News: North Fork Food, Farm, Film, Wine Festival

Jul 31, 2013 by     No Comments    Posted under: Highlight, Tourism

Dava ParrWhen Dava Parr first suggested a food, wine, film, farm festival in the winter of 2008, Jim Brett told her “You’re nuts! That is way too much work!” Luckily the idea stuck, and five years later, the annual Food, Farm, Film Wine Festival is a signature event that Slow Food Western Slope hosts in our Valley each summer.

Slow Food Western Slope is a chapter of Slow Food USA, a national non-profit educational organization. The Western Slope chapter was originally founded in 2004 by author and food writer Eugenia Bone. Jim became the chapter leader in 2008 and organized the first Food, Farm, Film, Wine Festival in 2009. The event attracts many people from the Front Range, though Jim has made changes over the years to attract locals as well. “Personally, I really like the Taste the Valley part. It was new last year and successful. It’s good to get locals hooking up with a farm to show off their talents.”

Taste the ValleyThe three day event kicks off on the evening of Friday, August 16, at Paradise Theatre with Taste the Valley. Local chefs pair with local farms to create delicious tastings of the North Fork Valley. After this food and farm sampling, the film “Bag It”, a documentary exposing the effects of plastic bags and other plastic goods, will be shown. “This part of the event really gets local folks involved,” says Brett.

The chapter has about 20 members, but Jim has an active list serve of over 200 people. He isn’t concerned about membership, and instead wants to be an organization that “is inclusive not exclusive.” With this in mind, the chapter donates a significant amount of the proceeds from this Festival to local organizations whose mission’s relate to that of Slow Food. In the past they have supported the Farm to School program, Teens on Farms, and were able to send local farmer Mark Waltermire to Terra Madre, an international Slow Food conference in Italy. Proceeds also support the purchase of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes from local farms for struggling families. As well, they help support the Families on the Farm program, a farm-based nutrition and literacy program for ESL (English as a Second Language) families in the Valley. This program aims to restore food traditions through nutrition education, growing instruction, and children’s activities.

This year all the proceeds will benefit the two local organizations Citizens for a Healthy Community and Western Slope Conservation Center. The chapter wants to recognize these organizations for their efforts to fight oil and gas development in Valley. When asked what Slow Food Western Slope thinks about oil and gas development, without hesitation Jim said “we are passionately opposed to it. It would be the death knell to the festival and all it supports. Oil and gas development is completely incompatible with the themes of this festival.”

Mark Waltermire

The chapter, with Jim’s leadership, has been very much involved in opposing the leases and he adds “will continue to be so until they are permanently withdrawn.” They were one of the first organizations to respond and publicly comment and protest when the leases were first announced in December of 2011. Slow Food USA recognized the important advocacy work of the Western Slope chapter in their recent report. At the meeting, Jim sat with Slow Food Movement founding father, Carlo Petrini and Slow Food USA Executive Director and communicated how devastating oil and gas development would be to all of which the Slow Food Movement supports.

Avalanche RanchJim said it was “impressive and gratifying to receive recognition.” But he adds that the work isn’t done yet. “We will probably go through another round and we’ll be ready to fight it again.” Jim galvanizes the Front Range members too, folks who repeatedly attend the Festival, to comment, protest, and oppose this development as well. He says that “It’s hard when they are hundreds of miles away and it’s not in their backyard, but they have been very responsive and supportive.”

You can support this great organization and the farmers, ranchers, vintners, and chefs of our Valley too by attending this wonderful event. For more details and to register, visit: www.slowfoodwesternslope.org.

 

 

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