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Slow Food Notion

Side Dishes: Vermont chapter to grow

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Last Sunday, 50 hungry Burlington-area residents gathered at Pauline’s Café on Shelburne Road to talk about forming a new Queen City chapter of Slow Food — the international nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of traditional foods and “food ways.”

Although the state already has a Montpelier-based chapter, Mara Welton of Half Pint Farm thought it might be time to expand. “It’s about access,” she explains. “I helped organize a few events [in central Vermont], and it became evident to me that people in Vermont are very community focused; they don’t travel.”

As the meeting progressed, though, it became clear that creating a new chapter wasn’t the way to go. “There’s a long application, a lot of rules you have to follow, things that were unappealing to folks,” Welton says.

Instead, the diners decided to invigorate the existing chapter by planning upcoming events in Chittenden County. They also stressed their preference for “grassroots events” such as potlucks and cooking workshops over the traditional white-tablecloth gatherings at area restaurants.

Overall, Welton says, “It was a really great meeting.” When she organized a similar get-together in 2006, she recalls, only four people showed. Slow and steady wins the race ...

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