The Green Room: BBMG’s Mitch Baranowski Interviews Slow Food USA President

In the latest episode of BBMG‘s Green Room, Mitch Baranowski chats with Slow Food USA’s president, Josh Viertel, about the importance of good, clean, and fair food.

Slow Food is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment. As BBMG’s Chief Creative Officer (and Green Room host) Mitch Baranowski points out: “Healthy food can be a gateway to civic engagement.”

Viertel echoes that philosophy, explaining the organization’s push for food “that reflects your values,” and the philosophy that citizens often have more power than politicians. Accordingly, Slow Food USA has no lobbyists on staff, instead focusing on creating pathways for individuals to volunteer, get involved and create change on local and national levels.

Viertel and Baranowski also discuss the increase in food awareness that’s been snowballing thanks to Slow Food and related movements. The battle to change perception rages on with the hope that consumers will no longer view “conventional” food as non-organic.

The next major battle for the organization, says Viertel, is 2012 expiration of the Farm Bill: “a piece of legislature that’s totally wonky and totally determines what we eat.”

Slow Food USA is a non-profit “network of networks” consisting of more 200,000 supporters, 24,000 members and 225 chapters across the country. The organization, Viertel explains, advocates for food that’s “good clean and fair…the opposite of fast, cheap and easy.” Programs include Slow Food in Schools, which teaches about the value of sustainable food through activities like cooking classes and gardening; and the US Terra Madre Network, an international network of over 7,000 food producers, cooks and educators dedicated to promoting and strengthening the slow-food movement at the local level.

The Green Room is filmed at the DUMBO, Brooklyn offices of brand innovation firm BBMG, and hosted in partnership with Triple Pundit. Recent guests include Recyclebank’s chief sustainability officer, Ian Yolles; author, eco-model, environmental activist and co-founder of Source4Style Summer Rayne Oaks; and TerraCycle’s co-founder and CEO, Tom Szaky.

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