Much has changed since I covered a Slow Food South Texas Harvest Gala and the slow food movement in San Antonio just two years ago. A glance at the Arts & Culture/Eats page on the Rivard Report is full of features indicating that the foodie movement is very much alive and well in San Antonio today.
From articles on farmers’ markets and gourmet, vegan pop-up dinners to coverage on restaurant theme weeks like the upcoming “Charc Week,” it’s clear that our city – or at least a sub-community – supports local and urban farms and the organic, sustainable, locally sourced and seasonal foods they make available.
There is little disagreement over the potential health and local economic benefits of eating fresh and local foods, but globally the trend has been criticized as elitist and too expensive for middle class and low-income families. For families for whom a dinner at a fast food restaurant is a luxury, shopping the farmers’ markets and enjoying cocktails made with local cold-pressed juices is not a reality.
Grounded by the belief that good food should be available to everyone, local food mavens Emily Reynolds of Defining Delicious and Leslie Provence of the Food Policy Council of San Antonio set about pulling together the right people, through a TEDxSan Antonio Salon, to engage in a dialogue focusing on the subject.
TEDxSanAntonio Salons are focused, interactive explorations of a particular topic in depth. This particular Salon, scheduled for this Saturday, 5-9 p.m.,will explore the issues that prevent San Antonians from having ready access to healthy, fresh foods.
“The missing piece to the foodie movement is accessibility," Reynolds said. "It doesn’t have to be an elitist movement, but we have to come up with ways to make healthy, local foods available and affordable for all.”
Saturday’s Salon will intertwine clips from past TED Talks with discussion led by local supporters working on various aspects of the food accessibility issue, including:
- Judit Vega of San Antonio Metro Health District
- Angela Hartsell of Green Spaces Alliance
- Elizabeth Johnson and Mitch Hagney, local chefs who work with local farmers
- Kerry Meath-Sinkin, a culinary medicine expert
After what is sure to be a lively discussion, a locally sourced pop-up potluck dinner will be served. Local chefs, including Jason Dady (Jason Dady Restaurant Group), Brooke Smith (The Esquire Tavern), Steve McHugh (Cured), and Elizabeth Johnson (Crave Market), will offer a favorite local and sustainable dish, to be shared in the garden of the event space, Urban-15.
As a center dedicated to educational programs, events, and performances that inspire creativity, confidence, community, and culture, Urban-15 is a fitting venue for the event, and the garden is the perfect place for a sustainable potluck.
After dinner, facilitators and attendees will come together to brainstorm and create action plans for moving San Antonio’s emerging food policy forward. This session will kick off with a thought-provoking short film focused on food policy created by Laura Varela, Producer and Director at Varela Film, and Andrew Gonzales, Producer at Digestible Media.
If you care about high quality, nutritious, locally grown food, and food accessibility, this TEDxSan Antonio Salon is the event for you. Come be a part of the conversation:
*Featured/top image: "Seven Powers" seafood cocktail at Nao. Photo by Scott Ball.