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Mega-Event Alert: Slow Food Nation '08

Even though Labor Day's Slow Food Nation spectacular was announced some time ago, the details are now coming into focus with the official announcements coming in today. As expected, the festival put on by Alice Waters should be a biggie, so expect Ms. Panisse and her well-known mantra to be front and center for roughly the next three months. Joining Waters atop the Slow Food Nation billboard will be her merry band of vigilant slow eaters, including Michael Pollan, Carlo Petrini, and Mayor PlumpJack, to name a few.

More details: it's billed as "the largest celebration of American food in history", the official site—complete with a blog!—is up and running, starchitects are involved (cf. Saitowitz's Bread Pavilion, pictured), most events will be at Fort Mason and Civic Center Plaza, tickets are on sale now, and even Gnarls Barkley and that "Crazy" song will be there, so there's that.

The Press Release:

For Immediate Release: SLOW FOOD NATION TO TAKE PLACE IN SAN FRANCISCO LABOR DAY WEEKEND 2008

Largest Celebration of American Food in History

On Eve of the Presidential Election, Gathering Sets New Agenda for a Sustainable and Healthy Food System

Keynote Speakers Include Wendell Berry, Marion Nestle, Carlo Petrini, Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Vandana Shiva and Alice Waters

San Francisco, CA (June 4, 2008) — Slow Food Nation, the largest celebration of American food in history, will take place in San Francisco over Labor Day weekend (August 29 to September 1, 2008). An unprecedented event, Slow Food Nation will bring together tens of thousands to experience an extraordinary range of activities highlighting the connection between plate and planet. The majority of Slow Food Nation’s events will be free and open to the public; certain events are ticketed. Tickets go on sale Wednesday, June 4 at www.slowfoodnation.org.

At the peak of harvest season, and on the eve of a Presidential election, Slow Food Nation will bring together local citizens and visitors, farmers and food artisans, political leaders, environmental advocates and health-care experts, community educators and artists. Participants will savor food from across the U.S. at Taste, a 50,000 square foot pavilion; meet farmers and producers at a marketplace surrounding a 10,000 square foot newly-planted urban garden in the heart of the City; learn from visionary speakers; and engage in political discourse to shape a more sustainable food system. Slow Food Nation will also feature a music festival, workshops, films, dinners, hikes and journeys.

“Slow Food Nation will catalyze a huge shift in how Americans perceive and prioritize food. Through the four-day event, we hope to build momentum and demand for an American food system that is safer, healthier and more socially just,” said Anya Fernald, Executive Director of Slow Food Nation. “Our founderAlice Waters has set the stage for a delicious revolution through decades of leadership and advocacy and our parent organization, Slow Food U.S.A., has built a wide membership base across America. By creating a framework for a deeper environmental and community-based connection to our food and farmers, Slow Food Nation will help participants learn how everyday choices affect our well-being, our culture and the health of the planet.”

Highlights of the four-day event include:

Taste
Saturday, August 30; 11 am – 3 pm; 5 pm – 9 pm
Sunday, August 31, 11 am – 3 pm; 6 pm – 9 pm
Fort Mason/Festival Pavilion
Tickets: $45 – $65

Taste is Slow Food Nation’s grand celebration of good, clean and fair food from across the United States. In-depth taste workshops and hands-on experiences with quality, process and distinguishing flavor factors will connect visitors with the origins and true value of our food. Each of the 15 uniquely designed pavilions showcases a different food through on-site demonstration and tastes. Featured foods include: Beer, Bread, Charcuterie, Cheese, Chocolate, Coffee, Fish, Honey & Preserves, Ice Cream, Native Foods, Olive Oil, Pickles & Chutney, Spirits, Tea and Wine. The Green Kitchen takes place here, where acclaimed chefs will demonstrate techniques for making simple, everyday dishes sustainable.
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Food for Thought Speaker Series
Friday, August 29, 9 am – 4:30 pm and Saturday, August 30, 11:30 am – 10 pm
Civic Center/Herbst Theater and Milton Marks Auditorium
Tickets: $5 - $25

Featuring leading thinkers, community organizers, journalists and activists discussing current food issues, from policy and planning to education and climate change. Speakers include: Wendell Berry, Marion Nestle, Carlo Petrini, Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Vandana Shiva and Alice Waters.
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Marketplace
Friday, August 29 - Sunday, August 31; 9 am – 4 pm
Civic Center Plaza
Tickets: Free

The Market showcases 60 California farmers and artisans growing and producing good, clean and fair food. Visitors can purchase directly from the producer and learn the significance of regionality, diversity and artisanality in the Bay Area’s food system. Next to the Market, “Slow on the Go” demonstrates how “fast” slow food can be. Visitors can purchase affordable street food from San Francisco’s diverse ethnic community, prepared with fully sustainable, source-verified ingredients.
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Slow Food Nation Victory Garden
Friday, August 29 – Sunday, August 31; 9 am – 4 pm
Civic Center Plaza
Tickets: Free

In collaboration with Victory Gardens 2008+, Slow Food Nation will herald the era of self-sufficiency through the creation of an ornamental edible garden in the heart of San Francisco’s Civic Center. Planted on the same site as 60 years ago during World War II, the Slow Food Nation Victory Garden demonstrates the potential of a truly local agriculture practice and brings together and promotes Bay Area urban gardening organizations, while producing high quality food for those in need. The Slow Food Nation Victory Garden will be introduced to the public on Saturday, July 12 in a ceremony with Mayor Gavin Newsom and Slow Food Nation Founder Alice Waters.
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Slow Food Rocks
Saturday, August 30; 11 am – 7 pm and Sunday, August 31; 11 am – 5:30 pm
Fort Mason/Great Meadow
For tickets visit: www.slowfoodrocks.com; Tickets on sale June 10

Featuring: Gnarls Barkley; G Love & Special Sauce; the John Butler Trio; Medeski Martin & Wood; New Pornographers and Ozomatli. Additional major headliners to be announced soon.

A two-day outdoor music festival featuring the biggest names in rock, folk, hip-hop, soul, jazz and world music. Produced by the Festival Network, this is one of only three public events permitted on the Great Meadow the entire year.
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Petition Launch for a New Vision for Agriculture and Food Policy for the 21st Century
Thursday, August 28; 4 – 5 pm
Civic Center/Slow Food Nation Victory Garden
Tickets: Free

Hosted in conjunction with Roots of Change (ROC), Slow Food Nation will introduce a Vision

Statement for Agricultural and Food Policy for the 21st Century drafted by notable activists, practitioners, producers and eaters across the country. The Vision Statement will be a call to action to frame future food and agricultural policies, including the next Farm Bill, to benefit all Americans.

· Slow Food [Official Site]

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