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Apr 6, 2021

Municipal Mondays

Meatless Monday is the ingenious strategy of the late, great Sid Lerner, to unlock the available triggers that change behavior. Redirect your diet, one day per week (towards vegetables and away from meat), and your actions positively affect the world. Together with Slow Food, we seek that desirable Venn diagram between pleasure and responsibility. It is truly a joy to work with the Slow Beans network in Italy. We are forging the Slow Beans trail — from Belluna Valley to Sicily. In China, we turn to the much-maligned wet markets to renegotiate shoppers' relationship to nearby vegetables; and throughout the canteens of the world, to make Monday a joyful celebration of traditional plant-based cooking.

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The Let It Bean strategy is bringing together Italy's mayors with nearby farmers, perhaps for the very first time. These light meetings turn to heavy topics rather quickly and surprisingly easily. With the pandemic, and the thirst for win-win policies to help emerge from these current crises, there is something to learn here. City mayors become advocates for rural farmers; and farmers find the language to advocate for the health of regional economies and ecologies through the shared love for the local beans. Let It Bean!

Learn more about this approach: 

Learn more about the municipal strategy in Italy: 

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Acerra Mayor Raffaele Lettieri shows his support for Meatless Monday.

  • Read about the Slow Food approach to Meatless Monday to promote the endangered communities of traditional bean agriculture and biodiversity;
  • Read about the Slow Beans network
  • Watch episodes of Let It Bean (in Italian): In each broadcast, we visit a different town. Confident that subnational points of entry are critical for climate-positive work to flourish, we meet the local farmers who defy the homogenizing logic of modernity and cultivate the old seeds, the old ways. Together with a local chef, who prepares an innovative meatless dish with the local bean, they sit down for soup and substance with the mayor. They discuss why it is important to celebrate and promote the emblematic bean, how its cultivation reduces use of water, regenerates the soil, and can replenish local pride and local health (especially if incorporated into the menu in canteens and into the agr-itourism strategies that will matter now more than ever — once the pandemic eases). 
    • Watch the film: Let it Bean! Il fagiolo badda di Polizzi Generosa incontratail suo sindaco (29 March 2021)
    • Watch the film: Let it Bean! Il fagiolo dente di morto di Acerra incontra il suo sindaco (1 March 2021)
    • Watch the film: Let it Bean! La roveja di Civita di Cascia incontra il suo sindaco (8 February 2021)
    • Watch the film: Let it Bean! Il fagiolo rosso di Lucca incontra il suo sindaco (14 December 2020)
    • Watch the film: Let it Bean! La piatella canavaseana di Cortereggio incontra il suo sindaco (7 December 2020)

Learn more about the wet market strategy in China:

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Beijing Design Week 2020 provided The Good Food Fund and Slow Food Great China with opportunities to bring biodiversity and plant-based diets front and center in the Wet Markets.

Creative partner — the Good Food Fund — led research and discussion about how to leverage China's beleaguered wet markets as pivotal institutions to promote local vegetable biodiversity during the Beijing Design Week (2020). Here, too, you may notice that the strategy is municipal. Engage with local administrations to identify subnational strategies to bolster civil society, change behavior, and invest in local food systems that link urban to rural. 

  • Read the Good Food Fund Newsletter for more details. The Monday Campaign's Peggy Neu contributed a chapter to the Wet Market Handbook about how to promote vegetables on Mondays; and I contributed a chapter on how to measure success in the market — most notably behavior change. 

The Let It Bean strategy is bringing together Italy's mayors with nearby farmers, perhaps for the very first time. These light meetings turn to heavy topics rather quickly and surprisingly easily. With the pandemic, and the thirst for win-win policies to help emerge from these current crises, there is something to learn here. City mayors become advocates for rural farmers; and farmers find the language to advocate for the health of regional economies and ecologies through the shared love for the local beans. Let It Bean!

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Municipal Mondays

Municipal Mondays

Italian farmers cultivate endangered beans — ones boarded onto the Slow Food Ark of Taste. They join forces with chefs to enlist local mayors to embrace Meatless Monday and the taste of place. In short, we must all Let It Bean. Though still in its infancy, this municipal strategy is beginning to bear fruit. 

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The unraveling of the industrial food system must be a key goal of a lasting food movement

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Marshall Plan II - Farming Next Rural Trade Relationships at The New School (online)

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