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by Daniela Salazar Monárrez, 8th grader at Hillcrest Academy and Slow Food Club founder

Yesterday the Slow Food clubs of Van Avery Prep and Hillcrest Academy got together with the Slow Food USA president Joshua Viertel. Josh kindly came to Temecula to meet our two Slow Food clubs, which are the first middle school clubs in the country. We had prepared our questions and were armed with freshly picked lettuce, organic salad dressing, and lemonade made from school grown lemons. With tasty food and our questions ready to go, both schools felt comfortable for the arrival of our Slow Food celebrity.

Josh was tall. He was warm and friendly, greeting with a smile and handshake. All the members of both clubs got to shake his hand and listen to some information about the Slow Food Organization. The younger members got to ask a few questions, then the twelve chosen representatives went to the round table (which was really squared). The smaller group settled down and got ready to ask questions.

After an introduction by yours truly, the questions began. They ranged from personal specific things like “Do you have a garden?” to bigger more general things like “What would you change about food in the world, and why?” but each student got a chance to ask a question.

We learned about how he believes that the fact that some people don’t buy good food doesn’t mean they have bad morals. “… It says something bad about our society, that people don’t have enough money to buy good food for themselves,” he told us. We discovered that even Josh has bought fast food, when he was stuck at an airport, hungry, and had only fast food available. “No one is perfect,” he said “the main thing is how you act most of the time.” Josh explained his interest in slow food and how he believed in the concept before he heard about the organization.