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Dispatch from Slow Food Nation: Speaker Panels

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From left: Gary Nabhan, Dan Barber, James Oseland, Winona LaDuke, Michael Pollan. Credit: Slow Food Nation

I have been sitting at my keyboard for the last 45 minutes trying to decide how to best describe Slow Food Nation. We San Franciscans have been hearing about the arrival of this massive event for about a year.

The brainchild of Alice Waters, Slow Food Nation is the first event of its kind. It's taking place over this three-day weekend and comprises panels, classes, a large Taste Pavilion, dinners, a farmers' market, two rock concerts, and more.

The event is being attended by about 50,000 food lovers, and has taken over San Francisco's food community. It's also divided the community: Some are thrilled about the event, and some are purposely avoiding it. The reasons for avoiding are many, and I hope to talk about some of them during this series of posts. Me? I wasn't exactly sure how I felt. And after attending a day and a half of events, I am even less sure.

I hope, over a number of posts, to give you all some insight into Slow Food Nation and to share some of my thoughts about the weekend.

Yesterday, I attended three panels out of four that were offered. To people in the sustainable food community, each panel had rockstar-level participants. Within a several hour period, I heard from luminaries such as Marion Nestle, Andrew Kimbrell, AG Kawamura, Michael Pollan, Dan Barber, Gary Nabhan, Winona LaDuke, Eric Schlosser and Jose Padilla.

Highlights of the panels, after the jump:

It's interesting that Slow Food Nation was held in between the two national political conventions, as much of the first day had the feeling of a convention. There were lots of cheers and a palpable excitement from the audience. Everyone was on the same side, everyone spoke the same language, and everyone seemed to have a common goal to build a more sustainable food system.

Related

Dispatch from Slow Food Nation: The Taste Pavilion

About the author: Jennifer Maiser writes about locally and sustainably grown food. She is the founder and editor of the Eat Local Challenge website and writes at Life Begins at 30, her personal weblog.

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