What Is the Slow Food Movement?
We hear a lot about fast food, but what exactly is slow food? There is the romantic image of Italian nonnas kneading pasta dough or slowly drying tomatoes out underneath the sunshine but slow food means so much more.
Who Started the Slow Food Movement?
The slow food movement is a global grassroots organization which was founded in 1986 by Carlo Petrini in Italy. The focus is to promote traditional and regional cuisine as well as the use of locally grown and produced foods. Another key part of the movement is the preservation of agricultural biodiversity. All of this is part of the organization's goal is to counter the negative effects of fast food and globalization on local cultures and the environment.
The movement all started as a protest against the opening of a McDonald's restaurant near the Spanish Steps in Rome in 1986. Petrini and a group of activists formed the organization to promote the values of good, clean, and fair food. Below are some of the key principles to the movement.
Clean food means food that is produced using environmentally sustainable practices, without the use of synthetic chemicals or genetically modified organisms. And by sourcing regional ingredients made by small, local producers, we reduce the mileage and emissions associated with our meals.
Fair and ethical farming
Fair food refers to food that is produced in a way that is socially and economically just, with fair wages and working conditions for producers. It also means thinking about the local communities, making sure not to buy ingredients coming from land that has been illegally, underhandedly, or unfairly taken - otherwise known as land grabbing. And when it comes to the meat that we eat, we make purchasing decisions based on how the meat is farmed and the welfare of the animals.
Cooking with the seasons
Many are used to getting ahold of every product imaginable all year round whether it's in season or not. As a result, we often then forget when fresh produce is in season. By opting to eat seasonally we lower our carbon footprint and support small-scale local farmers. Another benefit is fresh produce tastes at its best when it is in peak season - who doesn't like extra crisp apples or juicy strawberries?