Snapshot of Slow Food Nations 2018

The World Rallies for Food for Change Where the Rockies Meet the Plains

Slow Food Nations wrapped up this week after three days of flavor, culture and exploration. Our bellies are full and our hearts are too. As East met West and South met North, we saw the pieces of the global movement come together, weaving a rich tapestry of communities dedicated to Food for Change.

We are linked by our desire for change and by a commitment to be part of that change. The Taste Marketplace connected producers with consumers and hummed with conversation. The summits and workshops let people get hands-on with food and have interactions with experts. The open-air activities on Larimer Square invited kids to make food art or sing karaoke, got families to sit on a hay bales and listen to interviews with food leaders, and enticed foodies with cooking demos and stories about food.

We’re particularly grateful to the people of Denver for welcoming us warmly and providing the spirit and ground on which we have forged new connections and friendships.

By the numbers:





Total Events

Speakers and Chefs


Total Attendance

An incredible amount of compost and recycling was diverted from the landfill – so much so that it had to be compacted! We’ll be sharing our official Zero Waste successes shortly.

An Act of Love

During the late-night Chef Summit, Massimo Bottura said, “Cooking is an act of love. You can do that in your kitchen. Or for migrants and refugees. You just have to ask the right questions to the ingredients. ‘What you can do for me?’ We have to show this to the world. We have to make visible the invisible. If you don’t jump, if you don’t take risks, you’re never going to achieve anything.

If you don’t jump, if you don’t take risks,
you’re never going to achieve anything.

Rick Bayless added, “You can only start the conversation if the food on the plate is really good. Seduce them with flavor. What’s the taste of place in the United States? It actually reflects the present, which is influenced by immigrants’ cuisine. Sometimes the taste of place gives the real taste of the place right now.”

At the Slow Food Leader Summit, more than 300 food movement leaders sought inspiration for future ideas and experiences. Denisa Livingston, Slow Food International Indigenous Councilor, closed the summit with an address that brought the audience to its feet: “As Indigenous people, we are reclaiming and regaining our identity through our traditional healthy food. We are creating healing spaces and opportunities through our relationship with food and our culture. Our traditional food culture is a foundation of our health resilience. So we need to connect to our elders and tap into their healthy food knowledge… Don’t exist to make a living. Exist to make a difference.”

Our last event of the festival was the Zero Waste Family Meal, a chef collaboration using recovered food from the festival. Despite heavy rain, the event was amazing: a core team of twelve chefs, led by Chef Steven Satterfield, worked together throughout the festival to reimagine leftover mussels, peaches, and even donuts. They served up mushroom ragout over polenta, whipped marrow butter with radishes, Koji pulled pork, griddled Haloumi and squash confit, Anaheim rellenos with lamb sausage and Chef Satterfield’s Infamous Peach Crisp – just to name a few of the dishes that otherwise would have been wasted.

Slow Food exits strengthened from this experience, with stable alliances and strategic partnerships that will make future work more fruitful in North America and beyond.

“When Slow Food gathers with joy and justice, we gain a glimpse of how the world can be, will be,” says Richard McCarthy, executive director of Slow Food USA.


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