Slow Food Roaring Fork focuses on school children |

Slow Food Roaring Fork focuses on school children

Katie Redding
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Slow Food Roaring Fork could use more volunteers, according to founding member Joyce Falcone.

And no wonder. It has no employees.

More importantly, it has a lot of goals to accomplish: establishing the potato as the official heritage food of the Roaring Fork Valley, raising the quality of food in the Aspen school cafeterias, maintaining gardens and building a greenhouse at the Aspen school campus, bringing the group’s ideas to downvalley schools, and ultimately making Aspen America’s first certified “Slow City.”

The nonprofit organization is the local arm of a national nonprofit founded in Bra, Italy, in 1986 in response to the march of fast-food chains across the world. The movement, which now has 80,000 members and numerous branches worldwide, promotes good, clean and fair food.

The local branch was founded by local residents Tom Passavant, Katie Leonitis, Louisa Goldsmith, David Gibson, Jim Swanson and Joyce Falcone. Its main goal, Falcone said, is to raise the level of food quality and consciousness in the Roaring Fork Valley, starting with children. However, members also find time to have fun, explore local gardens ” and eat good meals.

Business meetings, which, naturally, involve a potluck, are held at the picnic table at the Community Garden, The Cheese Shop or a member’s house six times a year. The organization also hosts parties celebrating food. A recent peach celebration at Sustainable Settings offered peach daquiris, peach salsa, peach pies and Argentine grilled calf. A burger bash at Aspen Highlands offered burgers made of everything from salmon to vegetables. And a Dine Around sent diners around Aspen for a glass of wine and a plate of food at five different restaurants. At the “Weed and Feed” event, members picked weeds at Ute City Farms, then held a picnic.

A major fundraiser held every year at Six 89 in Carbondale brings seven or so local chefs together to make dinner. This year’s dinner and silent auction is being held at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 25. Tickets are $96.89 for members and $126.89 for nonmembers.

Receipts from that dinner ” and their few other fundraisers ” are “pretty much what we run on,” Falcone said. For the 2007-08 fiscal year, the organization brought in $18,622 from events and $2,800 in contributions.

Most of their money is spent at the Aspen School District campus: Last year, the organization spent $10,952 on the school garden project. Their next largest expense was event expenses, at $4,224, and then insurance, for $1,000.

Current fundraising dollars will be focused on raising the quality of food in the schools and building a greenhouse.

Falcone noted that the group is always trying to raise more money for those projects. But mostly, she stressed the organization’s need for help with their numerous projects. Right now, they’re trying to find local heirloom potato varieties so that they can establish the ‘tater as the valley’s “presidia” product. Once that is done, they will apply to be a Slow City, a designation that indicates a city is determined to improve quality of life for its residents, particularly with regard to food. Help is needed with both projects.

And they always need help with the school gardens, she said, particularly people willing to start gardens in Carbondale and Basalt.

Falcone recommends that interested volunteers or members visit and New members are always welcome; membership costs $60 for a single person, $75 for couples.

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