In 2010, the call to change our food system and celebrate “good,” “real,”authentic” foods really took off, led by a confluence of nationwide efforts – the artisan marketplace and DIY food movements, Slow Food’s Time for Lunch, and a flood of events that forced social foodies to have to choose between events each weekend for several months.
The people who have led these efforts impress me no end with their gumption to make massive change through the support of passionate volunteers and sponsors.
If you know you have it in you to start a movement, get inspired by these three Bay Area-based food leaders:
Good Food Awards & Good Food Month: Go For It
Sarah Weiner, Seedling Projects Director, Slow Food Nation organizer, and instigator of the Good Food Awards – started in 2010 – explains what it takes to start a food movement like this and her motivation for doing so:
“I am motivated by an ever-present desire to eat good food, and see people around me eating good food, and see the good people making good food thrive and be appreciated for their work, innovation, quirkiness, and stick-to-it-iveness.There is a faith that most of the things that ail us will improve if we eat good food together, and working to see how other people’s passions – creating sustainable cafes on university campuses, or developing more sustainable coffee farms in Kenya – can be stitched together to create something bigger all moving in the same direction and complementing each other as a united movement. Everyone has a role to play and is a piece of this patchwork quilt (the quilt is Alice Waters’ analogy).”
How do you know you are the person to start a movement?
“I guess because I can’t seem to have a conversation that doesn’t revolve around the food system in some way! No matter how it begins, it always seems to revert to food and the food movement, and nine times out of ten the casual new friends end up as collaborators on one project or another. It is pretty fun to have an always expanding group of collaborators and new energy and creativity constantly building on foundsations laid.”
Street Food Fest: Collaborate
As if La Cocina’s contribution to helping food entrepreneurs in San Francisco wasn’t enough, two years in a row Caleb Zigas, the La Cocina team, and a number of volunteers organized a vibrant Street Food SF fest in August.
At a related conference, street food advocacy leaders from around North America gathered and traded experiences and techniques to enable mobile food trucks and street carts to peacefully co-exist in major cities.
I asked Caleb what changes he’s seen in recent months as a result of these efforts:
“The biggest change, of course, is that what has historically been the launchpad for new immigrant and low income businesses has become a destination point for consumers across the country. That’s a great thing for the industry but continues to prove challenging as older business owners struggle to adapt to the new economy and gain the recognition they deserve. “
Eat Real: Craft a Manifesto
Every revolution starts with a manifesto, and Anya Fernald and team drafted a Food Craft Manifesto, a cross-section of Slow Food meets DIY, to kick off a major, multi-day event in Oakland (a “manifest-ival” ?)
Predictions for 2011
- Slow Money will become the epi-center of the good, local food movement with their goal for “a million people investing 1% of their assets in local food systems… within a decade.”
- Enabling people to make and sell more good food more easily will take off with easier access to kitchens and more flexible food preparation laws for direct-to-consumer “safe foods” such as passed in Michigan this year.
- Susie will be focusing more on starting a food business too, from the writing aspect anyway. This isn’t a prediction, it’s a fact dude, and I look forward to announcing this new effort in early 2011.
Eat well, live well, and connect well in 2011!