25 Years of Slow Food: A Look Back and Gaze Forward


Alice Waters and Carlo Petrini addressed an enchanted audience at Roberta’s Pizza in East Williamsburg.

25 years ago, Carlo Petrini and a group of activists launched the Slow Food Movement to defend disappearing regional culinary traditions and a slower paced way of life. In 1971, Alice Waters opened the Michelin star-rated Chez Panisse in Berkley, Ca., arguably the first modern farm-to-table restaurant in America. For over 40 years, the chef, author, and organic food activist has voraciously supported the philosophy that eating fresh and organic food is absolutely vital to good taste, a healthy population, and a clean environment.

On Friday, October 3, these two culinary anthropologists answered questions and mingled with the crowd at a picnic lunch held by Heritage Radio Network and hosted by Roberta’s Pizza in East Williamsburg. Guests grabbed a table or spread out a blanket in the restaurant’s backyard and listened intently as Petrini and Waters shared their ideas about the current state of our food in America and around the world.

“I’m not going to collaborate with this criminal system!” Petrini declared, referring to the American Industrial food system, and the audience cheered in agreement. “It destroys the environment, the fertility of the soil, the potability of the water…The next big wars will be over water,” he went on to warn. When asked who she most like to meet with and speak about the future of food in our country, Waters said she would love to have a frank and open discussion with President Obama, because the future of our food and the furute of our political system are inextricably tied. She illustrated this point by saying, “When you edible-y educate kids, when they grow up, they have a different set of values. They go out and vote and participate in our democracy.” 


Kate Kolenda is the Restaurant/City Guide Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @BeefWerky and @theconversant.