The South Is Alright, Y'all; Here's Another Good Thing

It's a very exciting time to be living in a small Southern city, I have to say.

Since I moved operations to my hometown of Columbia, SC last April, I've been repeatedly inspired by the commitment level of the local arts community, despite our politicians' best efforts to make the state look ridiculous on an international level.

And wow: the foodies, the locavores, the urban farmers -- it's all so cool! I love it.

I've had the pleasure of meeting a great many bright, quirky, truly interesting people through organizations like 701 Center for Contemporary Art, Slow Food Columbia, and the Nickelodeon Theatre, not to mention through my friend Anne, whose wildly successful local blog encourages the upper crust to shop local, eat local, and basically live like a hippie -- albeit in (local) designer dresses. (Brilliant, right?)

Progressive work is so desperately needed here (in order to balance out all those education + arts cuts, and the bigots, and the narrow-minded right wingers, and the...blah blah blah). You'd think any effort would just be a drop in the bucket.

But the impact of volunteer work is really magnified here in Columbia. It truly supports an exciting, vibrant, growing community of people who care! The volunteer efforts in this town make an enormous difference in the local cultural landscape, thus influencing public policy and even progressive legislative action. Which lord knows, we need.

That in mind, here's a lil dispatch on an event I'm co-planning later this month with Slow Food Columbia.

The food (including local Caw Caw Creek pastured pork shoulder) is going to be cooked offsite by Smoke Southern Barbecue Revival, a magical new lowcountry/Louisiana-style BBQ/oyster roast restaurant opened recently by my newfound pals Tom + Julie Hall. (That's a picture of their communal oyster-shucking area out back. I love Smoke. I especially loved their recent six-course wine dinner with James Beard award nominee Chef Christopher Hastings of Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, AL.)

Staff from a new local acoustic venue, The White Mule, is running the bar, and Tom Hall's locally famous bluegrass band, The Plowboys, are going to play live!

I'm also happy to report that all of the cups + utensils will be made of compostable corn resin instead of plastic -- which are regrettably impossible to find in any Columbia retail establishment I've contacted, so I'm ordering online. (UPDATE as of 2/15/10: Rosewood Market has transitioned their deli takeout containers to a compostable variety. They plan to accept them back here at the store for inclusion with our other compostable items.)

I'm also very thrilled about the location of the party -- it's local architect Robbie McClam's new sustainable urban farm, City Roots. (Maybe you read about it in The State or The Free Times?)

I was really excited to start volunteering last year with Columbia's chapter of Slow Food. As some of you know, I struggle with chronic repetitive strain injury from a past FT writing job, but I do what I can! You probably know this, but Slow Food is an international non-profit geared toward promoting "good, clean, and fair" food practices -- basically it's all about locally-grown and/or organic food, fair wages, environmentally conscious methods, and that sort of thing.

Rosewood Market, the All-Local Farmer's Market, Caw Caw Creek pastured pork, Anson Mills grits, and Columbia restaurants like Terra, Motor Supply Co., and Gervais & Vine epitomize the Slow Food movement here. 'Tis a lot of yummy going around, in general.

Here's the event flyer and ticket link, and if anyone needs reasons to relocate to the South (beyond the incredibly inexpensive, spacious Craftsman-style homes for one thing), hit me up!
p.s. My parents are AWESOME for already buying 5 tix to this event! Love you guys.
p.p.s. Terra Madre Day was back in December, but we are a lil sloooooooooooow down here so we're celebrating at the end of February, yo!


Celebrate Terra Madre Day at City Roots - 
Saturday, February 27, 2010
4 - 6 pm

Terra Madre Day Celebration at City Roots
Join Slow Food Columbia to Celebrate Local Food

Join Slow Food Columbia for a Barbeque Dinner to celebrate local, fair, sustainable food and raise awareness of the organization's mission. The dinner will be held at City Roots Farm, the much-anticipated new organic & sustainable urban farm in Rosewood near Owens Field.
The family-style meal will feature pulled pork BBQ made with pastured pork from Emile DeFelice's Caw Caw Creek farm. The buzzworthy new restaurant Smoke Southern Barbeque Revival will slow-cook the pork at their extensive outdoor kitchen in Blythewood. Vegetarians can dig into macaroni and cheese and all-veggie sides, also from Smoke. Smoke owner Tom Hall has enlisted his infamous local bluegrass band, The Plowboys, to perform at the event.
Come an hour or two early - and bring your family - to volunteer on the farm. The McClam family, owners and operators of City Roots, can always use some helping hands!
1005 Airport Boulevard
(Across the street from Owen's Field Airport & Park)
Columbia, SC 29205
February 27, 2010
Tickets will cover admission and a barbeque meal. A cash bar will provide beer, wine and soda. Tickets must be purchased in advance here.
Non-members: $15
Slow Food members: $10
Students: $5
Kids under 6: Free
Slow Food Columbia Sincerely Thanks Its Sponsors!

Caw Caw Creek
City Roots
Smoke Southern Barbeque Revival
The Plowboys

Slow Food Columbia
Slow Food Columbia online


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