Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I was looking for some good pig photos to illustrate this blog entry on a screening of Food, Inc. and realized that not only did I have a pretty cute photo of a cinta senese pig, but it was happily posing with Michael Pollan, one of the food gurus behind this amazing film. (the other two animals are my dog, Pico, and husband, Italian architect Domenico Minchilli.)
The Friends of the Academy in Italy hosted a screening of the documentary Food, Inc. this past Saturday. The film beautifully – and horrifyingly – describes the state of the American food system. While it is mostly gloom and doom, the filmmakers also present alternatives, including profiles of several small-scale, sustainable farmers who buck the trend of Big Food.
After the screening of the film we were lucky enough to be able to hear from two Italian farmers with similar approaches, Enzo Foi of Lo Spicchio and Giuseppe Brandizi of Biola. While the abundance of open air markets in Italy may make you think that you are getting farm fresh food, it ain’t so. Much of the produce – and certainly almost all the meat and dairy – comes from large-scale farms.
Both Brandizi and Foi made heartfelt and convincing arguments for sustainable, organic farming. If anyone in the audience was still undecided, the incredibly delicious lunch featuring their products sealed the deal. Foi’s cinta sense pork roast simmered in Brandizi’s raw milk was sublime. If you are reading this in Rome, it’s easy to recreate the dish. Visit both the Lo Spicchio and Biola web sites to buy meat, milk and more. Or join the Friends of the Academy in Italy to enjoy the fruit the Academy’s Sustainable Food Program. I will try to get the recipe for the pork roast from chefs Mona Talbott and Chris Boswell, and post it in the future.
The moral of the day? You can make a difference in your own little world, by supporting farmers like Brandizi and Foi, and joining causes like the Rome Sustainable Food Program at the American Academy. As the film says, vote with your fork. It tastes good too.