Slow Meat 2014
Auraria Higher Education Center, Denver CO
Watch this two-minute recap of Slow Meat 2014!
The keynote speaker for Slow Meat 2014 was Allan Savory, a Zimbabwean biologist, farmer, soldier, exile, environmentalist, and winner of the 2003 Banksia International Award and the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge. He is the originator of holistic management. Savory delivered his keynote address at 5:00 PM on Friday, June 20, 2014. Following the keynote, we gathered for a celebration of delicious food and community that reflected Slow Meat's goal of better meat, less. We honored Colorado bison with a fabrication artfully presented by local butchers, explored tasting stations featuring food prepared by local and national chefs, and enjoyed cocktails, beer, wine and great conversation. We are grateful to the Savory Institute for Allan Savory's availability to kick-off the gathering with his provocative analysis and recommendations for more animals on the land, fewer animals in industrial confinement.
The Five Stages of Field to Fork
Our current practices for maximizing the efficiency of animal agricultural production comes at a cost. We abandon common sense, traditional animal husbandry, land and water stewardship, animal welfare, nutrition, and taste.
Policy experts and food system practitioners, together with Slow Food leaders from all over the USA, are gathering to identify practical points of intervention from field to fork.
These facilitated discussions address how consumers and Slow Food USA communities can begin to turn the herd towards meat that is good, clean, and fair for all.
Workshops with Purpose
100 delegates from across the USA shared expertise in facilitated discussions that ultimately produced a menu of practical actions for Slow Food communities across the USA to deploy, measure, report and refine with the larger national community of advocates who seek change in our food system.
We assembled those who recognize the importance of animal welfare and those whose livelihoods are directly related to animal husbandry. Our intention in doing this was to cultivate the kind of discourse that gives proper dignity to the animals, as it does to the craftsmanship associated with their care and slaughter.
We believe that now is the time to connect innovators in the alternative sphere with conventional producers who possess important, traditional knowledge about scale, animal husbandry, and the real-time business constraints of farming in the 21st century. This was a great opportunity to network and to grow new relationships.
In true Slow Food form, we enjoyed a tasting event on Friday and ate family-style on Saturday, always with a measured balance between pleasure and responsibility in food.
Eric Skokan, Black Cat/Bramble & Hare (Boulder)
Andrea Reusing, Lantern Restaurant (Chapel Hill, NC)
Drew Deckman, Deckmans (Baja and other locations)
Carrie Balkcom, American Grassfed Association (Denver)
Bob Perry, Chef-in-Residence University of Kentucky College of Agriculture (Lexington, KY)
Daniel Hyman, Spring Hill Suites/Auraria Hospitality Learning Center
Matt Collier, The Kitchen Boulder
Brian Laird, Sartos (Denver)
Stephen Kleinman, Cuisine
Jeremy Kittelson, RootDown (Denver)
Bradford Heap, SALT/Colterra (Boulder/Niwot)
Gabe Godell, The Kitchen Denver
Event highlights include:
- An artistic, narrated bison breakdown performed by a skilled nose-to-tail butcher.
- A public tasting highlighting top US producers, cooks, and meats, as well as local wine, beers, and spirits.
- A dinner (featuring the aforementioned bison) prepared by internationally renowned chefs.
What Makes Our Event Different?
We believe that we can begin to turn the herd with the strength of the Slow Food network. The menu of actions we field tested with Slow Food communities across the USA in 2014 will inform wider deployment in 2015-16. Evaluation will increase the likelihood of success in linking supply to demand, growing trust between producers and consumers.
Slow Meat 2014 was only the beginning to Slow Food USA’s commitment to the goals of better and less meat. We will reconvene in 2015 for a grander celebration and conversation of meat.
Our event was made possible with the support and dedication from the following individuals:
- Krista Roberts President, Slow Food Denver
- Matt Jones Slow Food USA, Board of Directors
- Carrie Balkcom Executive Director, American Grassfed Association
- Dave Carter Executive Director, National Bison Association
- Serena Milano General Secretary of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity
- Jeannette Beranger Research & Technical Program Manager, Livestock Conservancy
- Joe Maxwell Vice President of Outreach and Engagement, Humane Society of The United States
- Ricardo Salvador Director, Food & Environment Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
- Matthew Raiford Chef and Farmer, Gilliard Farms
- Gary Nabhan Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems, Southwest Center, University of Arizona
Whole Foods Market
Heroes Like Us
Become a Sponsor
We are actively seeking sponsors and partners for Slow Meat 2015. If you would like to become a sponsor of the event, please contact us at [email protected]. You can also download our Corporate Sponsorship Opportunities PDF for more details.
A Template for Investigating Additional Emblematic Foods
If successful with meat, what is next? If after two years of Slow Meat, the makings of a replicable business model for this method of product-driven convening, we will turn our attention to future Slow gatherings. These may include Slow Grains in the Midwest, Slow Fish on the Gulf Coast or Pacific Northwest, etc. Organizing communities around emblematic food products give pride to regions. This pride can give recognition to the validity of the product and the purpose for reflection.