods that cross our lips determine so much of who we are and who we have been and who we will become.

Until very recently, food has always been at the very center of culture and life. With the industrialization of food and the rapid pace of life the importance of the table has shifted. Slow Food is a response to that shift. I quote from a recent article in Slow entitled Complexity, Chaos and Love written by Cinzia Scaffidi: ” …think of Slow Food as a cultural movement defending the heritage of people’s material culture…” .

In a broader sense the Slow Food movement embraces these ideals:

The stewardship of the land and ecologically sound food production
The revival of the kitchen and the table as centers of pleasure, culture, and community
The invigoration and proliferation of regional, seasonal culinary traditions

At the local level here in Asheville there is a group of some 400 interested individuals sharing their stories and heritage, tasting local foods and sharing their community of the table. We have a Convivium, our form of “organization”, which you can find out more at

3 Responses to “Being “Slow””

  1. Wally Says:

    Hey Mark — I visited and noticed a list of restaurants. How would one know that he or she is eating in a “slow food” restaurant? Also, I hope you will post SFA’s events in your blog and on the SWNC calendar. Thanks.


  2. mark Says:

    Hey Wally,
    Through the local Slow Food Convivium, we are working with those restaurants to support the use of as many local ingredients as possible. As well, we are encouraging them to think seasonally and to delve into the traditions of WNC. One of the projects we are working on is the “100 Mile Challenge”. Our aim is to challenge everyone to dine on only food stuffs produced within 100 miles of where they live. At the restaurant, we will be unveiling the “100 Mile Menu” sometime this Spring.

    As Bill McKibben pointed out in his recent article in the Christian Science Monitor (see the link on the MAIN front page “Bill McKibben: Less Carbon”) eating local food also uses about 10 times less energy than food shipped around the globe. One more reason to Eat Local.

  3. Mark Says:

    I also contacted Slow Food USA and here is there reply regarding Slow Food restaurants:

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the update on March of the Chefs–congrats on the news coverage! Also, regarding the criteria, it’s a great question; we don’t have any strict, quantifiable criteria, which is intentional. We are really trying to avoid certification, or anything like that. In our three guides we have designated with snails those places that “go above and beyond” when it comes to sourcing locally and sustainably.

    These days we are galvanizing around the language of “good, clean, and fair,” so I think it’s safe to say that those are the qualitative criteria we look at.

    Interestingly, SF NY City is presently working on developing criteria for listing restaurants on their local website…any thoughts are welcome, and I’ll keep you in the loop on the results of that conversation if you like.

    I hope that helps! (?)


    Jerusha Klemperer
    Assistant to the Executive Director
    Slow Food USA

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