Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Slow Food Nation 2: Politics

After the morning planting by the volunteers at the Slow Food Nation Victory Garden in Civic Center, the celebrities arrived, including Mayor Gavin Newsom and his fiance Jennifer Siebel along with the doyenne of the Slow Food movement in the United States, Alice Waters (all pictured above).

Alice Waters joined the mayor and his fiance in a ceremonial planting...

...where they all got their hands dirty, which seemed to make Ms. Siebel somewhat discomfited.

The founder of Berkeley's Chez Panisse restaurant, Miss Alice looked exuberant over having called Mayor Newsom's bluff at a meeting earlier in the year where she talked him into installing the "Victory Garden" as part of the huge Slow Food Nation confab taking place this Labor Day weekend.

Security was tight for the event to keep out the great unwashed...

...so they wouldn't bother dignitaries such as Wade Crowfoot (above), Newsom's so-called Director of Climate Protection Initiatives.

There were speeches by Anya Fernald and John Bela, the Victory Gardens "Program Manager" (above in the hat) that were long on rhetoric and short on inspiration...

...and they were followed by Willow Rosenthal (above) who founded City Slicker Farms in West Oakland (click here for their website), which has been creating neighborhood produce gardens in that blighted neighborhood over the last decade.

She was followed by Mayor Newsom who babbled on about his accomplishments in the realm of the environment and how much more he was going to accomplish with his super-duper initiatives, taking personal credit for just about everything besides the creation of the geodesic dome.

I would feel a bit more credulous if his own municipal government didn't do everything in their power to shut down and destroy every communal neighborhood garden that arises spontaneously on unused land in San Francisco, or if he made a peep about the disgraceful parking garage going up a block away at Hastings College, but I suppose a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

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