Slow Food South Bay

Members of Slow Food South Bay include, at left, from left, Chris Holt, Mary Bottega and Debbie Rose. At right, Jim Christol makes a plate at a recent gathering. The Slow Food movement promotes community building and sustainability.

Los Altos Hills resident Scott Vanderlip, president of Slow Food South Bay, said the group’s mission is to “promote good, clean, fair food for all.”

Slow Food is a worldwide organization with approximately 150 chapters in the United States. Its principles, according to Slow Food South Bay’s website, include sustainability, cultural diversity, pleasure and quality in everyday life, inclusiveness, and authenticity and integrity.

In keeping with their mission, local club members, some of them seniors, engage in activities throughout the year. Dagmar Logie serves as chairperson of the club’s food-related book club.

“The books selected can be fiction or nonfiction, as long as they deal with food,” she said. “Cookbooks are included.”

The group is small currently, and members hold potlucks every other month. During the pandemic, the club met via Zoom. Of late – all vaccinated – they have gathered in an outdoor setting in homes, social distancing and following COVID protocols.

Some Slow Food members, like Logie, combine two passions.

“I love to read and love to eat,” she said.

Ann Duwe, club secretary, recently hosted a book talk by Anne-Marie Bonneau, author of “The Zero-Waste Chef.”

“She had a stack of small, cotton bags for vegetables to keep in the refrigerator, to help reduce plastic usage,” Duwe said of Bonneau’s presentation. “She gives those bags away.”

The group held the Bonneau’s talk outdoors, according to Duwe, serving fresh fruit, cookies and local wine.

In previous years, Vanderlip, a beekeeper and chicken rancher, organized the popular Silicon Valley Tour de Coop, a cycling tour of residents’ chicken coops.

“It was a great event to bring the backyard urban chicken ranchers together,” he said. “It was far more popular than I ever imagined.”

Vanderlip observed that during the pandemic, there has been a surge in interest in backyard chickens and beekeeping, as well as in growing vegetables.

Prior to the pandemic, Duwe noted that members would speak to restaurant chefs to find out if they abided by Slow Food principles; if so, then the group would meet for a meal there.

Another focus of Slow Food is to create and support community.

“We like to make food a theme for helping people,” Vanderlip said.

Members recently helped sort and pack food at Pie Ranch near Pescadero for families in need.

“Pie Ranch’s mission matches that of Slow Food,” Vanderlip added.

On another occasion, members collected gardening tools they no longer needed and donated them to Valley Verde, a San Jose organization that assists families by helping them grow their own vegetables.

“They gave us over a hundred gardening tools,” said Raul Lozano of Valley Verde.

For more information, visit slowfoodsouthbay.org.