Slow food bloggers, Where art thou?

28 05 2010

Here at Extanz, we’ve cataloged thousands of food blogs and even contributed to a few ourselves. This particular sector of the blogging world is quite trendy – focusing on the hottest ingredients, techniques, restaurants etc. However, food bloggers seem to passing over an important trend (one even the First Lady is on board with) – that of eating locally & sustainably.

I’m a skier, but I’m also a foodie and an environmentalist. I cooked in high-end restaurants for years and love to experiment in my kitchen, my degree is in environmental policy, I eat organic/natural/free-range/grass-fed as much as I can (aka pay more than I can really afford). I also try to eat local – this proves slightly challenging in the winter given my location in Colorado and distaste for most root vegetables … but I do try. I’m much better at reading food blogs!

With all those food blogs out there and the growing popularity of the slow food (a movement with origins in Italy that emphasizes the importance of ‘good, clean and fair food’), local food and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) movements, you’d think there’d be quite a bit of related chatter on food blogs, right? Eating sustainably and healthy is a hot topic – Michelle Obama’s on to it, there’s books on it, been to a Whole Foods lately? It also produces far superior ingredients that should cause all us foodies to rejoice. I delved into the blogosphere to see which of these movements (if any) are trendy with the foodie bloggers. Here’s a snapshot of what I found (not quite the cornucopia I was looking for, btw):

  1. Of the thousands of blogs by influential food bloggers over the last 6 months, only 120 blogposts focus on slow food, local food or CSAs. Huh. I guess the mainstream food bloggers are still focusing on perfecting that bouillabaisse or the next big thing after cupcakes, rather than sourcing food locally and using the unique and fresh ingredients you get by doing so.
  2. While we hear about the slow food movement far more often than CSAs or local food across other mediums, the influencers in the blogosphere who are focusing on these 3 topics seem to be focusing more on the fundamentals of eating sustainably, namely CSAs and local food. A general Google search of the terms “slow food” and “Community Supported Agriculture” returns roughly the same number of results (~2.1 million). Of the entire food blogging community we’ve catalogued and are monitoring, the top 100 influencers have written about slow food 20 times in the last 6 months compared to 48 entries on CSAs and 52 conversations about local food.

So … who is talking about eating sustainably? Here are the top 3 blogs to follow for all things local, CSA-related, and slow food:

  1. Serious Eats: I ended up on this site last week while looking for a classic slice in NYC … little did I know it was the mecca for local food blogs. The three blogs below rank highest for our search terms, but peruse the entire site to satisfy your craving for slow food news.
    1. Carson Poole’s series on Meet Your Farmer and Meet Your Forager epitomizes influential bloggers focusing on local producers who feed the slow food movement.
    2. Caroline Cope of Umami Girl joins Serious Eats once a week for her Crisper Whisperer blog where she offers ideas for preparing your abundance of fruits and vegetables from your CSA or farmer’s market.
    3. Street Food Profiles travels around the country (and sometimes crosses borders) to feature local street food vendors where you can watch your food being made.
  2. SlashFood’s writers could independently support a CSA with the amount of CSA-sourced produce they’re cooking with.
  3. The Leftover Queen chronicles her efforts to use up her leftovers and healthy eating while focusing on sustainability, traditional foods, and seasonal eating.

Any ideas on why food bloggers are neglecting the sustainable eating movement when it provides them with some of the best food out there? I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, check out your farmer’s market this weekend to join the movement!

Katie

P.S. While writing this, a snapping turtle emerged from the woods for the first time this Spring which provided an appropriate photo for a slow food conversation … the slow part, not the food part.

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6 responses

28 05 2010
Tammy McLeod

I’m fairly new to blogging but since I hang out in the CSA space, I’m surprised at your feeling that there aren’t many blogs talking about CSA. I haven’t counted but have really tried to read and comment on those who are doing it in order to support them. Thanks for the links to these others also.

1 06 2010
Katie Van Sant

Hi Tammy,
You’re right – there is a fair amount of chatter out there about CSAs, but we’re not seeing much of that conversation occurring by the highly influential food bloggers. We looked at food bloggers talking about CSAs and local food rather than the food producers to get an idea of the amount of “end-users” interested in or committed to the concept. Looks like you’ve got great things going – keep up the good work!
Katie

1 06 2010
Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen

Thanks for mentioning The Leftover Queen, Katie! I agree it is a very important topic that food bloggers should be talking more about! Thanks again for the shout out!

2 06 2010
Katie Van Sant

Hi Jenn – well done with your blog – there’s lots of great stuff on there! What are your favorite local/sustainable food blogs to follow?

1 06 2010
Diana@Spain in Iowa

Hi Katie,

This is a great topic and one near and dear to my heart. I blog about sustainable slow food including urban homesteading which encompasses organic gardening, raising backyard chickens, canning and preserving. There’s actually quite a movement online of food bloggers blogging about Real Food. You can actually find a list on a network called The Real Food Media Network which I am very excited to be a part of. http://www.realfoodmedia.com. From the likes of Nourished Kitchen, Cheeseslave, and Kelly the Kitchen Kop. Another one of my favorite sites sustainableeats.com. Annette, like myself, blogs about urban homesteading including edible landscapes. Also, http://deliciouslyorganic.blogspot.com/. Really, it’s finding a few blogs and a whole world of sustainable eating, growing, and raising will open up to you. Unfortunately, it hasn’t become as popular as some of the blogs we are all familiar with… but… we’re getting there!! As Jami Oliver’s food revolution has awakened eyes, more and more people are eager to start learning about the realities of our food system and what they can do to start being more in control of what they are eating.

Thanks for raising awareness and being an advocate for real food!!

2 06 2010
Katie Van Sant

Hi Diana, Thanks for mentioning those blogs. I’ll review our master list for them to confirm we’re tracking them and check out their rank as influencers. These folks are doing some great things!

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