Students help start campus chapter of Slow Food USA

By University Communications
February 9, 2017
Officials with UW-Stout’s Slow Food USA chapter are, from left, Matthew Giguere, faculty adviser; Tessa Ladsten, secretary; Aaron Kester, marketing; Kristine McIntyre, president; Morgan Jarvi, co-treasurer; Sarah Studley, vice president; and Maggie Creel,

Photo: Officials with UW-Stout’s Slow Food USA chapter are, from left,
Matthew Giguere, Tessa Ladsten, Aaron Kester, Kristine McIntyre,
Morgan Jarvi, Sarah Studley, and Maggie Creel.

Slow Food USA, a national organization that promotes good, clean and fair food, has come to UW-Stout.

Dietetics students Kristine McIntyre, of Somerset, and Sarah Studley, of Austin, Minn., led an effort with faculty adviser Matt Giguere, School of Hospitality Leadership, to start the student chapter on campus. McIntyre is president of the chapter and Studley vice-president.

The club, which has 50 members, hosted several international food events in fall 2016, including helping organize the memorial dinner in November for Hussain Alnahdi of Saudi Arabia; an Ethiopian coffee event; a dinner with Indian cuisine; and a Thanksgiving eat-in.

International and cultural events are led by international students at UW-Stout.

Coming up, an international dinner on campus is planned for Tuesday, April 4. An outdoor dinner featuring local farmers is scheduled Monday, May 1.

“Slow Food UW-Stout is a chapter founded on the ideals of making good, clean and fair food accessible to our student population and the community,” Giguere said. “Students majoring in diverse degrees — hospitality, dietetics, sustainability, construction, art — are all converging toward this common goal. Sharing ideas and sharing food help us to understand our diverse foodways and simultaneously respect those of the food world at large."

McIntyre and Studley recently attended a global food conference, featuring 120 nations, the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto — Mother Earth Festival of Taste — in Turin, Italy, hosted by Slow Food International. McIntyre said the experience “taught me a lot about how food is interconnected with culture.”

“Both Sarah and I wanted to start Slow Food UW-Stout because we thought that Slow Food was an organization that incorporates all of these aspects to better our world’s food system. In addition, Slow Food has national and international affiliations, which open up more opportunities for students,” McIntyre said.

“There are a lot of organizations on campus that focus on single topics of food, such as nutrition, sustainability and culture, but there wasn't a single organization that brought all of those together,” McIntyre said.

The chapter is working on two projects. One is starting a campus farmers market. The other is building raised garden beds to grow seeds from the Ark of Taste, a catalog of endangered foods. The garden will have foods indigenous to the Midwest, Giguere said, and produce will be used for student-prepared meals at Corner III Café on campus.

Students also are advocating for more local and sustainable products in the campus student-run store. 

Slow Food USA has more than 150 chapters and 6,000 members. Slow Food International is in 160 countries.