Slow Fish San Francisco Reverie
Like fish schooling up, one voice, at last Summer’s Slow Food Nations in Denver, became many: Slow Food San Francisco Board member Kelly Collins Geiser, to me, “Can we have the next Slow Fish gathering in San Francisco?” I had met Kelly and her family at our first Slow Fish event in New Orleans, in 2016. My response: “No need to ask permission, simply declare,”—and that is just what the newly minted and bold Slow Food San Francisco Board did: declared and then hosted the second Slow Fish gathering in North America!
And as the Slow Fish community does, when the “table was set,” (time and place set by Slow Food San Francisco) the call went out far and wide for interested and passionate folks to guide Program planning. Nearly 100 people were on the planning emails and up-to-30 folks would participate in bi-weekly conference calls. We rallied around the desire to grow the Slow Fish community, spark discussion, and create a sharing and learning atmosphere where attendees would leave with commitments to action. Volunteer energy provided the currents for this voyage. We reached out to Slow Food Turtle Island, to make sure the indigenous food cultures were heard loud and clear. We asked Colles Stowell, One Fish Foundation, to present Slow Fish 101, a foundational declaration of Slow Fish Values and Community. One afternoon was dedicated to World Café discussions, swirling around Slow Fish stories. One day was full of storied presentations by community members, 36 in all, using the Pecha Kucha format: 20 slides with 20 seconds per slide, in a TEDx-like style. Short and succinct, to spark more dialogue. And then we contracted Trimtab Media to video-tape the entire event, to help realize our vision of a Slow Fish YouTube Channel.
More than 150 people came from as far away as Italy, Maine, Alaska, Louisiana, Massachusetts and British Columbia, and as near as Washington, Oregon, and the Bay Area. Stay tuned for the “proceedings,” likely to come in the form of videos on the proposed Slow Fish YouTube Channel. And as for the next Slow Fish gathering, folks in New England are making noises about hosting this in 2020.
In the meantime, here are some take-aways:
Slow Fish is:
- Who: fisher-harvesters, chefs, scientists, teachers, activists, consumers—you
- What: organizations, collaborations, partners who are working to support
local fisheries and the communities that depend upon them.
- Why: to shorten the link between fisher-harvesters, their communities and
the customers they serve. To ensure good, clean, fair seafood for all. To
protect the resource while combatting the privatization of the commons.
- When: now.
Slow Fish Values:
- Good: wholesome, seasonal, local, abundant and delicious
- Clean: preserves biodiversity, sustains the environment, and nourishes a healthy lifestyle for both humans and animals.
- Fair: honors the dignity of labor from boat to plate, the diversity of cultures and traditions around the world, and strengthens awareness of our ocean as a public commons resource. This food is accessible for everyone to enjoy.
- Support community fisheries and fish harvesters
- Educate seafood eaters about getting seafood smart
- Grow the network
Slow Fish does:
- Creates more opportunities for fisher-harvesters: Farmer’s and Fish Markets; Community Supported Fishery markets; new fisheries, especially for under-appreciated seafood; promote the youth movement.
- Educating communities: Seafood Throwdowns; hosted dinners; cooking/handling demonstrations.
- Supporting policies the protect fish and fisher-harvesters