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Written by Bennett Thompson, Benjamin West, Elizabeth Vandenberg, and Joseph Malanson

We are students from Iowa City West High School, and Slow Food USA’s youngest members. Surrounded by the corn and soybean fields of southeast Iowa, we’ve all grown up in the spirit of agriculture, but with varying visions of what a farm should be. Over the past two years, our activities as a part of Slow Food have formed our understanding of sustainability and good food.

The first time I heard about Slow Food was September 2010, when I listened to chef Kurt Friese speak at his restaurant, Devotay. I asked him what high-schoolers like me could do to help the cause. He said it’s simple: start a Slow Food chapter at our school.

So, that’s what we did. We got in touch with Slow Food USA & through the Slow Food on Campus program, our fledgling club become a proper chapter — the first and only High School Chapter in the country. Just like that, the West High Slow Food Chapter was up and running — described to the rest of the student body as one part environmental, one part culinary club. At our first meeting we decided we wanted to do something big, something that would not only tell students, but show them how proper food should grow and taste. Naturally, the solution was to start a garden. To tell that story, I’ll pass it on to Benjamin, another West High Slow Food leader.
– Bennett Thompson, ‘12, West High School Slow Food (WHSF) Leader