What is Slow Food?

Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization with supporters in 150 countries around the world who are linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment.  Slow Food Whidbey Island is an educational not for profit organization run by an all-volunteer board of directors.  In 2010, Slow Food Whidbey Island was founded and officially got it's 501(c)(3) status in 2013.  We are supported by members and a network of volunteers who help with planning and executing our events. We are here to share the idea that food is good, clean and fair food for all.

Good - Our food should be tasty, seasonal, local, fresh and wholesome.                                                                          

Clean - Our food should nourish a healthful lifestyle and be produced in ways that preserve biodiversity, sustain the environment and ensure animal welfare – without harming human health.                                                                                

Fair - Our food should be affordable by all, while respecting the dignity of labor from field to fork.                                     

For All - Good, clean and fair food should be accessible to all and celebrate the diverse cultures, traditions and nations that reside in the USA.

Our Mission

Slow Food Whidbey Island is dedicated to educating the palate, connecting the community, and exploring the celebration of food from farm to table.

About Whidbey Island And Our Food System

Almost 50 miles in length north to south, Whidbey Island is one of the longest islands in the contiguous United States. Located in the heart of the Salish Sea, half way between Seattle and the Canadian border, the island offers easy access to Puget Sound and rich, diverse farm land with over a century and half of cultivation history.

The island has several features that make it distinctive. Thanks to the ocean current, the climate is surprisingly temperate for its northerly latitude. To the west, the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains allows a mere 19 inches of rain annually in central Whidbey; less than half that of Seattle. The southern end of the island receives an annual average of 30 inches. The result is there are diverse micro-climates suitable to many different types of cultivation. The entire island is composed of glacial deposits and volcanic soils, which are easily tilled.

In the middle of the island, Ebey's Landing National Historic Reserve - established in 1978 as a part of the National Park system - encompasses 17,500 acres, 18 working farms, 400 historical structures, rich native prairies, two state parks, miles of shoreline, a network of trails and the second oldest town in Washington. Some of the working farms in the Reserve are still farmed by the descendants of the pioneers who homesteaded here in the 1850's. Penn Cove, which is in the heart of the Reserve is home to one of the first successful aquaculture ventures in the United States, which remains an important producer of mussels and oysters both regionally and nationally. A few miles to the south, Greenbank Farm, owned by the Port of Coupeville, is a 450 acre agricultural not for profit venture which is the home of a school for aspiring organic farmers.

For the forager, the waters, beaches and forests of Whidbey Island are rich hunting grounds for many sorts of fish, shellfish and mushrooms. Dungeness Crabs are abundant and Spot Prawn season in the spring allows sport fishermen to catch some of the sweetest shrimp anywhere in the world. Public beaches offer great opportunities for clamming, picking mussels and oysters. There is abundant fin fish: species of salmon, ling cod, halibut and sole to be caught in our waters.

Many small farms (several of which are CSAs) participate in the six Farmers' Markets that operate on the island from March to October. Several small, independent restaurants feature locally grown produce on their menus. There are several wineries and several coffee roasters on Whidbey.

Throughout the island cattle ranching is a vibrant aspect of our food culture, with emphasis on grass-fed beef. A mobile slaughter facility makes it possible for small meat producers to market their product here. We intend to support this trend. There are small-scale producers of pork, goat, heritage breed turkeys and chicken scattered about the island. Several beekeepers produce honey of diverse and distinctive styles and cultivate indigenous stains of bees.

This is truly one of the most delicious places in the world to live, surrounded by abundant waters and rimmed by the stunning Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges. No matter where you turn, Whidbey Island offers a truly marvelous array of food, some traditional and some new, but all worthy of celebrating and preserving.

*The author of this history is unknown.

History of Slow Food

Slow Food was started by Carlo Petrini and a group of activists in the 1980s with the initial aim to defend regional traditions, good food, gastronomic pleasure and a slow pace of life. In over two decades of history, the movement has evolved to embrace a comprehensive approach to food that recognizes the strong connections between plate, planet, people, politics and culture. Today Slow Food represents a global movement involving thousands of projects and millions of people in over 160 countries.

The Slow Food movement began in Italy in the late 1980s to provide an alternative influence to the encroachment fast food in European eating habits and life style. The mission is to show people that updated pre-industrial food production methods and manufacture are viable, healthful, preferable alternatives to current food manufacturing and agribusiness practices. The topitem on the current agenda of Slow Food USA is nutritious food in school cafeterias across the country. Google: slowfoodusa.com for more information.

In August of 2009 Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard hosted an informational potluck and meeting for Whidbey residents interested in starting a local Slow Food chapter. A small group of mostly growers, chefs and friends met for several months to discuss a vision for Slow Food on Whidbey. The group became the steering committee which fulfilled Slow Food USA requirements to become a bonfide chapter. The June 27, 2010 Taste of Whidbey event at the Greenbank Farm was the group’s first event. The Founding officers were Rio Rayne, Membership; Sheryl Abrams, Programs; Aracely Knox, Treasurer; Vincent Nattress, Vice-chair; Barbara Graham, Chair.

The concept of Slow Food Whidbey Island is to teach what Slow Food means by way of tasting, smelling, seeing beautiful, local product cooked by local chefs. We'd like people to learn to appreciate real food which has been handled more by hands than machines. The message will show why these Whidbey growers give their crops and animals such care, time, energy to produce high quality, nutritious product and why these Whidbey chefs are willing to buy a local product from them instead of cheaper sources trucked in fromfar and wide. 

Slow Food has grown rapidly since its birth in 1986, and today has more than 100,000 members with chapters in over 150 countries.

Find out more about Slow Food International

Find out more about Slow Food USA