The Glades to Coast Convivium covers all Broward north to and including central Palm Beach counties. Originally much of the area was Everglades or coastal wetlands, but it has been drained, first for agriculture, then for development. The advent of the railroad made it profitable to grow citrus and “winter” vegetables to ship to the northeastern. Agriculture became the biggest industry, followed closely by tourism. Now as we discover the folly of draining coastal wetlands and the Everglades, thousands of acres are being reclaimed for wetlands. At the same time, much of the agricultural land has been developed for homes and businesses. Thousands of acres of tomatoes, peppers, beans, corn, cucumbers and squash are still produced in this area and its surrounding counties, but it is difficult for consumers to find locally sold produce, since large farms which ship to the northeast are still more profitable. Of course, beginning with the earliest humans who inhabited the area, seafood has always been a critical component of the diet of local peoples. Overfishing and development’s effect on the maritime environment have increased challenges associated with seafood consumption.
Food preferences and choices are expanding as transplants of European heritage and their Caribbean neighbors are joined by large numbers of Hispanics from Central and South America and Asians from all countries. Large increases in the population in winter coincide with the growing season, opening possibilities for local marketing of produce. Although this area may be behind much of the country when it comes to locally produced food, we are certainly working to develop our own producers for our rapidly developing markets.
In the United States, members of Slow Food USA's 200 chapters celebrate the amazing bounty of food that is available and work to strengthen the connection between the food on our plates and the health of our planet. Our members are involved in activities such as:
- Raising public awareness, improving access and encouraging the enjoyment of foods that are local, seasonal and sustainably grown
- Promoting good stewardship of our area's resources from sea to grass
- Community outreach and working with children in schools and educational programs - Slow Food in Schools
- Identifying, promoting and protecting endangered fruits, vegetables, grains, animal breeds, wild foods and cooking traditions - Ark of Taste
- Advocating for farmers and artisans who grow, produce, market, prepare and serve wholesome food
- Recognizing the celebration of food as a cornerstone of pleasure, culture and community