Everything You Need to Know About the Slow Food Movement
Slow Food is an idea and a way of living that focuses on local food sources and traditional cooking in order to prevent the disappearance of food cultures and appearance while promoting healthy eating and sustainability.
You may know that “slow food” refers to the movement toward thoughtful, organic eating, but do you know how the movement began? The history of what began as a grassroots organization and continues its mission today can be found on SlowFood.com.
This website also has resources including a Slow Food Almanac, information about food culture around the world, and how you can become more involved in the mission of better feeding the world.
Food impacts the environment and global health.
The global food production system is based on intensive agriculture, which relies on synthetic pesticides and fertilizers to produce highly processed, calorie-dense foods packed with additives, preservatives, sugars, and saturated fats. This is creating imbalances in environmental, economic, and social dynamics, particularly in more vulnerable countries, generating many public health problems like obesity and malnutrition.SLOWFOOD.COM
SlowFood.com asks the questions of how are we, how is the environment, what is the impact we are having on climate with our food choices? From family farming to GMOs and food waste.
Slow Food And Health
Diet, food quality, and lifestyle are all key factors in our health.
Many of us know that fast food is detrimental to our physical health. Leaving many without access to the rich tapestry of traditional food cultures where real nutrition is actually contained in its ingredients. Have our fast-paced lifestyles put us at the mercy of burger conglomerates and Big Agra? The Slow Food Movement says it’s time to slow down, smell the flowers… and actually taste our food again.
Renowned author Michael Pollan explains:
Along with the industrialization of our food system has come an industrialization of eating, and the former won’t be effectively countered until people have rejected the latter. Slow Food aims to teach us to taste what makes Iroquois corn special (it’s wonderful stuff, with an earthy, sweet, extra-corny flavor that makes commercial corn products taste pallid by comparison) and to slow down to enjoy some slow dishes traditionally cooked with it.”Michael Pollan
In an inspiring TED Talk, Slow Food USA president Josh Viertel asserts that all our problems come back to food and farming—and the slow food movement is what is needed to change the world.
The Three Pillars of Slow Food
Building a slow food nation
The Slow Food movement is dedicated to building a new food system that helps people all over the world access healthy and delicious food. The movement is built on three fundamental principles.
1- Food should be good.
Food should be delicious as well as nutritious. Most ancient food systems naturally produce delicious food. It is the modern food delivery systems that deaden flavor to enhance shelf life.
Slow Food movement founder Carlo Petrini says:
The quest for slowness, which begins as a simple rebellion against the impoverishment of taste in our lives, makes it possible to rediscover taste.”CARLO PETRINI
Carlo Petrini on Slow Food and Terra Madre
2- Food should be clean.
Clean doesn’t mean it isn’t grown in dirt. “Clean food” means that it is grown and produced without causing any harm to the environment. No harmful pesticides or farming practices that strip the soil of its nutrients.
To illustrate this principle, explore this recipe from Alice Waters, one of the slow food movement’s most important evangelists. One of her most trusted chefs, Russell Moore of Chez Panisse Café, created a clean and kid-friendly recipe you can make at home.
Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse Cafe
3. Food should be fair.
This principle applies to both the producers and consumers of food. Fair refers to the conditions and payment given to the growers. “Fair” means equitable treatment, safe work environments, and living wages.
Consumers must also be offered a fair price for this food. A price that covers production costs without the “premium brand” price gouging.
I began to realize more and more that every problem I cared about—whether it’s a problem of environmental degradation or a problem of social injustice, a problem with the global economy or a problem of public education—has at its core, issues linked to food and farming. If we’re going to address those problems in ways that are meaningful we have to transform the way we grow and share food together.”JOSH VIERTEL
How to Get Involved
Check out the Ark of Taste program on the Slow Food website and you’ll see the impact that Slow Food is making on the world. Ark of Taste is “a project to rediscover, catalog, describe, and publicize forgotten foods. It has been created to point out the existence of these products, draw attention to the risk of their extinction within a few generations, and invite everyone to take action to help protect them.”
It’s easy to get involved in the Slow Food movement. You can start by yourself, in your own neighborhood, by seeking out local growers with ethical growing practices. Become more mindful in the preparation and eating of your meals. Savor each ingredient, mindful of the food’s origins. If you want to get involved at a deeper level, join a chapter. The Slow Food movement is building connections between restaurants, individual consumers, and food producers across the globe.