by Margaret Mendel
The Slow Food Movement is an international movement that began in Italy in 1986 as an endeavor to keep a McDonald’s from opening near the Spanish Steps in Rome. In that year a Slow Food Manifesto was signed by delegates from fifteen countries in protest against big international business interests. The Movement now has over 100,000 members in 132 countries with hundreds of regional chapters around the world.
The Slow Food Movement is an idea about a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment. There is a strong belief that everyone should enjoy delicious food that has been created with care from healthy plants and animals, and that food should help build community, celebrate culture and promote regional diversity.
The Slow Food Movement not only believes that our food should be nutritious and good for our bodies; it should also be good for the planet. There is also a belief that what we eat needs to be grown and harvested with methods that have a positive impact on our local ecosystems and promote biodiversity.
The Slow Food Movement believes that healthy food is a universal right and should be accessible to all, regardless of income and that the people who produce the food should be treated with dignity and justly compensated for their labor.
This is all a pretty tall order and here are just a few of the ways that the movement has begun to address these goals. A collection of European countries earlier this year held events called, “Canteens for Change” to promote the important role schools play in changing the food culture of communities towards healthy and sustainable options and helping youthful populations in reconnecting with traditions. Some of the important issues dealt with during these events were promoting healthy and fresh food options while increasing student’s knowledge of the origin, production methods and the taste of food.
Another aspect of the international movement is Slow Food Baby that began in the United Kingdom this past Mother’s Day. It offered parents practical knowledge to help them prepare good food for small children with an emphasis on the importance for early health as well as expanding their children’s future food choices. This program utilizes volunteers to teach the interactive workshop, “Happy Eating: The Slow Food family approach to first solid foods & mealtimes”.
Slow Fish, another aspect of the Slow Food movement addresses the issue of the depletion of our oceans and seas with attention focused on the people around the world who make their living from fishing. This year there are many events scheduled throughout the Slow Food communities, some of which include tasting workshops with renowned chefs, discussions and debates with leading experts in the area of artisanal fishing, and educational programs for both the public and schools.
Slow Food is a global movement. It has representation in countries as far away as Romania, Ireland, China, while at the same time there are organized Slow Food activities in Fresno, California and Brooklyn, New York. There is a $25 tax deductible contribution to become a member of a local Slow Food group.
By becoming a member of Slow Food you are able to get involved in local events that strengthen what is already being done to create a better food system in your community, while at the same time there is an opportunity to get involved with an international movement of like-minded people. You will be able to assist and support sustainable food and learn how to become a more responsible consumer.
Look for more articles in the coming months on the Slow Food Movement in the Kings River Life Magazine. I would like to leave you with a quote from the Slow Food International website: “Our collective choices and actions…. as consumers, producers, chefs, writers, gardeners teachers…can influence great change on how food is cultivated and produced, bringing good, clean and fair food to communities around the world.”