Working for Good, Clean, Fair Food for All - Slow Food Urban San Diego Convivium of Slow Food International

Honoring Fannie Lou Hamer

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“All my life I’ve been sick and tired. Now I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” – Fannie Lou Hamer, Civil Rights Activist

Some people get tired of fighting for what they believe in and give up. Others get tired, get angry, and fight harder. Fannie Lou Hamer would be in that second, much rarer group of extraordinary people. She spoke her mind, including the words in the above quote, during her fight for voting rights and political equality in the Deep South during the 1960s. She was jailed, beaten, slandered but still kept marching forward in the quest for basic rights for African Americans. After nearly a decade of political activism which often landed her in the spotlight, she remained active in a slightly quieter way as she pursued many grassroots endeavors regarding nutrition and food justice in economically vulnerable areas. Hamer started a “pig bank” in 1968 which provided local families with the opportunity to ‘borrow’ a pregnant gilt and then raise the piglets for food. About 300 families benefited from the program. The Freedom Farm Co-op was started in Sunflower County, Mississippi in 1969 and by 1972 was providing local families with approximately 70 acres worth of fresh produce. Hamer was also active in the Head Start program which provided education, health, and nutrition services to low-income children and their families.

As the food justice movement strengthens, expands, and is certainly challenged along the way, we can look at the life and work of Fannie Lou Hamer as inspiration to keep fighting for what we believe in, as sick and tired of the obstacles as we may become.

In honor of Hamer and her fight for food justice, Project New Village in Southeastern San Diego is holding a legacy luncheon on Thursday October 4, 11:30am – 1:30pm at the Bethel Baptist Church Campus (1962 Euclid Avenue San Diego, CA 92105)

Guests will be treated to tasteful, healthy seasonal food; hear about the work of the People’s Produce Urban Agriculture Initiative and enjoy cultural expressions provided by local artists.
Tickets are $35.00 per person $250.00 per table of eight.
To purchase tickets and for more information call (619) 262-2022 or email






Cottage Industrialists Unite!

You know its happened to you. You see it two booths away. It is perfect and you must have it. You smile at the lady behind the table and hand her a couple bucks. Your fingers work at the cling wrap before you have even turned away into the hustle and bustle of the farmers’ market. You take a bite of the most beautiful cookie you have ever seen (not counting your Aunt Dollie’s cookies from back home). You let the chocolate melt in your mouth, the saltiness tingle your taste buds. Your friend asks you how it is and you answer, “Eh, its good, but man, my Aunt Dollie’s cookies are so much more awesome!” By the time you reach the end of the row you have the image of a booth, of you in an apron selling Aunt Dollie’s scrumptious baked goods. Then you remember you have to use an expensive commercial kitchen for that type of thing…

Well, there is something to get very excited about cottage industrialists! Governor Jerry Brown just signed AB 1616 into law proclaiming that “non-potentially hazardous foods” such as breads, fruit pies, and jams can be prepared in home kitchens and sold to stores, restaurants, and directly to the public. Of course there is a bit of regulation involved including getting a food safety certification and registering with the local health department. But hey, that’s a lot less cost and hassle than installing a certified commercial kitchen in your home or renting space outside the house. Talk about an opportunity for thousands of households to make some extra money and share their talent! How will this affect the farmers’ market crowd? Will there be a flood of homemade baked goods and jams coming to the stands?

That is perhaps a question for Catt White and Christopher Smyczek of SD Weekly Markets in their popular Vendor 101 seminar. Aspiring vendors can learn about start up costs, permits, product development, marketing and a slew of other useful information from the two star market managers.The next one is happening October 29th.

So go ask Aunt Dollie for her killer cookie recipe, do some research on the new regulations, take the seminar, and get baking!

Welcome San Diego Public Market!

San Diego Public Market opened its enormous warehouse doors on September 12th, 2012. The vision of Catt White and Dale Steele, supported by thousands of eager San Diegans through grassroots action and Kickstarter funding, the Public Market is ambitiously putting down roots just west of the I-5. The bright orange warehouse at 1735 National Avenue in Barrio Logan is now open two days a week for San Diego’s newest farmers markets: Wednesday and Sunday 9am-2pm.

I wandered through the prepared food stands with the pumpkin bread, garlic spreads, and steaming tamales tempting me at every stride. The farm stands were bustling around 11am. I chose beautiful heads of butter lettuce, deep green avocados, and sweet fresh dates (OK, and a gorgeous handmade cutting board) to place in my reusable bags for the trek home. Marketeers were excited and optimistic about the market’s opening week, noting that the relatively chill atmosphere was perfect for adjusting to the new venue. And what a venue it is! The Miss Sushi food truck was parked inside (yes, inside!) the building next picnic tables for noshers. The voices of happy patrons floated up into the huge expanse above the steel girders and mixed with the tunes strummed by the live band. Industrial remnants of the building’s former life still occupy the re-purposed space and provide plenty of happy distractions while strolling through the veggie packed lanes. And I have to admit that during this heatwave, it was really nice to take a leisurely look without the sun beating down on the chard (and me).

Check it out. Buy some goodies. Support our local food system!