About The Resilience Institute

The Resilience Institute is part of WWU Huxley’s College of the Environment. It facilitates scholarship, education, and practice on reducing social and physical vulnerability through sustainable community development, as a way to minimize loss and enhance recovery from disasters in Washington State and its interdependent global communities.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Slow Food


Slow Food “street,” in Bra, Italy

In February, WWU took advantage of the opportunity to enter into an agreement with Slow Food click here for details. What does this mean? Within 24 hours of the press release, already I had received e-mails from all over Whatcom county (as well as from the university) about “Well, what does this all mean?” Here’s a start: This agreement is meaningful because

• it affirms Western Washington University’s commitment to sustainable and resilient farming and food cultures on campus, as well as in the larger community

• it ties together our work in risk reduction in food production systems with healthy eating• it helps us to understand food security as a disruption of usual and customary ways of growing and procuring food

• it highlights the importance of food appreciation and eating as a cultural as well as political act – all very important tenets of Carlo Petrini’s popular Slow Food.

• it brings together business interests (e.g., agritourism) and environmental studies under a sustainable food production umbrella, and poses some new possibilities for interdisciplinary work at Western in so many areas.

Slow Food in recent years, has reached out to universities. WWU now joins 135 other universities (including departments and centers) in forming a network of collaboration. WWU students, staff, and faculty are eager for such collaboration. Already at Western, there are numerous student groups centered around food issues, as well as active individuals, advocating for more food choice on campus – in terms of what I call global green (sustainable practices, worldwide) as well as true blue (local sourcing of food). This relates to ideas I’ve written about “everyday farming” see here.


The University of Gastronomic Sciences, in Pollenzo, Italy

Student interest is huge. Look at the major commitment students and staff have put into the Outback, efforts to recycle food wastes and locally source food as evidenced by Seth Vidana’s WWU Office of Sustainability work, and other efforts on campus. In the fall, a new course I’m teaching, Ecogastronomy: The Art and Science of Food will use considerable materials and project ideas from Slow Food offices and cooperating universities. All other help, ideas, effort with, and participation in, this course is gratefully appreciated!


The “presidi” translates as “garrisons” (from the French word, “to equip”), as protectors of traditional food production practices
There are so many ideas for collaboration! I could rattle off any number of them, quickly…but we are then perhaps reminded of the Slow Food mascot here, la piccola lumaca, the snail, which elevates slow plodding, and the importance of time.It’s taken us a long time to get here, but the time is right to take advantage of the overwhelming student and faculty/staff interest and expertise throughout courses and projects in place. Forza!For more information on Slow Food, click here.