It's going to take me more than just a few days to fully understand the effects and implications of the first Slow Food Nation, held in San Francisco over Labor Day weekend. The brain power on display was impressive enough: Wendell Berry, Vandana Shiva, Michael Pollan, Winona LaDuke, Carlo Petrini, Raj Patel, Eric Schlosser, and other luminaries took center stage at panels. Add to that the myriad of other events and mind-blowing food, and you get a truly unforgettable event for the thousands who attended.
Despite the multitude of free activities at Slow Food Nation, I heard in the weeks leading up to it that it was all too expensive and was further evidence of food snobs run amok. Yet during the event, the chief complaints I heard were that it was too crowded and that the events that did cost money were all sold out. So while accurate numbers on attendance are still being calculated, it was easy to see that attendance exceeded expectations, and that those who appreciated its worth outnumbered those who did not.