After two food movements that focus mainly on the procurement of food, the Local Food and Ugly Food movements, today we look at the Slow Food Movement that has its roots mainly in preparation of food.
The Slow Food movement was founded by Italian activist Carlo Petrini during the 1980’s. Initially a reaction against the rise of fast food chains and people’s declining involvement in the food they eat, the movement developed into a global organization that hopes to “defend regional traditions, gastronomic pleasure and a slow pace of life”. Originally, Petrini’s main goal was to preserve the joy and pleasure of food. In opposition to fast food, he believed that preparing meals with local and high quality ingredients would not only protect health and traditional knowledge surrounding food, but also local industries and the community’s involvement in the food they consume. Awareness of the origins of produce, dairy products, meat and fish should lead to decreased overconsumption and better quality products for all. Today, Slow Food opposes the “standardization of taste and culture, and the uninhibited power of the food industry and industrial agriculture”, by preserving and implementing local and traditional knowledge of agriculture, livestock breeding, fishing, and food processing.
The Slow Food organization aims to raise awareness about cleaner and better consumption habits, in order to reduce industrial food consumption, and to promote the work of small- and medium-scale producers who respect animal welfare and environmental preservation. Equally, according to the movement’s own manifesto and parallel to the Local Food movement, farmers’ markets should act as an economic tool for local, small-scale quality products.
With branches in over 150 countries and through education programmes, gatherings, consultation services and creating a worldwide network, Slow Food works to protect local food cultures and traditions, to preserve biodiversity by working with small-scale producers to sustain quality food productions, by building an international network of farmers’ markets to promote good, clean and fair food, and by cataloguing traditional foods across the world such as fruits, vegetables, animal breeds, cheeses, and meats. Similar to the Food Justice movement, Slow Food believes food is directly linked to politics, culture, agriculture and the environment. Food choices influence how food is produced and distributed, and consequently can change the world. In this context, communities’ awareness of sustainability and social justice issues surrounding food and farming raises the value of good, clean, ethical, local food.
European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety: Choosing Slow Food is a Choice of Ethics and Sustainability
Galli, A. & Degliesposti, P. (2017), Slow Food Movement