Slightly Off-Topic But Please Help Us Understand
We’re truly baffled. Maybe it’s because just today we finished Barbara Kingsolver’s wonderful (leetle bit preachy, Babs) Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and are all hyped to go to the farmer’s market, bake some bread, and sit on turkey eggs.
Here’s the conundrum: Slow Food USA is holding slow food cooking demonstrations in three American cities. So far, fine. They are being held at Fairmont Hotels in Miami, Dallas, and Chicago. The press release notes Fairmont is “a global hospitality brand known for its warm and engaging service and culturally rich experiences” and “Fairmont is also committed to responsible tourism and is an industry leader in sustainable hotel management with its award-winning Green Partnership program.” But, to describe itself as a hospitality brand and to know the company operates 95 hotels around the world, well, they’re not exactly local travel, are they? And isn’t the slow food movement related to the locavore movement? So, wouldn’t a more appropriate place to hold the events be at a local hotel?
But, that not all that’s causing our head to hurt, folks. In addition to the local and slow food that will be made and consumed at the Fairmont, Finlandia Vodka is also sponsoring the event and so will offer vodka cocktails to be paired with each course. Wha?
Is Finlandia Vodka part of the slow food movement? Aren’t they from, like, Finland? (Actually, it’s owned by an American company with over 4,000 employees around the world but made in Finland.) Not to knock our Nordic friends and if we were involved in the Finland Slow Food movement, we’d be all for these cocktails (vodka martini, please, extra olives) but we’re here in Miami, Chicago, and Dallas.
It seems that the mighty dollar has reached even the peace, love, and patchouli-reeking kids at Slow Food USA. Coming from an industry that has been all but bought off by the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, we have a bit of advice for the slow foodies: watch it. Be very careful who you let sponsor your events because there’s a fine line between sponsorship and influence. Next thing you know, Monsanto will be giving you hemp bags to distribute at your conferences.