Slow Food USA
The Food Chain: Earth Day - image by Ellen Freytag
In This Issue:
·What's Cooking... Parsnip Johnny Cakes
·Dig In... Go Green Gardening
·Go Slow... Footprint Calculator
·Earth Day 2013: Faces of Climate Change
·In the Field... Vegetarian Potlucks
Dear Friend,

Every spring, Earth Day helps us rethink our old patterns and renew respect for Mother Earth in our daily lives. As caring parents, educators, and consumers, biodiversity can seem like a daunting subject; yet each of us was raised with an inheritance of seeds and recipes which can keep biodiversity alive in our own kitchens and gardens.

Heirloom seeds remind us about who we are, where we came from, and how we fed ourselves year-round. Historically, every region had a favorite bean, an apple they were famous for, or a nutritious salad green that extended the growing season. In our own backyards, we can become preservationists, working to cultivate the regional success stories embedded in the more than 20,000 plants that our ancestors used to feed themselves. In the process, we become participants in a global movement to restore some of the 90% of genetic diversity that disappeared in the last 100 years of big agriculture. At the same time, the heirloom crops we plant keep alive the seeds of democracy.

May this Earth Day bring your family and community together with our "delicious revolution" as we take on the nation's work of planting edible landscapes, reshaping vibrant local economies and cultivating the seeds of change.

John Forti
Slow Food Sea Coast/NH Leader,
Historical Horticulturist and Educator
A nationally recognized lecturer, garden historian, ethnobotanist and garden writer, John Forti is Curator of Historic Landscapes at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH. John co-founded and serves as co-chair of Slow Food Seacoast, member of the biodiversity committee for Slow Food USA and as vice-chair of the board for the NE Herb Society of America. Connect with him online at or as The Heirloom Gardener – John Forti on Facebook.
What's Cooking... Parsnip Johnny Cakes
By John Forti, Slow Food Sea Coast/NH Leader, Historical Horticulturist and Educator

Living in New England, Thanksgiving food traditions archive a regional inheritance of the local foods we could feast upon after harvest. I still look to those ingredients today as place-based staples for meals throughout the cold months. Crops like corn, beans, pumpkin, squash, parsnips, onions, turnips, leeks, rutabaga, kale, cranberry, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, Jerusalem artichoke, oyster root, apples, chestnuts, black walnuts, a range of late season greens, and herbs like sage, are but a small reminder of the intersection between two cultures in early America. Like this heirloom produce, Slow Food helps us remember that every bite we take comes from the soil, and that it's up to us to cultivate a life in which each mouthful can nourish our families with a deep sense of place.

The indigenous people where I grew up are known as the Wampanoag, and the first immigrants to my region are known today as "The Pilgrims." Throughout the cold months of the year I create my own modern version of a parsnip pancake, which blends two common recipes of the 17th century. One is an early colonial pancake or "Johnny cake" made with the native cornmeal. The other is a parsnip fritter. Here is my recipe:
·1 c. cornmeal
·1 c. flour (wheat or buckwheat)
·1 tbsp. baking powder (optional)
·1 tbsp. maple syrup or molasses (optional)
·2 c. milk
·1 or 2 eggs
·½ cup pre-cooked/leftover parsnip (chopped or coins)
·12-24 leaves of fresh sage
·½ cup olive oil (or your favorite grease for the griddle)
Mix dry ingredients. Beat eggs well, add milk and combine the two mixtures. A tablespoon of maple syrup or molasses syrup may be added to the batter. Turn in the parsnips. Fry fresh sage leaves in your favorite oil until crispy. Remove sage leaves and hold back the remaining oil for consecutive batches. Spoon pancake batter onto the griddle greased with sage butter. Place a fried sage leaf on the top of each pancake. Turn when bubbly, and brown your Johnny cakes on the flip side. Enjoy as a main meal or savory side dish.
The maple syrup often used on pancakes and fritters, provides perhaps the first documentation for our eat local and food justice movements. Over 150 years ago Ralph Waldo Emerson and many of the abolitionists put forth the idea that instead of buying sugar that made slave plantation owners prosperous, consumers should buy maple sugar and syrup and keep local farmers thriving. Today, more than ever, we know that our purchases have the ability to reshape local economies.
Dig In... How Green Does Your Garden Really Grow?
By Jasmin Malik Chua, TreeHugger
Hey green fingers, how green does your garden really grow? If you suspect that your pastoral idyll is breeding more toxic chemicals than prize hybrid-tea-rose bushes, then read on, my earth-moving friend. We'll have you footloose and pesticide-free yet, whether you're an intrepid landscape designer earnestly shaping topiaries to reenact the Fall of Troy or an apartment dweller content with a couple of potted begonias. The only question you need to ask yourself: Can you dig it?

Read more »
Grass Knuckles by Hafsteinn Juliusson "Grass Knuckles" by Icelandic designer Hafsteinn Juliusson
Ecological Footprint Calculator Go Slow... Ecological Footprint Calculator
By The Earth Day Network

The 43rd annual Earth Day is coming up on April 22. Find out how efficient or wasteful you are with Earth Day Network's Ecological Footprint Calculator. Your footprint is calculated by estimating the amount of land required to sustain your lifestyle, considering all of the biological materials you consume and all of biological waste you generate within a given year.

Earth Day 2013: Faces of Climate Change

Earth Day Network, the group founded by the organizers of the first Earth Day to coordinate the annual day of action that builds and invigorates the environmental movement, said that this year's "Faces of Climate Change" theme was chosen because of the need to highlight the mounting impact of climate change on individuals around the world.

"Many people think climate change is a remote problem, but the fact is that it's already impacting real people, animals, and beloved places all over the world, and these Faces of Climate Change are multiplying every day," said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network. "Fortunately, other Faces of Climate Change are also multiplying every day: those stepping up to do something about it. For Earth Day 2013, we'll bring our generation's biggest environmental challenge down to size – the size of an individual faced with the consequences."

Between now and Earth Day, Earth Day Network will collect and display images of people, animals, and places directly affected or threatened by climate change and tell the world their stories. The organization will mobilize its extensive global network of Earth Day event organizers and other partners to help collect the images. But they're also asking ordinary people to become "climate reporters" and send their pictures and stories that show The Face of Climate Change.

On and around Earth Day – April 22 – an interactive digital display of all the images will be shown at thousands of events around the world, including next to federal government buildings in countries that produce the most carbon pollution.

Learn more about Earth Day 2013 »
In the Field... Slow Food Potlucks are for Vegetarians, too!
By Laura Zaira, Member of Slow Food East Bay

"Big Pig Roast." That's the kind of announcement I'm used to seeing for Slow Food East Bay. Or "Meat CSA" or "Sources for your Heritage Turkey." There is nothing wrong with these events – unless you happen to be a vegetarian. So when I saw "Vegetarian Winters Potluck" as part of a "Winter Warmers" evening of potlucks to be held in the East Bay, I jumped at the chance to go. In addition to gathering people to help celebrate the New Year with a focus on the winter season, these potlucks would also be a chance to raise money and awareness about the People's Community Market in West Oakland.

The coordination for the potluck took place with ease. There were a few emails back and forth amongst the hosts and member participants, which included Slow Food potluck guidelines that spelled out how to do things right. Our menu came together as each person emailed what they intended to bring. The dishes were inventive and at the same time reflected our winter season. The question was brought up, "Should we bring beer or wine?" and the answer was a resounding "Yes!" Especially after one of the participants acknowledged she works in the wine business.

The end result was awe-inspiring. Our host, a seasoned potluck organizer, had his kitchen well prepared for hungry Slow Fooders. He timed things right and allowed for schmoozing before we dug into our amazing feast, which included: homemade bread, squash soup, roasted vegetables with white bean garlic dip, raw kale sesame salad, farro with arugula, spicy green beans, local cheeses and fruit, gluten-free pizza topped with butternut squash, home-grown dried ground chilies to sprinkle on everything if desired, spicy pickled brussels sprouts, home brew, local and international wines, and homemade aged noccino (green walnut liquor). Having just returned from a year living abroad in tropical El Salvador, I was struck by the complexity and variety of the meal. The Bay Area is so very blessed with great food choices and these people knew what they were doing! Slow Food East Bay vegetarian potluck Not that everyone at the party was a practicing vegetarian. Some of us, yes, but for those who weren't, it was understood that it was OK to do without meat, at least for the night. More than OK, it was a pause worth taking. There's nothing like eliminating something to appreciate it more.

After eating and getting to know one another, we all listened intently to Brahm Ahmadi, founder of the People's Community Market. He gave us his thoughtful and thorough pitch to help raise funds to build a neighborhood grocery store in an underserved community. We asked questions and also shared some of our own experiences with the People's Grocery, the organization that led to the creation of the People's Community Market.

When it was time to head home, we left with full bellies, new connections, and the feeling that we are all part of something bigger – the Slow Food Movement. Together, in our own special way, we each did our part to help create community, an ongoing and joyous process.
68 Summit Street, 2B, Brooklyn, NY 11231
718.260.8000 or 877 SlowFoo(d)
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