The first stop on Slow Food Charlotte’s monthly restaurant get together is Intermezzo Pizzeria and Café. Intermezzo is owned and operated by brothers Djordje and Branko Avramovic, natives of Valjevo, Serbia. They came to Charlotte a decade ago and worked for family friends and fellow Serbians Vlado and Sladjana Novakovic at Nova's Bakery, then located in South End. Soon thereafter, they both worked at Cosmos Café downtown. With the opening of Intermezzo, and with Nova's Bakery and the Bosnian Market just up the street, Charlotte has given center to the Balkan community in Plaza Midwood. So much more than a pizzeria, read more here,
Plan to join us next Thursday March 13, 2008 at 7 PM.
Please reply on the website, in the announcements section, if you can make it, so we’ll know how many tables to save.
Intermezzo Pizzeria and Café
1427 E. 10th St.
Charlotte, NC 28205
Michelle, If you come to Intermezzo, I look forward to a good discussion. If not, we could start by identifying eating places, other than our own kitchens, where we can eat 'GOOD, CLEAN, FAIR & LOCAL' for anything near $100/couple.
We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to pleasure and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible. Our movement is founded upon this concept of eco-gastronomy – a recognition of the strong connections between plate and planet. Slow Food is good, clean and fair food. We believe that the food we eat should taste good; that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health; and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work. We consider ourselves co-producers, not consumers, because by being informed about how our food is produced and actively supporting those who produce it, we become a part of and a partner in the production process.
I would like everyone to read the philosophy that Slow Food was founded upon. Food should be GOOD, CLEAN and FAIR. Local is what we stand for. So remember to Support the Restaurants that Support YOUR LOCAL FARMERS. They grow your food. Because without you we all will go away. If we want a Ethnic dining club lets start one. I'm all for it. But lets not have it under the Slow Food banner if they don't practice the philosophy of GOOD, CLEAN, FAIR & LOCAL.
I hope Thom's messages smoothes the road ahead. None of this was done with malice or misappropriation in mind. You can read the Slow Food charter but there is no lawyer-ease that makes a pure definitive definition to each key point.
Saving culture is important, supporting farmers is important, having good clean fair food, is important. Slow Food started because Carlos' saw McD's moving in and blotting out the culture.. he didn't first see it as the farmer, he saw it as his history, his tradition, was being eradicated. The rest of the messages is equally important but it must be balanced.
If we come out of Intermezzo tonight with their ear bent and looking for local, then I feel we have made a stride.
As to the Slow banner, every major city has a Slow food restaurant book. When we are in a city with those roadmaps I visit those establishments. The directory for NYC is huge. Don't kid yourself that every one of those restaurants buy local for their menus, and who is policing them week to week to maintain it. It's the main sticking point to why I haven't condoned making a list of our own. I think, and I'd be happy to climb the SF phone ladder to find out, but I think many of those restaurants were chosen because of their cultural identities they are promoting equal to how they are sourcing their foods.
Slow Food is about a lot of things. At each link in the chain we will attempt to work on providing information and resources to people, establishments, and groups that are looking to drive further into a cultural and locavore mentality.
Then get them to buy local!!!! And don't leave restaurants like mine or others to just twist in the wind. Everybody talks a great game but a select few ever follow through with what they say. I for one do as much as I can to promote the local seen. As for the Carlos and McDonalds reference. That is exactly what these restaurants that use Sysco, US Foodservice and IFH are doing to the small independent restaurant and small family farmer. They are stamping out our way of life. Don't be fooled!! There are farmers shutting down their operations every day in this country. All the while these corporations keep getting bigger and bigger and squeezing out the little guy who is trying to make a living.
I hear everyone talking but I don’t see it in the dining room. As far as being fooled about buying local I can’t speak for the other guys but I buy as much as can be supplied with and I want to buy more. Trust me I have the receipts to prove it. As Gary Kemp points out in his response he is looking for a place for $100.00 per couple. That can be done at my restaurant. I was told that Slow Food Charlotte members where looking to spend $10.00 - $15.00 per person. That I am sorry to say is not quite as easy. Considering the high quality of the products I buy and just the rent alone I have to pay. Remember Good Food is Not Cheap and Cheap Food is Not Good. As for the support of Slow Food Charlotte members in my restaurant I have seen 2 members since September 26th which was the night that Alice Waters came to visit!!! It is sad to me that the only time I get a visit from members of an organization that we all believe in so much about supporting a sustainable future that is Good, Clean and Fair. Is only for special events. To see and be seen.
Mark wrote this to me in a PM, I didn't realize he had written this out to the public. To sum up the few pages I sent Mark.
* We're 200(ish) and growing, we're doing what we can. In a Char-Meck population that equates to about 1 in 8000.
* If you have great ideas, we implore you to help teach and educate for change.
* You cannot use a blunt instrument (even if wished) to get these points across else the world tunes you out.
* We share light and love where we can, but sadly we are not all financially able to do that.
* A business is a business and has to be run like a business which means creatively solving problems, or bean counting. One takes mental energy and acuity one takes an accountant from a bad place to shake your COG into the gutter.
* If business could be better, market better please don't blame us.
* The markets are growing faster than ever, and as I understand it we're beginning to saturate our first responder farmers. To me that sounds like a lot of people _are_ supporting local.
* Please don't use the words 'everyone', it's a bad form to use in argument logic. Bring real metrics to the table.
As our numbers go up we'll have more able bodies that can assume responsibilities to make things happen, as it stands we have a lot of people we can call out to, but not many who will assume mantles of responsibilities. I find these statistics to be pretty on in group theory:
When studied, it was found that user participation generally follows a 90-9-1 Rule
90% of users are "lurkers" (i.e. they read or browse but don't contribute)
9% of users contribute from time to time, but other priorities dominate their time
1% of users participate very often and account for most of the contributions
Now out of our membership base what does that say.. it says we do what we can with the numbers we can and try to gain more numbers so that 1% slice has a lot more people in it.
We are here, we need to be supportive and helpful. Bring clean and clear thoughts to the table and we can parse them over one at a time to try and see the issue clearly. Muddying up the discussion with a few different problems makes it very difficult to see through, especially when there is as much passion as I can sense behind it.
If someone thinks in any way I am having anything but humble tonality, I ask that this is to be taken with kid gloves.
Thank you Andy, Mark and Thom for your honesty, passion and wisdom on the challenges we face in supporting and rebuilding a local food system. I have yet to read a point that Andy, Mark and Thom made that does not have truths and logic. Interest is our beginning point, participation the next step, and action, the next step which comes with challenges. As this movement grows, so many of us are at different levels, my hope is that more people will become passionate about the local food movement and put their interests into actions on all levels.
The realities I have come to in my exploration of our regions local food supply is very concerning. The challanges our farmers are facing for financial sustainability, supply & demand, growth, climate, land affordability, availability are all astounding. As co-producers it is our resposibility to educate ourselves on these challanges.
I attended a NC Farmland Preservation workshop a few months ago. I learned that the average age of farmers & truck drivers in the US is 59. When they retire, the question is what will happen to our current food supply and the farmland? Will it be purchased at premium prices for developement? Can you blame farmers after working the land all their lives and barely sustaining to be tempted and selling. Most farm families live very conservatively and have supplemental income to cover living cost. I agree with Mark, Good food is not cheap and cheap food is not good for you or the enviroment.
The local eco-food supply currently, greatly, falls short of demand. When the younger generation is convinced that farming pays (if it does), then the amount of producers will grow. Until then, only those insanely passionate about food safety will be eco-growing/farming. If you can afford to patronize restaurants who support safe local food then you should. If you can not afford safe local food, grow your own, if you can not grow your own (no land) get involved in community gardens. Do what you can with the resources you have available. It is going to take alot of passion and creativity to solve the challanges of a safe, healthy food supply.