Slow Fish 2018 Final Thoughts
Slow Fish 2018 was great success! Our goal was to establish this conference in North America every two years, build our alliance of fish harvesters, scientists, and other seafood activists, and generate a movement that can be accessible and tangible. And hopefully inspire many more people to do smaller, more consumer facing events like a “Know Your Fish” dinner, or film screening of the latest documentary that captures the essence of our challenges between food and the ecosystem like “The Wild” by Mark Titus.
Slow Food San Francisco bravely took on “setting the table” of Slow Fish for future slow food chapters to follow. Before us, it was New Orleans tackling wasting waterways and supporting the indigenous land and peoples that utilize the bottom run of the Mississippi River for thousands of generations. San Francisco greeted the continuum of NOLA and added our west coast Salmon-Nation folks with open arms, from Alaska, Canada, Washington, Oregon, and California. We were honored with the presence of the Ohlone, Pomo, and Coast Miwok tribe leaders who shared testimonials about the important history of the land and waters around San Francisco and beyond. They also helped inform us about our future responsibilities of protecting, honoring, and fighting for public water rights. We were excited to have Slow Food USA and Slow Fish International represented. And we are thrilled to pass the baton to our friends on the east coast for the next Slow Fish 2020!
I have to say that when one goes to a Slow Food event they will be fed well…very well! And the food at Slow Fish was so amazing! Work of Art Catering took the reins and created the most beautiful and delicious seafood spread imaginable. We had Wild Alaskan Salmon, Alaskan Spot prawns, Gulf of Mexico wild shrimp, Albacore tuna, oysters from up and down the coastline, and herring roe that we sucked off hemlock branches (my favorite). And each seafood harvester was there to tell their story and share the concepts of good, clean, and fair.
What is good, clean, and fair seafood anyway? And how can we as consumers know we are eating good, clean, and fair? it is important to know if the food we are eating is good for us as well and as for the earth and we are not over harvesting a species. With seafood, our research can get pretty murky and confusing when reading the opinions of some pretty renown folks in the cooking world. On the topic of seafood, and all animal products for that matter, it takes a little thinking power of your own to weigh out the pros and cons. It is important to try to get to the source as much as possible. It’s not just about farmed vs. wild, or frozen vs. fresh, or local vs. far away. All of these issues have exceptions. So, let’s look at these exceptions…What goes into the feed and waters of farmed fish? This research will be helpful to know. And you can make a judgement for yourself. Also, the fish farming industry is constantly evolving, and the information we have access to now is much greater than 10 years ago.
How fresh IS fresh, and how fresh is frozen? This may sound like a silly question, but you might rather want to learn how the fish was processed after capture. In my experience, unless I caught it and ate it while on the boat, I’ve preferred frozen fish that was properly handled before rigor mortis kicked in…Basically, it shouldn’t smell fishy…that would be the smell of a lasting death…and no one wants that.
What is local to you? For me, it’s within my town. For others, it may be within 100 miles. But if you are a Slow Foodie – buying “local” is important. Knowing where our seafood comes from may not be as easy as knowing where our strawberries are coming from. If I only ate fish within my town, it would be pond bass. Yuck! Sometimes it might be beneficial to consume U.S. only seafood. The U.S. has a lot of regulations to protect the species and ecosystems. Many fishing men and women have worked hard to put these policies in place so they can assure to a sustainable industry for generations. By U.S., I mean the boat that captured the seafood has to be a U.S. fishing vessel. Why? Here is one of several reads on this topic.
If you would like to learn more, stay informed about upcoming “Know Your Fish” dinners and film screenings, or have any questions or comments, please email me at: Kelly@slowfoodsanfrancisco.com.
Kelly Collins Geiser
Slow Food San Francisco’s Education and Advocacy Leader