How Slow Food Stole Back the $5 Value Meal

An affordable meal courtesy Slow Food Columbus, whose members are taking part in Slow Food USA’s “$5 Challenge” Facebook photo gallery. They’d love for you to add to it.

Earlier this month 30,000 home cooks proved that a value meal didn’t have to require a drive-thru. Coming together with the values of true slow food—good, clean and fair for eaters and farmers—each made a meal for $5 or less a diner for a national “potluck” on September 17th. Out of this came hearty seasonal soups like corn chowder, meats (broken into parts, sliced for sandwiches and stewed into stock) and nights spent swapping preserving and season-stretching tips.

For others it was harder, as many communities still have little access to more than bodega-like markets and fast food chains. But that was part of the concept of the Slow Food $5 Challenge—to see what was possible and what still needed attention. As Slow Food president Josh Viertel told Fox news recently (and the Obama administration on more than one occasion) our food system could be better friends with our health standards.

This clever little one corralled picnic-goers from the subway. Photo courtesy Slow Food USA.

How is it that Froot Loops are cheaper than actual fruit? He finds that the less a community spends on food (meaning subsidies for commodity crops, in this case), the more it ends up spending on health care.

On the big day, potluckers from across the country came together; 50 New Yorkers (plus bystanders) on Governor’s Island alone met for a picnic. A nice turnout. But with any luck the $5 challenge isn’t over with their gathering. We’re sure there are many more readers here with a few backyard-gardening, CSA-subscribing budget tricks up their sleeves to make a meal for $5 or less. Snap a pretty picture and share them here.

Now who says slow food is always elitist?

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