Slow Food Na­tions festival hits Den­ver

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Danika Wor­thing­ton

Den­ver has been taken over. Food­ies have co­a­lesced on the city, fill­ing its streets, parks and pub­lic spa­ces with mar­ket­places for the Slow Food Na­tions festival, which pushes for or­ganic, lo­cal and healthy meals. Roughly 20,000 peo­ple were ex­pected to at­tend the event through­out the weekend.

“There was once a time where our par­ents and grand­par­ents would sit around and eat a meal to­gether,” Slow Food USA Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Richard Mccarthy said. “And oddly enough, that’s be­come the most rad­i­cal thing you could do.”

The Slow Food move­ment be­lieves the rise of a fast food cul­ture that val­ues fast, cheap and easy has led to a loss of cul­ture and has been harm­ful to the en­vi­ron­ment and farm­ers. To coun­ter­act this, the move­ment be­lieves peo­ple should eat lo­cal and or­ganic food that’s in sea­son, pay more to sup­port com­mu­nity farm­ers and — as the name sug­gests — slow down.

Peo­ple are al­ready hun­gry for this, Mccarthy said. They’re search­ing for a sense of com­mu­nity and are try­ing to rekin­dle the con­nec­tion be­tween not only sup­ply and de­mand but ru­ral and ur­ban.

And that’s hap­pen­ing in Den­ver, where “the Plains col­lides with moun­tains,” he said.

“There’s some won­der­ful ten­sion there,” he said. “And we see that ten­sion yield­ing so much cre­ativ­ity here around food, es­pe­cially around the young gen­er­a­tion that has no ca­reer path, whose op­por­tu­ni­ties are so bleak.”

“That has cre­ated a strange, won­der­ful, mag­i­cal ten­sion,” he con­tin­ued. “Craft beers, dis­tillers, the whole pop-up econ­omy is alive here. And it’s here, the sort of fly­over com­mu­ni­ties that of­ten get for­got­ten, where real com­mu­nity is be­ing rekin­dled through food.”

That’s why Den­ver was cho­sen to host Slow Food Na­tions this year and for years to come. The first and only other Slow Food Na­tions in the States was in San Fran­cisco in 2008. This year’s event was based off Slow Food In­ter­na­tional’s bi­en­nial Terra Madre in Italy.

Boul­der County Farm­ers Mar­kets Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Brian Cop­pom said it’s no sur­prise Den­ver was cho­sen, re­it­er­at­ing that the metro area’s brew­eries, dis­til­leries and fo­cus on nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents show that there is a strong food move­ment hap­pen­ing here.

“With the vis­i­bil­ity of Slow Food, it re­ally raises the level of con­ver­sa­tion we’re go­ing to have in Den­ver and on the Front Range,” Cop­pom said.

Gabriel Scar­lett, The Den­ver Post

Roughly 20,000 peo­ple were ex­pected to visit the Slow Food Na­tions festival, hosted in Den­ver this weekend. The event pro­motes eat­ing lo­cal food and sup­port­ing farm­ers.

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