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INTERVIEW: Laura Luciano On Slow Food East End's Upcoming Virtual Events Featuring Local Chefs, Farmers And Beverage Artisans

T.J. Clemente

Taylor Knapp of Peconic Escargot. (Courtesy Photo)

In an interview with Laura Luciano, the Slow Food Governor for New York — Downstate and Chair for New York State, along with being a Slow Food USA Board Member and Slow Food East End Board Member, we discussed the remaining Slow Food East End Virtual Events. Due to Ms. Luciano's zeal, knowledge and magnetism, I instantly became a fan and potential future member of the organization.

Everyone is invited to "attend" the Zoom virtual events. "It is important to know about the food you eat and the benefits of having so many wonderful local venues here on the East End!" Ms. Luciano explained. Besides being fun, she noted the virtual "webinars" (web seminars) are entertaining, informative and instructional.

When asked what is slow food? She responded, "It's the actual opposite of fast food." She went on to explain that "the Slow Food movement was started by Carlo Petrini and a group of activists in the 1980s in Italy, sort of as a protest of a McDonald's springing up very near the Spanish Steps in Rome."

Petrini's initial aim was to defend regional traditions, good food, gastronomic pleasure and a slow pace of life. In over three decades of history, the movement has evolved to embrace a comprehensive approach to food that recognizes the strong connections between plate, planet, people, politics and culture. Today, Slow Food represents a global movement involving thousands of projects and millions of people in over 160 countries.

She went on to explain that due to COVID-19, they pivoted to allow cash donations to vendors, farmers and restaurants that were about be decimated by the pandemic. "We couldn't do our school projects and normal summer fundraising activities that were so successful in the past, so we decided to do the virtual events," she noted.

Ms. Luciano spoke at length answering questions, she had numerous facts, reasons, and examples on why Slow Food is so successful at what they do. She said she has been working diligently since 2012, because it is important that we "leave our children a better, safer food supply and way of life." She explained how great it feels to be involved in an organization that has a goal of making the world, our nation and the East End of Long Island eat smarter, support local produce and thus be healthier. "We support the food banks, the food pantries and other programs that help those in need both now during COVID and those who have always needed assistance," she shared. "The east zone consists of Riverhead out to the end of both the North and South Forks of Long Island."

Slow Food is also holding a membership drive this September. Anyone can join by visiting slowfoodusa.org.

She stressed all, including those who have never heard of the "Slow Food" movement, should tune into the Slow Food East End Live series.

Upcoming virtual events include a Wednesday, September 16 program covering Snails the Real Slow Food with Snail Wrangler Taylor Knapp of Peconic Escargot. The next session, The Three Sisters with Chefs Elizabeth Ronzetti and Adam Kopels of 18 Bay Restaurant, will be held on Sunday, September 20 at 6:00 p.m.

"These virtual events most likely will continue after COVID. It is a new way to get out our message and reach people," she added.

The next scheduled presentation will be October 7 with the Slow Food East End First-Ever Virtual Annual Meeting.

For more information, visit slowfoodeastend.org.

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