While the internet may be the preferred method of getting quick information these days, it can’t replace a good book and a knowledgeable neighbor to help a person with a challenging garden project, a green building design, or a new business. In the spirit of community and sharing the new Slow Food in the Teton’s Outreach Center, Sustainability Library and Kitchen Exchange is set to open its doors to the public on Tuesday, June 21. Partially funded by a grant from the Targhee Protect Our Winters fund and underwritten by a handful of local businesses who share the non-profit’s vision of a vibrant and diverse local food community, the group hopes the Outreach Center will be a great community resource for folks who want to look into starting a food business, improve their gardening skills, become a better parent, or find inspiration to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Of course many of the books have a food focus, and in addition to the obvious popular titles like Jane Goodall’s Harvest for Hope and Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle there are many obscure and fun titles like French Women Don’t Get Fat and Candy Freak. Cookbooks are generally aimed at natural, local, or traditional foods with titles like The Herb Farm Cookbook, Rocky Mountain Wild Foods, and Monet’s Table. And there’s a whole shelf on dedicated to cheesemaking, as well as a number of books on canning and preserving.
There are a wide variety of gardening and animal husbandry books and quite a few titles that are specific to this area. Some are simply picture books full of flowers, while others offer major inspiration like Solviva: How to Grow $500,000 on One Acre and Peace on Earth. The Ecology, Environment and Land Use section houses a number of old classic titles like Small is Beautiful by E. F. Schumacher to the new Getting Green Done by Auden Schendler. For folks hoping to start a business there are both technical–like Keeping the Books–and non-technical titles–like Yvon Chouinard’s Let My People Go Surfing. There are also growing files with information on Idaho and Wyoming regulations and resources for food businesses. A dozen green building books are also available, but more are needed. Two smaller categories include “Inspiration” with a bunch of Malcolm Gladwell books like Blink, Outliers, and the Tipping Point, as well as I Slowness, Three Cups of Tea, and a small but relevant parenting section, and a handful of kids books and activities.
The kitchen exchange is a selection of specialty food preparation items collected for folks to give a new gadget a try before investing in it, and making sure stuff doesn’t just sit around in a cupboard somewhere. There are three handmade pasta makers, one electric, a couple of meat grinders, a high quality food dehydrators, a canning and preserving set up, a couple of gourmet ice cream makers, yogurt makers, and a few good juicers. “Yea, there is a chance that some of the equipment will suffer some wear and tear, but it’s better than it sitting unused in many pantries,” says Slow Food board president Sue Muncaster. “Our hope is that a family could come in, pick up a cookbook and a gadget to try, and go home and spend time making something new–and what better time than summer to do it!”
The majority of books have been loaned by community members Sue Muncaster, Christian Santelices, Tye Tilt, Blaire Kribs, and Ross Kamens. The Slow Food board is a diverse group who can consult on many aspects of local food production, distribution, composting, and restaurant management. “My dream is that someone comes in the door with a dream who needs help, and we can give them some resources and advice to get their project off the ground,” says Muncaster.
Hours for the Outreach Center will be Tuesday and Thursday mornings 10-1 throughout the summer, during the Driggs Farmer’s Market and other downtown Driggs events and by appointment just about any time. It will also be open during downtown Driggs events. Look for the Follow the Snail sandwich board that will be It’s located at 85 South Main in Driggs across from the Post Office. Slow Food is asking for a $25 yearly family membership as a contribution (but anyone in financial need shouldn’t be dissuaded). Some of the bigger kitchen equipment has an additional use fee. Community support throughout the summer through participation and financial donations during Tin Cup and other events will determine the future of the Outreach Center.
A full, searchable list of resources available at the Outreach Center can be found at www.librarything.com/profile/tetonslowfood where the collection can be viewed or searched by tags, complete with ratings. Donations or loans to the library and kitchen exchange are welcome as long as they fit our categories.