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A few recent stories got us thinking about this question of bedfellows. Can fast food be slow if it’s sourced locally and made with quality ingredients? Can a small producer sell itself to a corporate food giant and maintain its integrity?

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the latest small food company to hop into bed with big business, and wonders if they are deluded in thinking that further distribution and a larger market share will be a good thing (and not a harbinger of doom). Honest Tea has given Coca Cola 40% of its shares, joining the ranks of Stonyfield Yogurt, Ben and Jerry’s , etc.–small alternative companies, known for quality ingredients, who sold themselves to big business. We’ve shown graphics like this one before, but here’s another one to throw into the mix: last month’s NY Times offered this look at how small organic businesses get “gobbled up by big food.”

And what about this question of fast food being slow? Possible? Last month came reports that the Chipotle burrito chain (which already uses Niman Ranch pork products) was going to source local Polyface farm products for its Virginia-area stores. Ode magazine’s April issue has the following cover: “Eat a burger, SAVE THE WORLD. Why the “new” fast food is good for you (and the planet).” It covers chains such as Chipotle, Burgerville and Seller’s Markets, and explores the notion of fast food that can be good for you. Is it still “fast?” Does it count as “slow ” now…?