Update on the Pacific to Plate Bill We need your support!

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Happy fishermen. Photo credit: Sarah Shoffler

Thanks in part to the Slow Food community’s support, Speaker Atkins’ fishermen’s market bill, AB 226, has advanced to the Senate.  The bill must now repeat the committee process, and has been assigned to start in the Senate Committee on Health.  Because the bill is now in its second house, we ask that you continue your support by submitting a new letter, this one addressed to the Senate Committee on Health.  An updated sample letter is below with the new address.

The bill is not yet officially scheduled for a hearing, but there is a chance that it could be brought forward in the coming weeks, so to ensure that your support is captured in the official record we are asking that letters be submitted this week if at all possible.

Send your letters to the CA State Senator Ed Hernandez or San Diego County, Thomas Ledford: Thomas.Ledford @ sdcounty dot ca dot gov by June 10, 2015.

AB 226 Sample Support Letter (to CA Senate’s Health Committee)

Pacific to Plate AB 226

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Today’s catch. Photo credit Sarah Shoffler

From a previous post:

Slow Food Urban San Diego is excited about the new proposed legislation that will help California fishers get their products to Californians. State Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) has introduced legislation, “Pacific to Plate,” to clarify and streamline state laws to make it easier for San Diego’s Tuna Harbor Dockside Market, and other fishermen’s markets like it, to grow and thrive. See how you can support California’s fishermen’s markets and the Pacific-to-Plate bill below.

Slow Food Urban San Diego and Slow Food California Support this legislation. 

Three barriers in the current California laws and regulations affect fishermen’s markets in California:

  1. Current laws and regulations in California do not define fishermen’s markets so prevent them from easily obtaining permits to operation.
  2. Current laws and regulations do not allow fishermen to clean fish for direct sale to consumers.
  3. Current laws allows direct fresh-caught fish sales to occur only from permanent, temporary, or mobile food facilities where permits are required for each participating fisherman or aquaculturist.

The proposed legislation:

  • Designates Fishermen’s Markets as “food facilities” in the California Retail Food Code.
  • Exempts evisceration of whole raw fresh-caught fish at a Fishermen’s Market from the definition of food preparation to allow fresh-caught fish to be cleaned by the fishermen for direct sales to the public.
  • Establishes a separate Fishermen’s Market chapter in state law, specifying the operational requirements (modeled after requirements for Certified Farmers’ Markets) to allow commercial fishermen and aquaculturists to organize under a single permit holder for the market.
  • Clarifies that food facilities that sell certain products such as whole fresh-caught fish can have an open front.

If you’d like to support this legislation, please send a letter of support (like the sample letter below) to Speaker Atkins. Send letters to CA Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins. Some reasons to support Pacific to Plate AB 226:

  • Fishermen’s markets allow fishermen to sell local seafood direct to consumers – providing fresh seafood with a lower carbon footprint.
  • The Pacific-to-Plate legislation streamlines the permitting process, so that fishermen can sell direct to the public.
  • Fishermen’s markets provide a place for fishermen to collaborate and plan what they’ll fish – leading to more sustainable fishing practices, like fishing lightly across a wider variety of fish.
  • More fishermen’s markets means more fresh fish available at better prices to the consumer.
  • Fishermen’s markets, like farmers markets, connect the community to their food producers and the food producers to their community.
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Rockfish. Photo credit: Sarah Shoffler

A History of Carnitas

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Last month Slow Food minded folks from San Diego and Mexico gathered together for an unforgettable evening in the Valle de Guadalupe. MEAT San Diego, Chef Javier Plascencia and La Cocina de Doña Esthela joined forces to present “A History of Carnitas”. Attendees enjoyed live Norteño music, wines from Hacienda la Lomita, beer from Agua Mala and of course a whole pig carnitas cookout. The chefs prepared the carnitas in the traditional fashion, utilizing the whole pig which was locally raised in San Diego. A portion of the proceeds of the event will go to support sending Slow Food Urban San Diego’s official 2015 Slow Meat delegate to Slow Food’s Slow Meat conference in Denver, Colorado. This delegate will bring back knowledge learned at the conference and help find ways to make positive changes in San Diego’s meat industry and culture. Fore more of the delicious details on the evening check out Chef Javier Plascencia’s video recap!

5 Tips for Building Community Around the Kitchen Table

– contributed by Kathryn Rogers –

Setting the table for a dinner party always makes me excited. Arranging the linens, plates and candles takes me back to happy times with family and friends. So easily my thoughts drift to balmy summer days with vegetables roasting on the grill and the anticipation of guests. No matter the occasion – a summer picnic on the patio, a holiday feast, or a springtime brunch – nothing is better than pairing good people and delicious food.

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Gloomy day beach picnic! Photo credit: Kathryn Rogers.

Reflecting on the joys of mealtime, I’m amazed at how infrequently these busy days I take time to sit at my table and truly enjoy a meal. I often find myself grabbing a breakfast bar for the road, eating my leftovers lunch at my desk, stopping by a deli for a quick bite on my way to an evening meeting.

When did mealtime become a try-to-fit-it-in-your-day task instead of time to gather, nourish and connect? And why, when we do make the time to sit and enjoy a meal, does it feel so good?

The kitchen table is sacred domain – our trusted ally in times of hunger, joy and sadness. We gather around the table to tell stories about our days, to nourish ourselves with fresh ingredients lovingly prepared, to share culture and history in the recipes of our ancestors, to get to know each other on a first date, to shed tears over the struggles we face, to witness big moments like baby’s first bite of broccoli, to laugh. Food brings us together.

It is not surprising, then, that as we have traded shared mealtimes for a quick bite in our cars that our relationship with food and community suffers. In fact, according to a recent article in the Atlantic, the average American eats one in every five meals in the car, and the majority of American families report eating one meal together less than five days a week.

It’s time we reclaim our kitchen tables as a place for building relationships and strengthening community ties. And to start thinking of new people and places to bring together to share food and stories. For it is around our tables that we create new opportunities to collaborate, spark creative ideas, or connect with each other in deeper ways.

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Looking for some ideas to spice up your next food gathering?

Here are five tips to bring even more enjoyment to mealtime:

  1. Invite friends and family to a themed brunch where everyone brings a dish using the same ingredient. Think something versatile like olive oil, ginger or fresh figs. An in-season ingredient from the farmer’s market is also a great option. You and your guests might come up with a dish as genius and unexpected as fig ceviche or olive oil scones.
  2. Designate a guest to bring a question to your next dinner party. Then have each guest go around the table and answer the question. It’s a great way to get to know each other better and discover shared connections. Otherwise you may never learn that your neighbor loves live jazz as much as you do!
  3. Host a cocktail hour and have each guest bring a bottle of wine. Then cover all the bottles with paper bags, number them and do a blind taste test. Ask your guests to vote for their favorite, and award the guest who brought the winning bottle with first dibs on dessert.
  4. Host a picnic in one of San Diego’s beautiful outdoor spaces. Gathering in a community garden or on blankets in Balboa Park brings new energy to mealtime. Encourage everyone to bring a potluck dish and reusable plate. Great food, fresh air, good company and no stress of hosting… a winning combo.
  5. Next time you go out to eat, choose to sit at the bar or community tables and strike up a conversation with those around you. Simple questions about what they’re eating or if they have a favorite drink are a great place to start. Perhaps you’ll end up swapping stories about your shared love for international travel and maybe even end up with a new friend.

Together, we can reclaim our sacred kitchen tables.