Slow Living Summit 2015: The Journey of Food
Wednesday through Friday, June 3-5 — Downtown Brattleboro, Vermont
The fifth annual Summit brings food in focus. Join us for a mindful exploration of the journey of food, from farming and food entrepreneurship to food systems to nourishment to food justice and policy.
The Summit’s five major tracks:
Food Entrepreneurship — How can locally-oriented farmers and food producers flourish in the face of a globalized food industry?
Food Systems — How do we develop food systems holistically — serving the entire community, using the entirety of available food resources?
Nourishment and Wellness — How do we strengthen the connections between food, body, mind, spirit and community?
Food Justice and Access — Is good food just for those who can afford it and easily access it?
Food Policy — What policies can maximize the value of our food systems?
As always, the Summit takes place in wonderful downtown Brattleboro, Vermont — on many of America’s Top Ten Small Towns lists — just before the famous Strolling of the Heifers Weekend!
Early-bird registration rates are now in effect!
Save the date!
We’re planning the 2015 Slow Living Summit! The dates will be Wednesday, June 3 through Friday, June 5, and the place, as always, will be downtown Brattleboro, Vermont.
Scroll down this page to catch up with videos and information about the 2014 Summit.
Please join our email list to receive early-bird notification of program details and registration information!
Welcoming Shanta Evans-Crowley
Shanta L. Evans-Crowley is joining us as our 2015 Slow Living Summit coordinator. Shanta is a multifaceted professional and artist. She serves as the part-time Director of Development at the Windham Child Care Association. Additionally, she is a media and publicity maven/ marketing consultant/buzz generator for several projects and clients in spanning from Brattleboro, VT, New York City, and abroad.
Shanta has an MBA and an undergraduate degree in Women, Gender and Sexuality and sits on the Women’s Freedom Center Board. She is a regular contributor to the Brattleboro Reformer with regular featured writings on her blog, Real Talk (Reformer802.com/realtalk) and her various social media sites. She is currently working with Liz LaVorgna on photography project, “Perfect Imperfection,” which focuses on challenging the social pressures to be perfect.
Contact Shanta: firstname.lastname@example.org
A look back at the 2014 Summit
What was it about? Slow Living is about giving back, about living more mindfully, about connecting with one’s community and one’s bioregion.
The 2014 Slow Living Summit was a unique intergenerational conversation about connections — connections between life, health and happiness; between soil, soul and food; between money, community and bioregions; between arts, humor and love. Behind those connections are stories.
At the 2014 Summit, we shared stories, rather than solutions. For most problems, it’s usually easy to prescribe a cure. But what we really need is not a cure but a story that enables us to understand the problem and find the solution on our own.
At the Summit, speakers and artists connected, presented and performed together, telling stories and exploring narratives. We came together, we listened, we shared, and we learned how to be the artists of our own lives.
2014 Summit videos
About 300 people gathered in Brattleboro, Vermont on June 5-7, 2014 for the 4th annual Slow Living Summit. They experienced an exciting interplay between speakers, artists and audience, as artistic content — music, dance, drama, visual art — was woven into Summit, not as preludes or warm-ups, but as a seamless, natural part of the Summit’s fabric.
In a Slow lifestyle, the arts are integral to community well-being. Modeling this essential presence, in the Slow Living Summit artistic expression was not simply window-dressing or warm-up exercises — we sought to weave it seamlessly into the fabric of the Summit, amplifying and interpreting the messages of speakers, and involving the audience in participative ways.
If you missed the Summit, or would like to re-experience it, here are complete videos of the five plenary sessions, and a breakout discussion called “No More Throwaway People” featuring Time Banking founder Edgar Cahn.
The Opening Plenary, Wednesday, June 4
Orly Munzing, Linda McInerney: “What’s this all about?” — Samantha Eagle, John Sheldon, Lindel Hart: “The well being” — Samantha advocates a “sustainable healthcare movement” for preventing and reversing chronic conditions. Instead of the fast-food mentality—take this pill for that—she discusses incorporating a new approach that involves the application of evidence-based environmental, social, psychological and behavioral science to balance the Mind/Body/Spirit.
Plenary 2 — Thursday morning, June 5, 2014
Charles Eisenstein and Eugene Friesen: “Time is running out, let’s Slow Down” — In a time of grave and urgent crisis, the “Slow” movement might seem a little bit frivolous. Don’t we need to sacrifice everything in order to deal with the enormity of the crisis at hand? Or is it that urgency itself is part of the problem? Join Charles and Eugene for a deep dive into a paradox that unlocks a new defining story of the people.
Plenary 3 — Thursday afternoon, June 5, 2014
Amit Sharma, Amy Johnquest: “The Free-co-system: Investing for personal and community wealth” — Through several interesting examples – globally, nationally and locally – this dialogue explores the organic nature of markets and communities. How might institutions and individuals consider their “investment” (in civic engagement, energy, and economics) to strengthen our collective resilience and achieve greater “wealth” for ourselves and our communities?
Plenary 4 — Friday morning, June 6, 2014
Martin Ping with Seamus Maynard, Jonathan Talbott and Jonah Thomas (Quiet in the Head): “Soil, Soul, and Society: A love story in three movements” — How can we navigate the paradoxical journey between our sense of urgency and our need to pause and reflect? How can we cultivate the fertile soil of a rich inner life? How can we foster meaningful relationships in family, work, and community? Based in large part on experiences gained at Hawthorne Valley over 30 years, we will explore these themes through words and music.
Plenary 5 — Friday afternoon, June 6, 2014
Linda McInerney and John Sheldon: “Arts, humor, love and story: Finding the creative connection” — Linda McInerney shares her process of creative collaboration and one of her projects, The Red Guitar, by John Sheldon, in which John shares the journey of his life through music. “The intent is to describe and enact a journey of the spirit, and to encourage others to find their own path and walk it.”
Breakout: No More Throwaway People — Friday afternoon, June 6, 2014
Edgar Cahn, founder of Time Banking, author of No More Throwaway People; Stephanie Rearick, Director of the Dane County, Wisconsin Time Bank, and Gwen Hallsmith, author, founder of Global Community Initiatives. Moderated by Linda Weil, former Time Bank coordinator
Imagine if we had a food system that actually produced wholesome food. Imagine if it produced that food in a way that restored the land. Imagine if we could eat every meal knowing these few simple things: What it is we’re eating. Where it came from. How it found its way to our table. And what it really cost. If that was the reality, then every meal would have the potential to be a perfect meal. We would not need to go hunting for our connection to our food and the web of life that produces it. We would no longer need any reminding that we eat by the grace of nature, not industry, and that what we’re eating is never anything more or less than the body of the world…. Imagine it: Every meal would connect us to the joy of living and the wonder of nature. Every meal would be like saying grace.Michael Pollan
Tug on anything at all and you’ll find it connected to everything else in the universe.John Muir
What is Slow Living?
The concept of Slow Living is built on the metaphor of “Slow,” as used by other visionary organizations like Slow Food and Slow Money.
“Slow” encompasses several layers of meaning that go beyond simply “sustainable.” Slow is the opposite of “fast” — fast food, fast money, fast living — and all of the negative consequences “fast” has had for the environment and for the health of people and societies. “Slow” embodies cooperation, respect, sustainability, gratitude and resilience.
When we Live Slow, we give back, we are mindful, and we connect to our communities and our bioregions.
The Slow Living Vision
The Slow Living Vision is of an Earth where humankind, honoring and celebrating the profound connectedness of all people, places and living beings, gives back by co-creating mutually supportive communities, bioregions and economic systems — and where we combine the wisdom of the past with a vision for the future to ensure a balanced, fulfilling way of life for all generations to come.
We come from all walks of life. We live in rural areas, small towns, and large cities. We are young and old, wealthy and struggling. We are all seeking a better way, a saner way, and a happier way to live and organize their lives.
We will come together in Brattleboro, Vermont, June 3-5, 2015.
Come and discover Brattleboro!
The 2014 Summit took place in the non-traditional conference surroundings of Main Street, Brattleboro — a small community in southern Vermont, long renowned for its commitment to healthy, local, sustainable living and technology, for its vibrant communities of visual and performance artists, craftspeople, poets and writers, and for the diversity of its shops, restaurants and galleries. In turn Brattleboro is a gateway to the Green Mountains and Vermont —
Strolling of the Heifers, the organizer of the Summit, is a non-profit organization based in Brattleboro, with the mission of supporting
and sustaining family farms and local food systems by connecting people with healthy local food. We do this through a variety of year-round programs. Best known is our annual Strolling of the Heifers Parade and Slow Living Expo, which takes place during “Stroll Weekend” immediately after the Summit. We also organize a Vermont Farm/Food Business Planning Competition, and we publish the annual Locavore Index ranking the 50 states in terms of their commitment to local food, and other projects and events.
Strolling of the Heifers, the organizer of the Summit, is a non-profit organization based in Brattleboro, with the mission of supporting and sustaining family farms and local food systems by connecting people with healthy local food. We do this through a variety of year-round programs. Best known is our annual Strolling of the Heifers Parade and Slow Living Expo, which takes place during “Stroll Weekend” immediately after the Summit. We also organize a Vermont Farm/Food Business Planning Competition, and we publish the annual Locavore Index ranking the 50 states in terms of their commitment to local food, and other projects and events.
In a major new initiative to further our mission, in November 2014 we acquired a prominently-located downtown Brattleboro building, the Robert H. Gibson River Garden (where Summit lunches and receptions take place), which has 4500 square foot of open space used since 2001 for public events, performances, lectures and exhibits. Under our stewardship of this community resource, we plan to maintain the public uses of the building, but also to create exhibits and programming that are related to our own focus areas of local food, food systems, and healthy sustainable living — a Farm/Food Education Center.