In October of 2008, Land & Sea Slow Food officially ended any affiliation with the "Experience Food Project" and “Chef Tom French” .
Because of the extensive logistical support work done by Land & Sea Slow Food at the start of the San Juan School District's lunch program, there has been confusion about Land & Sea Slow Food re: Tom French's Experience Food Project. Land and Sea Slow Food is not part of Tom French's Experience Food Project. "The Experience Food Project" is a separate entity run by Tom French. It managed the school district's lunch program (year 2008-08) in addition to other possible interests. Land & Sea donated time and materials to support the establishment of a district lunch program. We are San Juan Island's local chapter of Slow Food, an independent non profit organization.
As a result of numerous and troubling inconsistencies, misrepresentations and lack of follow-through, and the additional discovery of a long pattern/history of troubling financial dealings and misrepresentations, Land & Sea does not support, endorse, or recommend "Chef Tom French".
Land & Sea Slow Food is happy for the wonderful successes of the San Juan Island School District's homegrown "Food for Thought" lunch program initiated and run by SJISD employees Liz Varvaro and Andy Radziolowski, and for the hard work of local San Juan Island people in actually making that happen, and continuing to make this lunch program truly successful and sustainable.
Although Slow Food is an actual organization, the name "Slow Food" has sometimes seemed to mean any healthy food program in many people's minds, possibly creating confusion.
Slow Food originally got its name in opposition to the idea of "fast food", the loss of heritage foods and rich cultural traditions, and the opening of a McDonald's "fast food" franchise on the Spanish Steps in Rome.
Land & Sea chapter has independently created and sponsors many exciting projects here in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. (See links to Youth Club and stories on other events below). We have started small to be most effective, and are continually building at the grassroots level. We also help link people who want to support farmers with farmers, and link resources for farmers with farmers. We have gained a lot of trust from local producers by actually being there in the field. We always welcome new members but do not insist in membership to participate; our focus has been finding like minded passionate people who also share the Slow Food mission, working with them and building in that way. Often these people do decide to also join.
We find that our direct action fills a need in our community and is our strength. The quote attributed to Margaret Mead “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has” has definitely inspired us and given our work affirmation. Policy making is very important, but we see that that hands-on work at the ground level has often been able to effect positive actual change even before work of policy-makers does. We support and encourage good policy, and share our mission and suggestions with local and national policy makers, as a look at our site attests. We feel have been most effective here on our island with actual work in the field and creating links, and will continually keep our ear to the ground and evaluate our effectiveness to see how we can do our best to accomplish the Slow Food mission. For more info on joining Slow Food and other opportunities, check links to the right.