I first discovered the slow food movement when I was in Italy on holidays some years ago with an Italian couple.
We were in Puglia and I could see everywhere, in most of the restaurants, the concept of Slow Food brought to the table. In the menu, outside the restaurant, even in the walls, posters that would mention that in that place only slow food was cooked.
I was intrigued to understand more about it. At the beginning I thought it the concept was similar to organic food, so I started to ask locals, restaurant owners and our B&B hosts about the Slow Food concept.
It is there when I learnt that Slow Food is a movement that initiated in Italy, as a way to differentiate and protest against the standardization of food. So let’s dig a bit deeper on this.
The curious way the the concept originated
In 1986, the first Mc Donald’s arrived to Rome, Italy.
The activist Carlo Petrini, saw the Mc Donald’s and decided to make a demonstration with other groups of activists in front of this Mc Donald’s against the standardization of food, or Fast Food.
How many times people really enjoy the food consumed in the ‘ Fast Food’ chains? Why do people need to eat fast? Isnt’t it healthier to enjoy the food in a slow pace, not only for our bodies but also for our minds? What are the consumer and production ethics and quaity behind this type of food?
After this and many more questions, Carlo Petrini created the Slow Food concept, which led to a wordwide movement.
What the slow food concept mean
Slow food is the opposite to Fast Food, it is the concept of enjoying a meal, a drink, with time, with mindfulness, with conviviality if shared, all done via ethical and sustainable procedures.
The Slow Food concept was created with the aim to defend regional traditions, good food, gastronomic pleasure and a slow pace of life.
So, even when close to the organic concept, slow food goes even beyond, as it does not looking only at where and how the production is created and cooked, but also at how it is enjoyed.
The slow food approach is based on a concept of food that is defined by principles: good, clean and fair.
- GOOD: quality, flavorsome and healthy food
- CLEAN: The environment has to be respected and sustainable practices of farming, animal husbandry, processing, marketing and consumption should be taken into serious consideration
- FAIR: accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for producers
The Slow Food short manifesto, express that everyone can apply these three principles on the individual acts in life, to impact positively not only the community and ecosystem but our own health as well.
Slow Food Today
Gladly, a concept that started from a group of activists fighting for the quality, ethics, sustainability and enjoyability of food, became a worldwide movement and an organisation was formed.
Although it is not known by everyone – as I reckon I was not aware of it before noticing it in Italy – at the moment more than 160 countries have their own Slow Food organisations.
They define themselves as a global, grassroots organization, founded in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of fast life and combat people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat.
The Slow Food organisation is made from individual members and also organisations.
The fundings are use for different projects: sustainability, assisting the preservation of the local production, development and coordination of farmers communities, international food and wine tasting events, creation of gardens, local chef’s alliances, preserving endangered species, and so many more! In addition, they launched the University of Gastronomic Sciences in 2004.
You can see all what they do in their main site.
Becoming a member
If you want to be part of this movement, you can become a member, for a small monthly fee – you can choose the support you want to offer per month – you can participate in different projects and get involved and receive updates from your local organisation and around the world.
For more information about the membership you can click on this link, choose where you live and start supporting them!
How to apply Slow Food in our daily life
If you think this concept has a meaning as I do, you can try to apply it in your daily life. Some tips on what you can do:
- Check labels, know what and where you buy from.
- We know local and organic produce is often much more expensive and it is not that easy if you live in a big city to buy from small producers all the time. But it is also fair to pay good quality food, as it is worth and you are also supporting the producers. A solution and tip could be to choose a number of items per month that you would like to buy from organic and sustainable producers and stick to them, maybe allocating a small pot towards sustainability in your monthly finances can be a good option. Choose what matters for you and where you know you can make an impact. We can all help a bit and the impact is bigger than what you imagine.
- Enjoy your food. Try to take time off the laptop to savour what you are eating. This won’t be not only better for your digestion and mental health but also for you to explore and find new flavours.
- Enjoy eating with people, trying different flavours and cuisines, sharing your produce, trying from other producers, cook something different every week.
- Participate in a community garden, or maybe grow your own veggies at home. No matter how big your house is, you can always make space for some indoor basil plant!
- Buy at food markets, especially farmers markets.
- Try not to waste food. Use local apps to collect food that otherwise would be thrown. Reuse what is left at the evening dinner for the following day.
- Just be more conscious and inform yourself about food nutrition and labelling. It is as important for the ecosystem as it is for your body to fuel you up with the healthiest energy.
Can you become little by little in your actions a Slow Food person?