In 2002, Slow Food Sonoma County North nominated AMIDI (Association of Indigenous Women for Holistic Development), a group of 40 Guatemalan Mayan women, for the International Slow Food Award in Turin, Italy. AMIDI won first place for their operation of raising hens for eggs to sell at market. Since then, AMIDI and our convivium have developed an ongoing relationship of mutual education and support based on agricultural traditions, food preparation, cultural values around food, and Slow Food concepts. We have established a scholarship program for their children; raised funds for safe, ventilated, fuel-efficient wood burning stoves for each AMIDI member; created a market for their traditional, handmade table weavings; and brought their leader to Sonoma County for an educational visit that inspired her to create raised beds for vegetables and collect manure for compost in her village.
Slow Food Sonoma County North has relationships with 8 elementary schools in northern Sonoma County. The goal is for each school to create and maintain a garden with student participation. The convivium provides support and resources such as volunteers, plants, seeds, tools, and access to farmers to teach students about seasonal crops, planting, caring for, and harvesting vegetables. Resources from the School Garden Network are also recommended to each school.
There is plenty of good food out there not being used, and there are people in our own back yard who need this food. The Slow Harvest Gleaning Project has created a network that moves food along—from field to fork—in a not-so-traditional way. We are partnering with Food for Thought in Forestville and the Food Pantry in Healdsburg to bring gleaned produce from west county farms and gardens every week. In addition, we network those who want to help with local organizations that need food. Slow Harvest also sponsors regular cooking and canning sessions and donates the canned products to food banks.
Slow Food Sonoma County North and Slow Food Russian River teamed up to “grow out” a number of vegetable varieties listed as endangered on the USA Slow Food Ark of Taste. Thirty Ark vegetable varieties best suited for our county’s growing conditions were selected, and seeds are distributed every spring to farmers and chefs in our convivia who volunteer to grow and sell or cook with the vegetables. Signage describing each vegetable, its history, and stating that it is on the Slow Food Ark of endangered foods accompanies the produce at the points of sale.