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WFPL News Special: Local Food in Louisville

Louisville’s local food movement is supported by restaurants, farmers and city government — but could local food feed the whole city? On Tuesday at 1pm, we’ll talk with local chefs, farmers and food advocates. We’ll also take your questions. Join us with your thoughts and questions on local food in Louisville at 502-814-8255 or news@wfpl.org.

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Slow Food International Leader Speaks About Sustainability and Southern Diets

The world population is expected to reach nine billion in the next 50 years. On top of that, the growing middle class in China and other developing countries is adapting a western-style diet…the type of diet that many healthy food advocates say isn’t sustainable, not for humans and not for the environment.

Slow Food International is one organization that’s pushing for a return to more traditional eating styles. The head of the organization, Paolo di Croce, visited slow food advocates in Louisville this week. He also sat down with WFPL’s Gabe Bullard to discuss the global lifestyle changes that need to take place in order to foster good, clean and fair food.

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Slow Food Advocate Says Western Diets Must Change to Improve Health, Environment

The head of the organization Slow Food International says Louisville has made great strides in the push for what he calls good, clean and fair food.

Paolo di Croce‘s organization supports food that is locally grown, healthy and sustainable for both farmers and the environment. He says there are a number of practitioners of the slow food philosophy in Louisville, and that could help make the southern diet healthier.

But he says a large-scale conversion to slow food would require fundamental lifestyle changes for many westerners. One of the first things to give up under slow food is the daily consumption of meat.

“If they knew the consequences on their health of eating all this industrial, bad meat, they will stop immediately,” he says. “If these people knew the impact eating twice a day meat has on the environment, they will stop eating meat.”

Di Croce is not against meat, but he says it should be cleaner and of better quality when it’s eaten. As for the higher price of certain local food, di Croce says eliminating the waste of industrial farming and of over-buying will help bring down costs.

“It’s normal that when we buy food we just want to spend less, then we spend more on iPhones, we spend more on shirts, we spend more on other things,” he says. “I think what we need to do is start to put the right value when we buy food.”

Di Croce was in Louisville yesterday and today to meet with slow food advocates and supporters.

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Slow Food Expert Visits Louisville

The executive director of Slow Food International will be in Louisville Monday and Tuesday.

Paolo di Croce is visiting several cities in the United States and Canada to meet with slow food advocates and potential supporters. His organization was founded as a response to the rise of fast food. It supports locally-grown ingredients and sustainable dining. According to a statement di Croce chose to visit Louisville because it represents the advancements made toward slow food across the south. He’s also promoting a new initiative called A Thousand Gardens in Africa which aims to promote small-scale agriculture on the continent.

Louisville was considered as a potential host city for the Slow Food International Congress, but the organization opted to combine the event with another conference in Italy to save money.

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Slow Food Congress Won’t Come to Louisville

The Slow Food International organization will not hold its quadrennial meeting in Louisville, though the city was considered a potential host.

Slow Food has decided to fold its International Congress into the similar Terra Madre event next year.  Slow Food had been considering Louisville as a host city, but because of financial reasons they have decided to host both events in Turin, Italy at the same time. Local chef and Slow Food Regional Governor Mark Williams says Louisville scored high marks with the council making the decision, but the decision to combine the events was purely financial.

Terra Madre is an international food network in 150 countries with a goal of global sustainability in food. The organizations come together every two years for a slow food colloquium.

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Chef Michel Nischan Praises Louisville

Healthy food advocate Michel Nischan says Louisville’s local food economy is a benchmark in the farm to table movement.

Nischan is a chef in Connecticut, but his father grew up in Kentucky.  He visited Louisville last summer for the festival of faiths and says he was impressed by the city’s strong support for local food.

“Louisville has just become an exemplar in local food support in its local businesses; the whole farm to table thing has been kicking up quite a bit around the country,” he says “now it’s like the in or the cool think, but Louisville’s been really a player in that for some time.”

Nischan will be at Harvest Restaurant on Market Street today (Monday) while he is in town promoting his non-profit organization Wholesome Wave. The group’s programs benefit underserved communities as well as farmers by leveraging private funds with government funding.

Nischan says he wants to bring his organization to his father’s home state and he says Louisville has a vibrant local food economy.

“It’s an amazing town, it’s an amazing, very special place, there aren’t many cities like that in the country, everyone is trying to drive a stake in the ground on the local food movement,” Nischan says “but very few are so committed top to bottom.”

Wholesome Wave’s Double Value program works to get private investors to match the value of food stamps used in local farmers’ markets.

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Slow Food International Postpones Decision

Slow Food International is still considering Louisville as a host city for its international congress, however, the group has postponed their decision until the next board meeting in June.

The organization works for environmentally responsible agricultural practices with a commitment to serving healthy, local food in communities. The name Slow Food comes from the group’s intent to fight the rise of fast food restaurants and its impacts on communities and the environment.

This would be the first time the event has been held in the US and only the second time it has been held outside of Europe. The International Congress has been held every four years since 1990; it’s first meeting was held in Venice.

The organization is also considering New York, Washington DC and New Orleans.

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Slow Food International Considering Louisville, Three Other Cities for Convention

by Dalton Main

The organization Slow Food International is looking to bring its largest event to the United States, and Louisville is among the potential host cities.

The name Slow Food comes from the group’s intent to fight the rise of fast food and its effects on communities and the environment. Every four years, the group holds an International Congress, which is a colloquium of about a thousand environmental and agricultural leaders.

The organization has never held a congress in the U.S. Aside from Louisville, New York, Washington D.C. and New Orleans are all being considered as host cities.

Local Chef Mark Williams is the southern regional governor for Slow Food USA.

“I think Kentucky and the Midwest region is really the heart of the farmland in America and I really think it would be important to come to the heartland and to the farm areas to see what’s going on here,” he says. “Louisville’s a really great food town and I think a lot of people don’t know about it; and I think it would be good for people from around the world to come learn more about it.”

This year’s congress would be the second ever held outside of Europe. The 2007 event was held in Mexico. All the others have been in Europe. A host city will likely be announced in March.

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Louisville Being Considered For Slow Food International Congress

by Dalton Main

The Slow Food International Organization is considering hosting its next international congress in Louisville. The city one of several around the world—including four American cities—being considered for the event.

Slow Food International is a non-profit organization founded in 1989 to counteract the rise of fast food. The organization champions local, healthy food with a commitment to communities and the environment.

This will be the 6th Slow Food International Congress; they’re held every four years. The first event was in Venice and the most recent event was in Puebla, Mexico. That was the first time the event was hosted outside of Europe.

The organization will announce its decision in the next few weeks.