Author Archives: Kathryn Gilmore


Terra Madre – Parte Seconda

Shakirah at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy
Shakirah at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy

In our last blog post we told you a bit about Terra Madre and Rosie Branson Gill who will be traveling to this global food event. When Rosie mentioned to us that she’ll be accompanied by fellow Slow Food San Francisco member Shakirah Simley, we thought we’d tell you her story as well.

As she explains in her charming blog post on the Bi-Rite Market site, Shakirah is quite the foodie with a passion for all things jam and a more recently acquired love of Italy. Which is quite appropriate as she’ll be returning to this marvelous country for Terra Madre.


Shakirah is the 2010-2011 Fulbright and Casten Family Foundation Scholar to Italy and a recent graduate of the University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG) with a Masters in Food Culture and Communications. She spent last year traveling around Italy, “learning about traditional cheese-making in a hut atop the Dolomite mountains …getting schooled by nonnas in the art of making tortelli pasta…and having thoughtful conversations about food sustainability with professors from around the world.”

When asked why she is going to Terra Madre, Shakirah shared:

“Given my background in advocacy and policy, and organizing experience in low-income and communities of color, I’m really concerned with the ‘fair’ part of the Slow Food San Francisco mantra ‘good, clean and fair.’ Given the economy, world food prices, and growing awareness around a sustainable food system, Terra Madre presents a great opportunity for delegates to connect on creating a more equitable food system for all. I’m excited to spur and be a part of those conversations.”

She is looking forward to meeting other like-minded people, hoping that Terra Madra will be an opportunity to connect with other delegates to further the discussion of food justice issues. She is also excited to be returning to Torino, visiting UNISG and catching up with friends and professors. And while she’s at it, she’ll likely take in some of her beloved Italian culinary specialties, including the “consumption of ungodly amounts of cured pork products!”

Traveling to Terra Madre


Terra Madre is just a little over a month away! This year, organizers are expecting over 1,000 exhibitors from 100 countries to converge in Turin, Italy for this biennial event focused on sustainability and biodiversity. For those unable to attend, an engaging video teaser has been created that explains Slow Food’s involvement and highlights diverse food and artisans from around the world.

Rosie Branons Gill
Rosie Branson Gill

Local Slow Food San Francisco member Rosie Branson Gill will be fortunate to experience this amazing conference first hand. She is the program director at 18 Reasons, an innovative community center focused on providing thought provoking programming and fostering collaboration toward creating a just and sustainable food system. Rosie is especially interested in training citizen cooks and gardeners – especially youth in the community. She shared with us her belief that “the choices we make are important; where and how we spend our money not only affect the taste of dishes we cook and the vitality of plants we grow but also serve as votes in support of one food system or another.” Her mission is to encourage people to “cook, grow, eat, and shop with eyes wide open.” Rosie’s focus on education will certainly be enhanced by her time at Terra Madre.

18 Reasons Farm School
18 Reasons Farm School

We asked Rosie about her reasons for wanting to travel to Turin. In her words: “One of the best ways to invigorate my work is to learn about other projects and to build community. I will be able to do both at Terra Madre. I expect to be inspired and to feel a part of a larger movement, both things that will fuel my fire at 18 Reasons when I get back to San Francisco.” We’re looking forward to hearing all about it!

Looking Forward to International Congress

Aaron Lander

Aaron Lander

Once every four years, Slow Food International brings together sustainable food systems leaders from around the world. Delegates discuss the organization’s goals and policy strategies, as well as elect management bodies to carry these goals forward. This October, the sixth International Congress will be held in Turin, Italy at the same time as Terra Madre.

This year, CUESA nominated Marin Sun Farms to send a representative, Aaron Lander, to International Congress, and Slow Food San Francisco will sponsor him to go. Marin Sun Farms is based in Point Reyes, and raises 100% grass fed and pasture raised meats for the Bay Area community. For Aaron, who grew up in the “corn capital of the US” (Des Moines, IA), traveling to Turin, Italy to meet with global leaders in the food scene will be a dream come true. Aaron has been fixated on addressing global environmental issues since his freshman year in college when he dropped his pre-med ambitions in favor of focusing on food issues and community development. He was a founding member of the Des Moines UN World Food Program Chapter and worked with many land management groups as he started his MS in Community Development in 2009 through Iowa State University. He ultimately moved to the Bay Area to get involved in the region’s innovative agricultural community and began working with Marin Sun Farms where he partnered with local Slow Food chapters to organize meat panels, Earth Days and other environmental events.

Aaron is thrilled about the possibilities in Turin. “I’m going because I want to be able to bring what the Bay Area is doing to a global scene and bring what everyone else is doing back here,” explained Aaron. “I’ve also been interested in Slow Food International since I was in undergrad, so being able to continue to work even more closely with the organization is something I’ve always wanted to do.”

He hopes to learn more about global food security issues as well as develop his network in order to build global support for sustainable agriculture and local food systems. He’s also looking forward to bringing the farmer’s point of view to the fore, helping shed light on their limitations as well as opportunities for public support. He’s excited to learn from the many food leaders he expects to meet and to bring that information back to the Bay Area to share with the Slow Food community and others in the industry.

“This is an amazing opportunity that I’m honored to be a part of,” said Aaron. “By involving people from a variety of backgrounds in this world’s food issues, we’ll be more likely to make significant progress in building a more sustainable future.”

I Just Want to Learn Everything!

Kids painting personal pots in Sanchez garden

Kids painting personal pots in Sanchez garden

Last week, a gaggle of young students gathered at Sanchez Elementary School for “Cooking and Gardening Camp: All Plant Parts.” Hosted by the school and 18 Reasons, this four-day summer camp focused on the science and art of growing and cooking edible plants. The kids, ranging in age from 9 – 12, came from public schools all over the city – joining together to get their hands dirty both in the garden and the kitchen.

Rosie Branson Gill, program director at 18 Reasons, and Athena Barouxis, Sanchez School Garden Coordinator, led the camp activities which ranged from dissecting flowers to trying out new knife skills. The camp took place in the middle of Sanchez Elementary’s magical garden – complete with raised beds of countless edible plants, multiple compost bins and a vertical, hydroponic wall teeming with kale and chard growing over a sunken pool of Koi.

Sanchez principal Isola's support prominently displayed in the garden

Sanchez principal Isola's support prominently displayed in the garden

Rosie explained the importance of this camp: “All Plant Parts camp is part of an on-going relationship between 18 Reasons and The Sanchez School. Together we are teaching kids how to enjoy growing, cooking and eating fresh and delicious food. We feel that, if kids are engaged at a young age, they’re more likely to embrace good, clean food and hopefully maintain a healthier lifestyle.”

The kids seemed thrilled with the prospect. On the first day they learned about seeds and roots and “FBI” (fungus, bacteria and invertebrates) in the morning and then tried out their new “claw” and “bridge” moves with their knives as they chopped carrots and sliced radishes for their seed & root sandwiches. They even took turns shaking a glass jar full of heavy cream to make their own butter! Throughout the week they made every single thing they ate. Though a few kids appeared a bit reluctant to try some of the more exotic plants and foods, Rosie encouraged all the kids to try everything twice and taught them, “Don’t yuck my yum!”

Rosie encourages kids to play with their food

Rosie encourages kids to play with their food

Slow Food San Francisco has had a relationship with Sanchez school for years and has funded many components of their garden with money raised at other events like Golden Glass, Food from the Heart, etc. Recent donations have funded many aspects of the school’s garden including:

– Upgrading the original Sanchez School garden to include drip irrigation, wooden planter boxes, redwood pathway markers, benches, and the relocation of lemon trees.

– Restoring and repairing the rainy day assembly area art and murals

– Maintaining and upgrading the Native Plants and Sculpture Garden

Slow Food San Francisco was thrilled to participate in the All Plant Parts summer camp by providing scholarships for two students to attend from Sanchez school. And to see these kids gleefully playing in the garden and soaking up the cooking and planting lessons – it was well worth the investment. At one point they tried to outdo each other – describing the gardens at their own schools and trying to see who had the most fruit trees*. And then, when asked what she hoped to learn during the week, little Mady, age 8, exclaimed, “I just want to learn everything!”

Kate, age 9, focuses on her knife skills

Kate, age 9, focuses on her knife skills

* These kids are lucky enough to have gardens at their schools due in large part to the efforts of the San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance.