Slow Food UW is driven by the dedication of UW students volunteering to help promote “good, clean and fair food for all”, and depends on both the campus and Madison communities to create dialogues and bridge cultural differences by using food as a universal experience. We work hard to make local, community-conscious foods accessible and delicious!
Slow Food UW is a campus chapter of the international Slow Food movement promoting “good, clean and fair food for all”.
Slow Food was founded in Italy in 1989 by Carlo Petrini to combat the rise of “fast food” and reconnect people to traditional, regional cuisine. Over the years, the organization has evolved to showcase the connections between food, culture, politics and environment. As is stated in the Slow Food Manifesto, “Slow Food assures us of a better quality lifestyle. With a snail purposely chosen as its patron and symbol, it is an idea and a way of life that needs much sure but steady support.” One of the first, Slow Food UW was founded in 2007 by Genya Erling as a way to bring local foods from Southern Wisconsin farmers to the campus. The small group of students who spent their days cooking and enjoying local food together are the pioneers of our current organization.
Today, Slow Food UW runs five projects with 42 student interns, with help from our dedicated volunteers and supportive community members. Check out our projects page to learn more! All the interns involved want to share their stories behind the food that nourishes their life through a variety of activities. The different projects are all focused on working with food as a vehicle for social change and as a way to build a stronger community. The students work to promote cultural, environmental and economic aspects of food. Beyond SFUW the greater ideals of Slow Food are to working against all things that are associated with fast food while looking to develop good, clean, fair food for all that is at a reasonable and affordable price. We encourage you to explore this site and find whatever area you are most passionate about. The best way to learn about our organization is through volunteer work. Join whichever project sounds interesting to you and sample the good, clean, fair food. Many of the Slow Food UW events are held at The Crossing, on the corner of (1127) University and Charter street at the heart of the University of Wisconsin campus. The kitchen and dining hall of SFUW events are found in the lower level of The Crossing and parking is always limited. We open our doors to all interested and even though our events reside in a campus ministry we are in no way religiously affiliated with The Crossing.
Our mission is to promote affordable access to good, clean, and fair food by engaging our community in a food system that is socially, economically, and environmentally just.
- Develop a deeper understanding amongst the community of the Slow Food movement’s core values.
- Connect future generations with a positive food experience.
- Create a safe, inclusive, and anti-oppressive space where each person is free to connect with their food, themselves, and the community in a way that they need.
- Provide food options that nourish a variety of dietary needs.
- Present food as a transformative and interconnected process instead of a mere commodity.
- Build and strengthen relationships with student and community organizations.
- Foster relationships with food producers who are aligned with our mission.
- Create and maintain a leadership structure that is accountable and responsible to those involved in our organization as a whole and to the slow food community at large.
- Provide an alternative educational space where people can develop consciousness and build life skills.
- Further encourage engagement in our community through development and integration of our membership program.
A rare moment of silence fills the basement of The Crossing each Monday night as the dinner menu is announced to the hungry campus and community members gathered to share a three-course meal. Slow Food UW collaborates with featured guests to host the $5 dinner that showcases different cuisines and the versatility of homegrown Wisconsin foods.
We began Family Dinner Night by having monthly events where we all shared the cost of ingredients, cooked as a group and expanding with introducing guest chefs from Madison’s restaurants. The meals created were then shared with the guest and community members in attendance. By the spring of 2009, we began serving every other Monday, and in the Fall of 2009 we began serving dinner weekly. Today we serve the Monday night dinner each week during the school year and have a cut off around 100 people. The Slow Food UW list serve sends out a Square sign-up, which is used as a way for people to sign up and prepay. We also accept walk-ins on an available capacity basis. If you wish to be added to the list serve, please let us know via our contact page.
Join us at 1127 University Avenue (and Charter) every Monday at 6:30pm. Walk in at 6:15 for the $5 dinner or pre-order to reserve your spot HERE.
Anyone is welcome to come and help set up, cook and break down. The first three people to sign up for clean up will be reimbursed for their meal. We also encourage anyone to become a guest chef. The Family Dinner Night interns work with student organizations, local Madison chefs, students, staff and faculty to provide a different experience each week.
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in becoming a guest chef.
Visit us on Wednesdays, from 11:30-2, to check out the seasonal menu of the week! You can count on a selection of sandwiches, salads, soups and desserts crafted with local ingredients from a featured farmer.
The SFUW Cafe is a student run, not for profit weekly cafe held every Wednesday from 11:30-2pm at the Crossing, 1127 University Avenue. We operate at the caliber of any other food establishment while having limited hours. We strive to offer locally sourced, sustainable food on the University of Wisconsin Madison campus for very affordable and transparent prices. Meals typically cost between $5 and $8.
The SFUW Cafe was born Spring of 2011 and stemmed from the Family Dinner Nights. We wanted to work as a collective and offer unique lunches to the Madison campus and community. Our goal is for customers and volunteers to learn about the people and places we get our food from and to discover the positive community impact of a cafe where students prepare fresh food using ingredients from farmers in south central Wisconsin.
Since we are student run and function as a non-profit we are always looking for volunteers to help with Tuesday prep and Wednesday service. If you are interested email cafe director Claire Jones at email@example.com.
UW Residence Hall Kitchens, Redamte Coffee Shop and the Crossing come alive with the gathering of UW Students and Outreach Interns. Designed to reach the the greater UW-Madison Student Body, our Outreach Projects incorporate cooking lessons and social issues into 3 separate workshops at minimal cost to participants.
The Outreach Project seeks to connect Slow Food UW with the greater UW community to increase education and engagement with a community-based food system and culture. This mission is upheld through the collaborative efforts between university and community members and organizations in hosting workshops, discussions, lectures, and outings. We work to re-establish farm to university connections, educate on the cultural importance of cooking and eating, and create opportunities for greater involvement in Slow Food UW.
Current outreach projects:
Recipes for Change
Recipes for Change is a collaboration between Slow Food UW and Redamte Coffee House. Each month, interns reach out to UW student organizations and community partners to plan a dinner and documentary event that creates a platform for new dialogues about the community and environment.
The Cook-to-Connect project aims to promote and preserve the culture of cooking on the UW-Madison campus. Cook-to-Connect interns work to coordinate cooking workshops for beginning at-home cooks and host workshops with community partners to teach artisanal cooking methods for more advanced cooks.
The Dormant Chef
The Dormant Chef project seeks to promote awareness to concerns in the food system, while engaging dorm residences in How Tos for cooking healthy, affordable meals in dorm spaces. Interns reach out to different dorm communities to plan cooking classes for their residents. Cooking classes are compatible with the facilities available and unique to each dorm. The classes aim to emphasize the importance of cooking as a means of supporting better heath and the culture surrounding food.
A bag of locally sourced food travels off campus and becomes a tasty, kid-friendly meal with the dedication of youth at the Boys and Girls Club. Students and Alumni of the UW Odyssey Project, along with their families, share a monthly meal that highlights favorite recipes with a local twist. Slow Food UW is grateful to partner with many establishments, organizations and individuals in South Madison to run cooking workshops, garden clubs and family-friendly events!
Since 2008, Slow Food UW interns have been regulars at the South Madison Farmers Market, encouraging students to trek down South Park Street to meet local farmers, try out some of Madison’s best produce, and visit the restaurants and businesses along the way. This campus-community partnership promotes a “two-way street” of information and resource sharing between UW-Madison and South Madison, cultivating a greater sense of community within all participants.
Beginning at the South Madison Farmers’ Market, we asked market manager Robert Pierce, “What can Slow Food UW do to help you?” Robert immediately asked us to engage the youth and teach them how to cook. From there, we can reach their families, and continue to aid pre-existing organizations and community-led efforts in purchasing and preparing South Madison-grown food. In the coming years, perhaps food sovereignty will no longer be a privilege, but a realizable and affordable right to the community.
SFUW’s support of the community can come in many ways, beginning with regular purchasing from the South Madison Farmers’ Market and with student activism and volunteerism in pre-existing community organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club or after-school science programs, to name a few. If you’re interested in learning more about the urban agricultural initiatives in the diverse communities just south of campus, join our efforts and shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This semester we’re proud to continue our partnership with the Growing Power Market Baskets program. Growing Power is a nonprofit organization based out of Milwaukee that works to provide high-quality, safe, healthy, and affordable food to all members of the community. Their market basket program consists of weekly deliveries of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The majority of the produce typically comes from Growing Power’s Wisconsin farms, The Rainbow Farmer’s Cooperative, or small-scale wholesalers. The types of fruits and vegetables vary each week based on seasonal availability. For a list of what you might expect, click here.
We currently offer three options of baskets to order:
- The Regular Market Basket ($18) is intended to feed 2-4 people for a week.
- The Half Size ($10) has the same types of fruits and veggies as the Regular, but in smaller quantities.
- The Sustainable Basket ($28) feeds a family of 4 for a week, and contains variety of organic and sustainably-grown produce from Rainbow Farmer’s Co-op and other sustainable growers.
Teen Cooking Night
During our weekly Teen Cooking Night at the Allied Boys and Girls Club, SFUW interns lead teens in preparing a fun dinner. Rather than a formal, structured cooking class, TCN allows the kids to be creative with cooking and engage in a two-way learning process. Nothing ever goes quite as planned, but it’s always a good time and good food.
The Family Voices program is an outreach program that was created by the UW School of Human Ecology in This project partners with organizations such as University Housing, the South Metropolitan Planning Council, and the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County to engage families and community members in projects related to education, housing, foods, parenting, and South Madison planning. Family Voices runs a Saturday morning tutoring program that engages students and parents, enhances the students’ achievement in school, and develops more positive relationships between families and schools. Slow Food UW has partnered with the Saturday morning tutoring program to provide food for the tutors, parents, and kids. The cooking program allows students to have a break from their tutoring sessions while learning more about cooking and South Madison farmers. In addition, it provides everyone with a healthy and fun meal.
SFUW runs afterschool garden programs at both Dane County Boys and Girls Club locations. During the growing season, our garden interns engage with children in learning about soil and plants and growing food in our outdoor gardens. When it’s too chilly outside, we move inside to the kitchen for cooking activities, and the kids also participate in indoor science activities related to gardening.
Our WID Snacks program involves providing snacks for elementary and middle school students from the Boys and Girls Club and the PEOPLE program participating in the Afterschool Expeditions program at the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery. We introduce the kids to new, fun, homemade snacks using fresh and local produce whenever possible.
The Odyssey Project
For SFUW’s newest project, we teamed up with the Odyssey Project, a UW humanities program for adult students facing economic barriers to college. Slow Food UW helps to organize and prepare monthly dinners for Odyssey Project students and alumni in order to spur further collaboration between graduates of the program and to foster discussions around food justice.
Eat with us! We always welcome volunteers in the kitchen and at any of the events we help out with. Whether you’re a well versed foodie, an avid gardener, new to the movement or just hungry for fresh, affordable meals, we would love to hear your story.
Family Dinner Night
Family Dinner Nights are held at the Crossing every Monday at 6:30 p.m. We’re always looking for volunteers to help set up, cook, and clean up. The first three people to sign up for clean up will be reimbursed for their meal. Check out the FDN page for information on becoming a guest chef or email email@example.com to volunteer.
Slow Food Cafe sells lunch to the public every Wednesday from 11:30-2pm. Volunteers deliver food to customers or help serve drinks. Volunteers also receive a complimentary Cafe entree after volunteering for +1.5 hours. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.
Family Voices is a mentoring program for kids around the ages of 7-14 that takes place at the Boys and Girls Club every Saturday. Volunteers leave for the Boys and Girls Club at 9:45am (transportation can usually be arranged…) to begin the cooking. Family Voices participants come into the kitchen to help sporadically throughout the morning, and everyone eats together (including volunteers) at 12:00pm. After clean up, arrival back on campus is usually around 1:15pm.
SIGN UP HERE
Teen Cooking Night with the Boys and Girls Club
Teen cooking night at the Boys and Girls Club is a great way to spend some time off campus cooking and working with some really cool kids. We head out from The Crossing around 5:30 pm on Wednesdays, start cooking around 6:00 and usually make it back to campus around 8:00.
SIGN UP HERE
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