By Makiah Josephson, Slow Food USA Communications Coordinator
In celebration of our year-long Plant a Seed campaign last year, chapters from all six regions teamed up with chefs and created unique events in October, November and December celebrating and sharing stories of the beans from the 2022 Plant a Seed kit. Sit-down dinners, street fairs and soup fundraisers highlighted beans to mark the end of the campaign in style. From the East Coast to the West Coast, these bean celebrations were too much fun to miss. “The regional Bean Suppers were such a fun way to have chapters and groups engage with a national campaign! I loved how each supper was a perfect expression of that region’s Slow Food focus, be it celebration of the Ark of Taste, school gardens or community gatherings, they really highlighted how uniquely each chapter in our network approaches the good, clean and fair work that we all do,” stated Slow Food USA Director of Programs Mara Welton.
Slow Food East Bay went all out and shut down 5th Street between Camellia and Gilman for their afternoon event called “Fall Bean Feed.” Attendees explored the world of heirloom beans through the cultural food lens of six East Bay chefs. The successful event featured all six beans from the 2022 Plant a Seed kit: Santa Maria Pinquito, Rockwell, Four Corners Gold, Cherokee Trail of Tears, Arikara Yellow and Hank’s Xtra Special Baking Bean. Fun activities like bean trivia and bean bag toss were great additions to the celebration. Not only did people enjoy the beans, but they also indulged in wine from the chapter’s partners Hammerling Wines, Donkey & Goat Winery and Broc Cellars.
Slow Food Chicago, Soup & Bread, and North Lawndale’s preSERVE Garden hosted an evening eating and celebrating heirloom beans in December at event and coworking space Guild Row. Around one hundred attendees enjoyed a variety of soups showcasing the biodiversity of beans. Every soup was prepared by Kendall College culinary students and the bread was donated by Middlebrow. Guest chefs Abra Berens, Alexander Roman and Margaret Pak contributed the recipes for the soups and shared their expertise on all things beans. The preparations of beans along with the cooking and nutritional value were hot topics that led to discussions about beans through a cultural, ecological and culinary lens. Sarah Faddah from the podcast 77 Flavors of Chicago moderated the interesting panel discussion.
Slow Food Portland cleverly named their December bean supper “How Have You Bean?” The event was a collaboration among Wellspent Market, Slow Food PDX and La Merenda Farm. Attendees had the opportunity to connect with bean farmers, learn from bean researchers, stock up on beans for the long winter, and sample bean dishes. It was a unique celebration of all things beans!
The Slow Beans Supper in Seattle celebrated legumes, beans and pulses. Slow Food Seattle was thrilled to have Patricia Lovejoy as the event’s keynote speaker. She is the co-owner of Garden Treasures Farm/Nursery and shared her experiences growing over twenty varieties of sustainable legumes. The supper was held at the Seattle Culinary Academy and led by Slow Food Cooks’ Alliance Leadership Committee Leader and Chef Instructor Kären Jurgensen.
Slow Food Phoenix planned a lovely afternoon called ‘Let’s Legume!’ with plenty of food, drinks and fun. Guests were hosted at Maya’s Farm and learned about the Native legumes of Arizona and the Southwest. The event was playfully named ‘Let’s Legume!’ The food and drinks were provided by multiple partners including Ramona Farms, Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company and Desert Wheat.
The Bean Supper at New York’s Glynwood Center was a charming evening featuring Chef Zoe Adjonyoh. The delicious Ghanaian food served during the event highlighted Hank’s Xtra Special Beans, a Plant a Seed 2022 Selection. “The dishes were all fabulous! The family style of serving the dishes at the large tables had us excited to prepare our own plates as we passed around the generous platters. It was a unique community event celebrating local food, culinary tradition, neighbors with similar interests, and closeness to the history of food and farming in the Hudson Valley,” mentioned National Board-Certified Health Coach Tatiana Kaletsch.
In celebration of World Food Day, Slow Food DC and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Liaison Office for North America hosted an October bean supper to highlight the culinary, social, environmental and economic value of beans. The event was held at Equinox Restaurant and featured delicious recipes from Chef Todd Gray showcasing a rare cast of biodiverse beans seeds from different regions in the United States.
The 2023 Plant a Seed kit is mere weeks away from being released! Sign up for our newsletter to make sure you hear about this year’s theme and can order a kit as soon as they’re available.