What Is The Slow Food Movement Anyway?

Happy cows, photo: farmpower.com

Happy cows, photo: farmpower.com

Good, clean and fair. These three large yet basic ideas form the core philosophy of the Slow Food Movement, a growing group of people (more than 100,000 members in over 153 countries) who are paying attention not only to what they eat, but to how it effects the world at large.

Good food is whole food and local food.

Whole food is consumed as close to it’s natural state as possible. Think “apple” versus “apple flavored drink”. Or fresh pasta and tomato sauce vs Spaghettios. You can also tell what food is a whole food by asking yourself if that particular food was in existence 100 or more years ago. Rice? We had that. Hot Pockets? Not so much. And where as Slow Food cherishes regional and seasonal tastes, preparations, animals, plants and products, it’s opposite: Fast Food, is exactly the same anywhere – did you know that you can get a Big Mac the same way in 119 countries?

Clean food is Slow Food and Slow Food is handmade and homemade.

When mass produced foods are created in factories using machines, they are then packaged and shipped to places sometimes as far as halfway across the world, heavily taxing the environment, with nutrients being lost with every mile traveled. And then preservatives are added to maintain that look and feel of “freshness” through its arduous journey. But when food is handmade or homemade, it’s often consumed closer to the source from whence it came, alleviating stress on the environment, reducing the need for additives and chemicals and frankly, just tasting better. It’s literally keeping both your body and the globe clean.

Fair trade is slow food.

Fair trade food is respectful and responsible to humans and the environment. Slow Food embraces fair practices in growing, producing, distributing and preparing food. With a focus on developing countries and locations, fair trade promotes locally sustainable practices and optimal commercial conditions for all parties involved in the business. Didn’t you parents tell you to always be fair? Why would you not want to?

Artisinal cheese, photo: housemouseoncheese.com

Artisinal cheese, photo: housemouseoncheese.com

The Beginning

Back in 1986, when McDonalds announced plans to put a location near the Spanish Steps in Rome, Carlo Petrini, a well-known food and wine writer from Italy, put up a stand and there the Slow Food movement began. Aside from a philosophy to live by, there’s a website that centralizes the members in order to organize, promote and educate around local farms and artisans, nutrition, care for the environment, taste, organics, variety, fair trade, among many other ideas. There are now more that 1,300 local chapters, known as convivia around the globe (that’s more than Micky Ds!).

Slow Food unites the pleasure of food with responsibly, sustainability, and harmony with nature. – Carlo Petrini

For a taste of the very charming Carlo Petrini, check out this excerpt from a talk he did in 2007, where he touches on food, media and consumption. And his undies.

So the next time you are walking through a farmers market, buying locally made cheese, choosing organic over something 30 cents cheaper or appreciating the taste of heirloom tomatoes, know you’re part of the movement helping to push against harmful Agra-Business sitting at our dinner table with no manners whatsoever.

Join the Slow Movement yourself by signing up for their newsletter and finding a local chapter near you.

  • Niki

    “Let’s give ourselves more value than out clothes.”

    Pure common sense that seems to be so foreign to so many here in the States. Thanks for the post! 

  • It’s bizarre how far we’ve gotten away from it all, isn’t it. Thanks for checking it out @7efabb6c51b2a15900e54888f16c1e02:disqus !