Slow Food Nations is coming to Denver this summer, with a street-food festival, a worldwide summit of culinary leaders and a wide variety of classes, lectures, demonstrations and exhibits intended to draw attention to "good, clean and fair food" produced in the United States. The festival will take place July 14 to 16, and tickets are already on sale for the bigger scheduled events.
Slow Food was founded in 1989 in Italy, after journalist Carlo Petrini rallied colleagues and food producers to protest the building of Rome's first McDonald's. The organization developed as a response to fast food and the loss of traditional and local food-production methods in Italy, and has since spread to 160 countries. Turin, Italy, hosts the biennial Terra Madre and Salon del Gusto, a food-and-wine festival organized to celebrate the Slow Food mission. Slow Food USA chose Denver as the host city for the American version, an honor that will draw worldwide attention to the city's culinary scene.
Richard McCarthy, executive director of Slow Food USA, and Krista Roberts, director of Slow Food Denver, launched ticket sales for the event on April 10, and at the same time introduced several Colorado chefs and food producers who will participate in Slow Food Nations as presenters and ambassadors of Colorado's local and sustainable food industry. They include Adam Schlegel, Alex Seidel, Chad Michael George, Frank Bonanno, Hosea Rosenberg, Josh Pollack, Nate Singer, Paul Reilly, Desirae Neff and Seth O'Donovan.
In addition to chefs and restaurateurs, other local individuals and organizations will also be involved, including Blake Angelo, the first manager of Food Systems Development for Denver; Eric Kornacki, founder of Re:Vision; Colorado Springs urban farmer Sophie Javna; and Christy Thorns of Allegro Coffee. Slow Food Nations will also host many esteemed guests — farmers, ranchers, educators, chefs and writers — from around the country.
"We selected Denver because it is a great example of an inland town that uses food to accelerate reinvention, create collaborations between urban and rural, and get different folks sitting around the same table," notes McCarthy. "The growth of craft beer, urban gardens, public markets and the most collaborative restaurant scene in America makes Denver the ideal host."
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Most of the three-day festival's activities will take place at Union Station and Larimer Square, and more than a dozen separate events have already been planned. See the Slow Food Nation's website to read descriptions of each and to buy tickets; there will also be free events at both Larimer Square and Union Station.