Slow Food is “Activism with food at its core” according to Slow Food USA the American arm of a world wide movement started by Carlo Petrini in 1986. He organized a protest against the opening of Rome’s first McDonalds and that small gesture has led to an international movement. In 1989 Slow Food International became a formal worldwide non-profit with convivia or local chapters all over the world. Promotion of the fairness to those working in agri or aqua culture is at the heart of Slow Foods goals as well as preserving local culture through its food. Each convivia acts independently to promote local and traditional clean and sustainable agra and aqua culture. This happens through education, tastings and support of local food and working with local businesses and governments. All 1000 plus convivia worldwide are working together to “develop a food system of high quality, environmental sustainability and social justice” says Patrick Martin on the Slow Food USA website.
Slow Food International teams up with everyone from the smallest local producer to programs they co-sponsor with the United Nations. Programs vary from biodiversity of food education to healthier school lunch programs. Some activities as varied as the reintroduction of endangered foods, education about the efficiency of micro-farming and sponsoring tastings of traditional foods serve as a means of preserving local gastromic traditions. School gardens have been started to reintroduce the youngest generation to food in its natural package.
Local convivias often provide improved communication between local producers and consumers by providing lists of local and organic producers and where to obtain their products. Sponsoring festivals or get togethers with workshops and tastings are found on almost every convivial website around and there are literally hundreds.
Recent USDA economic reports indicate that micro farming is 10 times more efficient per acre than large scale industrial farming. Their studies on operational cost for small neighborhood grocery stores find that though their prices are often higher they cost no more to operate than big box stores. The Slow Food movement may be right. Slow food works with local governments from Italy where it works to consult the government on agra and aqua cultural policies to Brazil to where it supports the MST movement of landless agra workers to farm on unfarmed land held by wealthy landlords who have worked out to the advantage of both groups and Brazil as a whole.
For information on slow food groups, producers, restaurants, groceries and activities in your area simply type slow food and the name of your country, state or region into your search engine.
Information for this essay was garnered from
Suggested reading “Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should be Good, Clean and Fair” by Carlo Petrini, 2006
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