If September seems like it's still far away, it's only the blink of an eye away for event planners, especially with so much uncertainty about how social distancing and other pandemic-related safety measures will look over the next few months. Slow Food Nations, the annual celebration of local and traditional foods that has been setting up in Larimer Square for the past three years, isn't taking any chances; Slow Food USA, which organizes Slow Food Nations, just canceled the event that was scheduled to take place from September 11 to 13.
"Gathering people together is a pillar of the Slow Food mission," the festival's executive director, Krista Roberts, said in a statement. "However, the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone involved remains our top priority. Our team is working to create virtual programming this fall to support and gather this community, and we look forward to coming together in person once this crisis is over.”
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Whether or not it will be safe to gather in large groups come September remains to be seen, but Slow Food Nations is an international festival that normally brings in chefs, restaurateurs, food producers and media from all over the world, and the uncertainty of air travel, the economic hardships being faced by the industry, and the need for food professionals to support their own communities right now were other likely factors in the decision to cancel the festival.
While we'll miss out on the festival's informative, entertaining and delicious programming (past years have given us zero-waste dinners, traditional tortilla-making demonstrations and Ethiopian injera bread classes, for example), the organization is already planning Slow Food Live online sessions to bring similar content, such as urban gardening, pantry sauces and nose-to-tail fish prep, to your computer. The live "skill-share" programming begins on May 6, and previously recorded sessions have already been posted on the Slow Food USA website.
To help support the food production community, Slow Food USA has also launched its National Resilience Fund, which will benefit "all workers in the local food chain — farmers, ranchers, fish-harvesters, chefs, advocates and laborers" by distributing funds to producers who share the Slow Foods mission and may have been passed over by state or federal relief funds.