An Inspiring Conversation with Alice Waters

 We had an inspiring chat with the renowned chef, food activist and author Alice Waters. Get a sneak peak of Waters’ vision to win people over with taste at Slow Food Nations.

Slow Food: Why should people come and participate in Slow Food Nations? 

Alice Waters: We have really gotten sidetracked. We have to come back to our senses, back to the land. Taking care of the land is the most important value of all. How can we do that most efficiently? By eating with determination with every bite we take. By supporting those farmers, ranchers, fishermen. By using our buying power. We need to know where to shop and where to eat. Unfortunately, there’s so much greenwashing now.

It’s so hard to know what Slow Food is about by only reading the brochure. It’s food. It’s about winning people over by taste.

What I’ve been telling people is that Slow Food Nations won’t be anything if we don’t go, but it could be something really important if we do go. Maybe we’ll find new friends. We need to gather at this point in time. We have lost our way after the election. We need to steal back our strength. We’re trying to win people over through pleasure, to feed people and take care of them. To bring them back to their senses.

SF: You’re part of a session about gardens with Ron Finley and Kimbal Musk. What will you be talking about?

AW: We’re all about kids learning. All of us. My hope is that we can come together on something very purposeful. We’re all about learning by doing. 

SF: Tell us about the lunch for delegates. What will you be serving and what is your message?

AW: We need to feed every kid in this country a sustainable free school lunch. We need to make it an academic subject, to add it into the academic curriculum. When I started The Edible Schoolyard Project 22 years ago, I always imagined that the school lunch would be the centerpiece, where the values and aromas would wash over the kids as they came in from class. I think 85% of the kids in this country don’t eat a meal with their family. This means we are being educated by a fast food culture.

There will be a main focus on the Three Sisters, which will be included decoratively on the placemat. The Three Sisters make nutritious combinations. We plan to make corn tamale with squash in it. Also beans cooked over the fire. We’re thinking about getting everything organically grown around Denver.

SF: Let’s take a look at how you’ll serve the meal. What is the significance behind the delivery of a ‘family style’ lunch?

AW: We want kids to sit down and eat together. We’re stuck in such a fast food culture of ideas that is killing us and killing the planet. We have a chance to campaign to feed every kid in school for free. It touches every part of the food movement. If we can purchase directly from farmers, it would be incredible. We can educate kids in a profound way, to think about social justice and end child hunger. 

We’re going to serve in a way that will surprise people. Everyone will have a hand in the workshop. Together, you feel empowered. That’s a theme of Slow Food Nations: we all have a part to play. There’s all of these different groups doing amazing work. We need to find how to put these amazing ideas together. We need to be strategic, really strategic.


We’re trying to win people over through pleasure, to feed people and take care of them. To bring them back to their senses.


Alice Waters is the owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California. She has been a fervent activist of local sustainable agriculture for over four decades, receiving several honors. Alice is also the author of fifteen books, including New York Times bestsellers The Art of Simple Food I & II and The Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea. She currently serves as Vice President of Slow Food International.

Meet Alice at Slow Food Nations

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Gardens Galore

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Schools, property developers, and urban planners have been reinventing the vegetable garden. But does it really have an impact? Learn how Alice Waters, Ron Finley, and Kimbal Musk define the garden revolution, and what they’re doing to get the rest of America to join them. Christine Muhlke of Bon Appetit magazine leads the discussion about

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School Lunch as an Academic Subject with Alice Waters

July 14, 2017, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

Alice Waters is chef, author and founder of the original farm-to-table restaurant, Chez Panisse. In 1986 in Paris, she joined others to sign the Slow Food Manifesto. A consistent advocate for what she describes as “edible education,” her Edible Schoolyard Network has helped to transform school culture, federal policy, and even the establishment of the

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