On July 21, 2001, on the occasion of the first Slow Food U.S.A. Congress in Bolinas, California, over 100 convivium leaders from all over the country met for the very first time to gather and listen to Alice Waters, Deborah Madison, Joan Gussow and Carlo Petrini share their wisdom and perspective on Slow Food U.S.A’s guiding principles: sustainability, cultural diversity, pleasure and quality in everyday life, authenticity and integrity.
Before sitting downto a family-style lunch presented by Chez Panisse, leaders tasted artisanal products from some of Marin County’s finest producers. Afternoon forums also provided leaders with the opportunity to discuss many issues including education, collaboration and philanthropic efforts, as well as the importance of expanding Slow Food growth in a democratic and inclusive manner on through our next Congress in March of 2003. But perhaps most significantly, the Congress was an opportunity for leaders to meet with one another in a convivial setting, to learn of each other’s work and to weave the connections that will bring Slow Food U.S.A. to the next level.
One of the great achievements of this historic Slow Food event was the creation of an infrastructure that will keep Slow Food organized and focused on our mission as we grow. An Educational Committee will bring our lessons to younger generations and embrace the concepts of nutrition, biodiversity, biology and taste in programs Slow Food hopes to implement. A National Philanthropic Committee will help us begin to give back to the community and establish contact with other like-minded organizations in the U.S. An International Philanthropic Committee will work closely with Slow Food International initiatives such as the International Presidium Project and the Slow Food Award. A Communication Committee will facilitate communication within and beyond the Movement. Members of these committees, working with the leadership as a whole, will collaborate to draw up guidelines and strategies for the future. During the Congress it was also decided that by our 2003 Congress we will create a democratic network of national governors, elected from the leadership, that will work to propose creative initiatives for the future of the Movement nationally. A set of international governors will represent Slow Food U.S.A. at international Slow Food meetings, which unite the leadership from around the world. Our vision for Slow Food U.S.A. is one that relies totally on democratic principles led by the convivium heads themselves.
The Congress concluded on Sunday with a performance by peach farmer and author Mas Masumoto and his daughter Nikiko Masumoto and a trip to Robert Mondavi Winery to see the sustainable farming practices that the winery is committed to.
The Slow Food U.S.A. 2001 Congress was made possible by contributions from individuals and organizations including: Robert Mondavi Winery, Petaluma Poultry, Chez Panisse, Lola’s, Crown Point Press, Hawthorne Lane, Kelsie Kerr, Bill Alber, Susie and Mark Buell, the boys in the culinary program at Sonoma County Youth Probation Camp (who helped cater the event), Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery, de Lorimier Winery, Merry Edwards Pinot Noir, Matanzas Creek Winery and Jackson Family Farms, Cowgirl Creamery, Marshall’s Honey, Jeremiah’s Pick Coffee Company, June Taylor Preserves, McEvoy Ranch, O Olive Oil, Peter Martinelli and Paradise Valley Ranch, Star Route Farm, and Point Reyes Blue Cheese.