slow session: spring gardening at josephine house, 3/29/2014

Date: Saturday, March 29th, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Location: Josephine House, 1601 Waterston Ave, Austin, TX 78703
RSVP: this a FREE event, but please RSVP by getting a ticket


Join us March 29th for an information session and Q&A with Liz Baloutine of Seedlings Gardening as she offers tips for spring gardeners and walks us through the newly planted gardens at Josephine House.

About Liz Baloutine & Seedlings Gardening

Seedlings Gardening has helped restaurant and homeowners create beautiful landscapes and vegetable gardens since 2009. Native Austinite Liz Baloutine started Seedlings because of her passion for local, sustainably grown, healthy food. Her past and present clients also include Elizabeth Street Café, Jeffrey’s, Olivia, and Spoon & Co.

About Slow Food Austin

Slow Food Austin is an all-volunteer 501(c)3 organization that reconnects people with the food they eat. One of more than 200 chapters across 150 countries, Slow Food Austin motivates people to make responsible choices within our food system through educational initiatives, social activities, fundraising events and community volunteer projects that inspire respect for where food comes from and awakens true pleasure in eating. For more info, visit

About Slow Sessions

Slow Sessions are educational events that are always free and open to the public. The goal is twofold: (1) to provide opportunities for Austinites to learn more about their food and where it comes from (2) to support local businesses whose values align with the Slow Food mission of good, clean and fair food for all.


slow session: chinese new year tea ceremony, 2/1/2014

Date: Saturday, February 1, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Location: In.gredients at 2610 Manor Rd, Austin, TX 78722
RSVP: Seating is limited so please RSVP by getting a ticket to guarantee yourself a tea cup and a seat
Fee: $0 – Slow Sessions are always FREE and open to the public.


Chinese New Year is just around the corner and to welcome in the Year of the Horse, Slow Food Austin will host Sohan Fan of the West China Tea Company to tell us about Chinese teas and about the farms from where they come. He’ll share one of his favorite aged black pu-erh teas to warm our bodies this winter as well as a white tea to elevate our spirits. Sohan will walk through the proper way to taste and steep Chinese tea while amusing us with the anecdotes of his trips to China and his efforts to responsibly source each product he imports.

Please join us for this complimentary event where you’ll sample some of the finest teas in the world, learn about the culture that produced them, and leave with your own Chinese teacup.

About Sohan Fan and the West China Tea Company
Sohan Fan is a native Texan who discovered his love for tea while an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz. After becoming thoroughly steeped in the Bay area tea culture, Sohan moved to Austin and worked for Jade Leaves Tea House. There he honed his skills and helped to give form to a budding tea culture in Austin. In 2010, Sohan relocated to China to work for the Chengdu Urban Rivers Association (CURA). His work with CURA led him to meet and work with many farmers in both Sichuan province and the neighboring Yunnan province where he grew to know and love many hard-working families that are making a traditional living using the same techniques their families have used for generations.

While in China, Sohan spent the majority of his free time exploring teahouses, shops and farms, allowing him to meet and learn about the people who grow, process, distribute, and sell tea and tea-wares. Sohan decided to brave the wilds of the importing business to bring his much loved tea to us from across China as a means to help support those farmers and further grow the tea culture in the United States and especially in his hometown of Austin, Texas. For more info, visit the West China Tea Company online and on Facebook.


slow session: canning prep and demo with kate payne, 4/24/2013

Date: Wednesday, April 24, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Location: Whole Foods Market at Arbor Trails, 4301 W William Cannon Dr #800 Austin, TX 78749
RSVP: Please RSVP to Chelsea Staires at to attend.
Fee: $0 – Slow Sessions are always FREE to attend. Donations are welcome.

Central Texas summer bounty will soon be upon us! At this Slow Session we’ll learn about what we need to do to prepare for canning and preserving this delicious outpouring of local produce while it lasts.

Kate Payne, author of The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking, will show us what to do with plants that are hearty producers and typical summer bounty in the Austin area like okra, eggplant, peppers, and more. She’ll demonstrate the process of canning and/or preserving to ensure bumper crops don’t go to waste and can be enjoyed for months into late summer, early fall, and beyond.

Slow Food Austin and Whole Foods will provide snacks and drinks.

More about Kate Payne of The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking:

Kate Payne is an author, grant writer, after-hours poet, occasional painter, committed doodler, drive-by trash collector, big-time procrastinator, tea, toast and jam obsessed Austinite. She collects old typewriters; some of them still work. She studied anthropology and sociology in the Sonoran Desert. She worked on a tomato farm once, and paper-mached gigantic thumbs once, too.

The creator of the Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking website and book, Kate is the go to girl for domestic advice–an expert on hip home tricks, thrift stores, flea markets, and Craigslist, and a frequent consultant for design, decorating, cooking, crafting, and urban living sites–as well as an instructor in canning and pickling classes here in Austin, TX.

slow session: panel discussion – fair trade in selecting and importing coffee, 3/27/2013

Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Location: The Buzz Mill, 1505 Town Creek Drive, Austin, Texas 78741
RSVP: Please RSVP to Chelsea Staires at if you’d like to attend.
Fee: $0 – Slow Sessions are always FREE to attend! Donations are welcome.

We’ve all heard the phrase “fair trade” tossed around. There is a certification on products that we look for It feels particularly important when we’re considering foods that have to be imported because they cannot be grown locally or regionally. But what exactly does it mean? What is involved in actually “fair trading” as a business that sources coffee?

At this Slow Session, we will hear from a panel of some of Austin’s finest coffee sourcers and roasters about purveying fair trade coffee. Led by Travis Kizer of Bootleg Coffee and The Buzz Mill, the panel will include Jess Haynie of Austin Coffee Roasters, Mauricio Bustamante of Bleu Cargo, and Jeffrey Lorien of Zhi Tea providing a complementary perspective.
Coffee samples provided by The Buzz Mill and food and drink provided by Slow Food Austin!

More about Bootleg Coffee and The Buzz Mill:
Bootleg Coffee is a celebratory ending in the long process of coffee production. By purchasing and roasting high-quality coffees that we would want to share with our friends and families, we make sure that the producers make a living wage, and those who enjoy a fresh-brewed cup get a full-flavor experience. We hope that reverence carries over to the first cup in the morning, or as something special to enjoy with good conversation.

Bootleg Coffee is a community of friends working together to share our love of coffee, and our love of two wheels. We bring a legacy of two decades of roasting experience, working with farmers, and navigating the sensory overload of the cupping room. We do it because we love it. We raise our mug to all of the work that happens before we roast it.

slow session: artisanal chocolate making, 2/27/2013

Date: Wednesday February 27, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Location: Clear Point Wellness, 2001 S. 1st Street, Austin, Texas 78704
RSVP: Please email Chelsea Staires at if you’d like to attend. RSVP not required but ideal.

Since it’s February, this month’s Slow Session is of course about chocolate!

Steve Lawrence comes to Austin by way of San Francisco and Baton Rouge. After years of working and studying under one of the finest chocolatiers in the Bay area and the country and then honing his craft in Louisiana, Steve brought his expertise in and passion for fine, artisanal chocolate making to Austin. Working in small batch quantities with the finest chocolate available from around the world, Steve crafts complex, flavorful, wonderfully delicious chocolate bars, truffles, caramels, and, soon, dessert sauces.

At this slow session, equipped with his fine chocolate-making equipment, Steve will teach us about the art of chocolate making from beginning to end, what is included in his process, how he sources and selects his chocolate, and how he chooses which chocolates to craft. And of course we will have samples! Slow Food Austin will provide appetizers, wine, and beer.

More about The Chocolate Makers Studio:

There is a pleasure that comes from chocolate like no other. It can be as complex or as simple as you please. Often you won’t know how it’s going to hit you until it does, hit you. Sometimes you need just a taste and sometimes you need to taste, and taste, and taste.

At The Chocolate Makers Studio we continually play with chocolate and the flavors that it can magically bring forward and surprise us with–be it a single chocolate all on its own (made from beans from Madagascar alone, for example) or in partnership with other complementary and often surprising flavors, from Rosemary Caramel to Browned Butter with Texas Pecans (where else would we get them?).

We use the finest chocolates available from Europe and the Americas to craft our chocolate offerings–selecting and blending them to bring forward the flavor profiles we think you’ll enjoy.

We’ve built a core, if you will, of chocolates that we can’t seem to go for very long without and we hope you can’t either.  We encourage you take an opportunity to try each and every one.

slow session: holiday cooking and baking traditions potluck, 11/14/2012

Date: Wednesday, November 14, 2012,  6:30 – 8:30 pm
Location: Clear Point Wellness, 2001 S. 1st Street, Austin, Texas 78704
RSVP: Not required but helpful. Please email Chelsea Staires at

In the US, and especially here in central Texas, there is perhaps no time more brimming with culinary tradition than the holidays.  If you’re like us, you look forward all year to this time of revisiting the foods that make you feel most at home. The  comforting sense of place and belonging that comes with preparing food that tastes and smells like home is one of the most powerful aspects of our individual cultural identity.

So, we want to know, what are your family and personal holiday cooking and baking traditions?  What is the dish that the holiday season or special meal just can’t exist without?  Use this Slow Session as the perfect excuse to whip up a batch of one of your favorites and then bring it on down to share, along with the story of your tradition and how you came to love it.

Please bring any dish, savory or sweet, that you would like to share.  Slow Food Austin will provide drink refreshments to accompany our delicious potluck dishes as well as disposable plates and utensils, but please bring your own plate and silverware if you can.

slow session: discussion with the city of austin’s sustainable food policy board, 10/10/2012

Date: Wednesday, October 10th, 2012, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Location: Palm Square Community Center, 100 N Interstate 35, #1000, Austin, TX 78701, Suite 1000
(The entrance to this conference room can be accessed from the north side of the building; however, all attendees will need to check in at the security desk which is located at the main entrance of the building facing IH-35.)
RSVP: Limited seating available!  Please email Chelsea Staires at

Did you know that the City of Austin, just a few years ago, commissioned an entire Sustainable Food Policy Board to advise City Council?  When I learned this, my immediate thoughts and questions were, “Wow, that’s awesome!! What do they do?  What are their top agenda items?  How can I help??”

The City’s website states: “[The Sustainable Food Policy Board is an] advisory body to the City Council and Travis County Commissioners’ Court concerning the need to improve the availability of safe, nutritious, locally, and sustainably-grown food at reasonable prices for all residents, particularly those in need, by coordinating the relevant activities of city government, as well as non-profit organizations, and food and farming businesses.”

Luckily for us, a few key members of the (all volunteer) panel are giving their time to talk with us about their work with the SFPB and give us the scoop, including current Board Chair, Paula McDermott.  At this Slow Session, we’ll talk about:

  • The SFPB commission formation
  • The SFPB mission
  • SFPB Operations, month to month happenings, roles of board members
  • Biggest challenges for the SFPB in completing goals
  • Top goals for 2012/2013
  • Strategic future plans for the SFPB
  • How we can support/volunteer for/advocate for the SFPB and help the City of Austin improve our food quality and sustainability

Slow Food Austin will provide appetizers and refreshments for the meeting.

More about the Sustainable Food Policy Board:

Check out these links to learn more before the Slow Session!

SFPB 2011 Report
SFPB Meeting Agendas

slow session: reducing waste in shopping and cooking with in.gredients

Date: Wednesday, September 19 2012, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Location: in.gredients packaging free grocery store, 2610 Manor Road Austin, TX 78722
RSVP: Please email Chelsea Staires at

Austin’s new in.gredients is the country’s first packaging-free grocery store.  Come learn about what low to no waste grocery shopping is and talk with us and the in.gredients staff about:

  • The in.gredients philosophy
  • How container-free grocery works
  • The in.gredients’ team’s approach to sourcing products from the local community
  • How to reduce waste while shopping and in the kitchen by being package-free

Enjoy the in.gredients grounds, gardens, and delicious beers on tap and tour the store to become familiar with package-free grocery shopping.

More About in.gredients:

Over 700,000 tons of garbage is placed in American landfills on a daily basis. Packaging makes up nearly 40 percent of that. Packaging waste is a big deal – especially when we’re consuming energy to produce, consume, and recycle things that aren’t always necessary. The way we do things now is damaging the environment at our own cost. That’s why we’re taking ourselves out of that loop altogether.

Our mission is to minimize waste and promote healthy, sustainable lifestyles by selling local food with pure ingredients, package-free. Our ethos are the core values we consider when making any decision about our store operations. Package-free and zero-waste are new frontiers in the grocery industry, so we’re pioneers in relatively uncharted territory. Because of this our ethos can’t be fully reflected by our business model, since local regulations, consumer demand, public perception, and the norms of the food industry are not aligned in pursuit of a common goal or always interested in sustainability. Nothing in.gredients does as a store, therefore, can be the perfect sustainable shopping option in your area – but we want to be the absolutely best option.

slow session: screening of farmaggedon with post-film discussion, 8/15/2012

Date: Wednesday, August 15, 2012, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Location: The RGK Center at the LBJ Library on the UT campus (parking info provided with RSVP)
RSVP: Please email Chelsea Staires at

Americans’ right to access fresh, healthy foods of their choice is under attack. Farmageddon tells the story of small, family farms that were providing safe, healthy foods to their communities and were forced to stop, sometimes through violent action, by agents of misguided government bureaucracies, and seeks to figure out why.

Join us in the refreshing air conditioning of the RGK center at UT’s LBJ Library to see one of the most important films highlighting the challenges facing America’s small farmers today, especially those producing raw milk.  Following the screening of FARMAGEDDON at this Slow Session, we’ll have an opportunity to discuss comments, concerns, ideas, and inspirations from the film.

Filmmaker Kristin Canty’s quest to find healthy food for her four children turned into an educational journey to discover why access to these foods was being threatened. What she found were policies that favor agribusiness and factory farms over small family-operated farms selling fresh foods to their communities. Instead of focusing on the source of food safety problems — most often the industrial food chain — policymakers and regulators implement and enforce solutions that target and often drive out of business small farms that have proven themselves more than capable of producing safe, healthy food, but buckle under the crushing weight of government regulations and excessive enforcement actions.

Farmageddon highlights the urgency of food freedom, encouraging farmers and consumers alike to take action to preserve individuals’ rights to access food of their choice and farmers’ rights to produce these foods safely and free from unreasonably burdensome regulations. The film serves to put policymakers and regulators on notice that there is a growing movement of people aware that their freedom to choose the foods they want is in danger, a movement that is taking action with its dollars and its voting power to protect and preserve the dwindling number of family farms that are struggling to survive.

slow session: summer curries, 6/20/2012

Date: Wednesday, June 20, 2012, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Location: Savory Spice Shop, 1201B West 6th Street, Austin, Texas 78703 (Free parking behind the building)
RSVP: Please email Melissa Borrell at

Spice up your summer with some tasty curries from around the world!  Come visit Savory Spice Shop on 6th Street and learn about spices from owner Karen Aboussie.  We will sample some amazing summer bites seasoned with spices from the shop and learn about how and where the spices grow as well as the history and cultural impact of spices from around the world.  This Slow Session will include:

–  A presentation about spices and their role in the historical and cultural development of different cuisines around the world
–  Discussion on different types of curries and how they are made and used
–  Recipes for making your own curries and dishes featuring curries
–  Learn about different spices and how they grow and in what parts of the world

We will feature light, flavorful curries perfect for a summer get-together. Sample savory Grilled Pinchitos with Yogurt Lime Dipping Sauce along with  Cambodian Lemongrass Chicken Curry, fragrant with green chile, lemongrass, ginger and Kaffir lime leaves. Accompanying the curries will be a Summer Fruit Chutney.

About Karen Aboussie and Savory Spice Shop:

Karen Aboussie has had a livelong passion for the amazing abilities of spices to transform a dish.  With a background in marketing, she left her corporate job to pursue her love and open up Savory Spice Shop.  She has traveled all around the world and visited plantations seeing firsthand where spices come from.