Slow Food at IC
The Slow Food movement is all about focusing on the local—something that Ithaca College students didn’t want to be left out of. That’s why a group of students started IC Slow Food this semester, challenging the campus to think about the origins of the food they consume.
Last semester, sophomore environmental studies majors Emily Shaw and Amber Zadrozny took a “Power of Plants” class, where they watched Food, Inc., the 2008 Academy Award-nominated documentary that exposed the social and environmental injustices of the industrialized food system in the United States. Shaw said the documentary further exposed her to the problems in our food industry.
“After seeing that film, our entire class was like, ‘This is not OK,’” Shaw said. “Our food system is not OK. We’re eating this, and we’re allowed to be served this food that has chemicals, and the people involved are not paid right, and they’re exposed to these chemicals daily…” She trailed off with exhaustion, overwhelmed by the number of problems linked to the current food system.
Shaw and Zadrozny turned that passionate frustration into something productive by founding IC Slow Food at the beginning of 2011. Shaw serves as president of the organization, although she sees the organization as more of a communal effort to change.
Next semester IC Slow Food will set its sights on addressing the kind of food served to students in the dining hall. They plan on?delivering a proposal to IC President Tom Rochon with ways to make dining hall food more local and organic. Currently, Shaw said, only the Towers dining hall features organic food.
Georgie Morley, a freshman TV-R major and member of the organization, also detailed plans for the group to take part in local community-supported agriculture, receiving local, seasonal produce each week.
The club and the movement are not just about the environment; they are also explicitly tied to human labor, animal rights and personal health and diet choices. ?For example, the organization has a budding alliance with the Labor Initiative in Promoting Solidarity, a labor rights group on campus. The two groups decided to cosponsor an Eat-In, a picnic featuring local food from restaurants like Moosewood and Waffle Frolic to celebrate human and environmental interdependency with regard to sustainability, on Thursday, May 5.
The club also hosts weekly community dinners to share recipes, reflect on the importance of eating local and get excited about ways to further integrate the Slow Food mentality into the IC community.
“I’m always encouraged by the amount of enthusiasm that people have for the cause,” Morley said, reflecting on her involvement with the club. “It’s not just about food. Food is the basis of life, so if we can get this right, we can work toward greater change.”