Wendell Berry, Vandana Shiva, Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, Eric Schlosser and Carlo Petrini join together in conversation about the local, national and global impact of the philosophy and practice of Slow Food.
Poet, essayist, farmer, and novelist Wendell Berry was born on August 5, 1934, in Newcastle, Kentucky.
He attended the University of Kentucky at Lexington where he received a B.A. in English in 1956 and an M.A. in 1957. Berry is the author of more than thirty books of poetry, essays, and novels. His collections of poetry include A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997 (Counterpoint, 1997), Entries: Poems (1994), Traveling at Home (1989), Collected Poems 1957-1982 (1985), Clearing (1977), There Is Singing Around Me (1976), and The Broken Ground (1964). His novels include A World Lost (1996), Remembering (1988), and The Memory of Old Jack.
Berry is also the author of prose collections including Another Turn of the Crank , Sex, Economy, Freedom, & Community, Standing on Earth: Selected Essays, and A Continuous Harmony: Essays Cultural and Agricultural. He has taught at New York University and at the University of Kentucky.
Among his honors and awards are fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, a Lannan Foundation Award, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He married Tanya Amyx in 1957; they have two children. Wendell Berry lives on a farm in Port Royal, Kentucky.
Corby Kummer is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he has established himself as one of the country's most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers.
Carlo Petrini founded the International Slow Food Movement in 1989. He first came to prominence in the 1980s for taking part in a campaign against the fast food chain McDonald's opening by the Spanish Steps in Rome
He is an editor of multiple publications at the publishing house Slow Food Editore and writes several weekly columns for La Stampa. He was one of Time Magazine's heroes of 2004.
Michael Pollan is the author of The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, a New York Times bestseller.
His previous books include The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World (2001); A Place of My Own (1997); and Second Nature (1991). A contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine, Pollan is the recipient of numerous journalistic awards, including the James Beard Award for best magazine series in 2003 and the Reuters-I.U.C.N. 2000 Global Award for Environmental Journalism.
Pollan served for many years as executive editor of Harper's Magazine and is now the Knight Professor of Science and Environmental Journalism at UC Berkeley. His articles have been anthologized in Best American Science Writing 2004, Best American Essays 2003, and the Norton Book of Nature Writing.
Eric Schlosser has been a correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly since 1996. After graduating from Princeton with a degree in American History, Schlosser tried his hand at several professions (playwright, novelist, script writer) before finally turning to non-fiction in his early thirties. Although his idea for an article on homosexuals in the military was turned down by the Atlantic Monthly, the magazine offered him another assignment: writing about the New York City bomb squad after the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Other assignments followed, one of which was about America and its fast food industry. What began as a simple magazine article turned into an international bestseller. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All American Meal, was on the New York Times bestsellers list for nearly two years. It appeared on the bestseller lists of the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, USA Today, Business Week, and Publishers Weekly, as well as on bestseller lists in Canada, Great Britain and Japan.
His second New York Times bestseller, Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market (May 2003), was also inspired by his earlier articles on the enforcement of marijuana laws in America and illegal immigration in California. His two-part series, "Reefer Madness" and "Marijuana and the Law" (Altantic Montly, August and September, 1994), won a National Magazine Award for reporting, and his article, "In the Strawberry Fields" (Atlantic Monthly, November 1995), received a Sidney Hillman Foundation award.
Schlosser has appeared on 60 Minutes, CNN, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, FOX News, The O'Reilly Factor, and Extra!. He has been interviewed on NPR and covered in Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, and the New York Times. His work also has appeared in Rolling Stone and The New Yorker.
Scientist, philosopher, feminist, author, environmentalist, and activist, Dr. Vandana Shiva is a one-woman movement for peace, sustainability and social justice.
Vandana Shiva was born in 1952 in Uttarakhand, India . Her father was a conservator of forests, and her mother was a farmer with a deep love for nature. Her parents were staunch supporters of Mahatma Gandhi, and Gandhi remains a profound influence on her thought. Echoing Gandhi, she says, “I have tried to be the change I want to see.”
After receiving her schooling in India and training as a gymnast, Vandana Shiva earned a B.S. in Physics, an M.A. in the philosophy of science at the University of Guelph, and a PhD in nuclear physics at the University of Western Ontario. As a graduate student, however, she found herself troubled by the realization that science had “a dark side,” and that she didn't know enough about the actual workings of society. India, she noted, had the third biggest scientific community in the world, but remained among the poorest of countries. Science and technology is supposed to create growth, remove poverty, but that was not happening in India.
Her quest for answers led her to study science policy at the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore where she explored interdisciplinary research in science, technology and environmental policy. She emerged as an authority in the field of environmental impact, and became deeply alarmed by the threat to biodiversity posed by biotechnology. Hearing the leaders of world agri-business describe their plan to control the world's supply of food and pharmaceuticals through the use of patented, genetically-engineered seeds, she founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, dedicated to opposing such ventures.
In 1991, Dr. Shiva founded Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native seeds, and to oppose what she calls the colonization of life itself under the intellectual property and patent laws of the World Trade Organization agreement. Those laws, she says, have “only a negative function: to prevent others from doing their own thing; to prevent people from having food; to prevent people from having medicine; to prevent countries from having technological capacity.” She describes these laws as a “tool for creating underdevelopment.”
Alice Waters is a chef and the founder of Chez Panisse Restaurant and Cafe in Berkeley, California.
An advocate of local farmers markets and sustainable agriculture, she features organic and seasonal foods and promotes the power of growing, cooking, and sharing food.
She has also created the Chez Panisse Foundation, whose primary beneficiary is the Edible Schoolyard at Berkeley's Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School.
Her books include the Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook and, most recently, The Art of Simple Food.
Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food, lays down an agenda to re-build a culture of food in the United States to both improve health and reduce the environmental impact of the food economy. What does a sun food agenda look like?
System of crop cultivation that uses biological methods of fertilization and pest control as substitutes for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which are regarded by supporters of organic methods as harmful to health and the environment and unnecessary for successful cultivation. It was initiated as a conscious rejection of modern agri-chemical techniques in the 1930s by the British agronomist Sir Albert Howard. Miscellaneous organic materials, including animal manure, compost, grass turf, straw, and other crop residues, are applied to fields to improve both soil structure and moisture-holding capacity and to nourish soil life, which in turn nourishes plants. (Chemical fertilizers, by contrast, feed plants directly.) Biological pest control is achieved through preventive methods, including diversified farming, crop rotation, the planting of pest-deterrent species, and the use of integrated pest management techniques. Bioengineered strains are avoided. Since organic farming is time-consuming, organically grown produce tends to be expensive. Organic produce formerly accounted for a minuscule portion of total American farm output, but it has seen a huge proportional increase in sales in recent years.