slow food

From The Viand Zine, Issue 1 April 2007

Whether standing at a BBQ, kneeling on a tatami mat or seated at an elegant restaurant, eating is fundamental to living. Elevating the quality of our food and taking time to enjoy it is a simple way to infuse our daily lives with joy. This is the philosophy of Slow Food.

With food so central to daily life, it naturally follows that what we eat has a profound effect on our surroundings as well – the rural landscape of the countryside, the duration of tradition and the biodiversity of the earth. For a true gastronome, it is impossible to ignore the strong connections between plate and planet.

Founded in 1986 in Italy, Slow Food became an international non-profit organization in 1989 and is currently made up of nearly 1000 ‘Convivia,’ or chapters, whose vast network of 80,000 members is the greatest strength of the movement. The international headquarters of Slow Food is located in Bra, Italy. Slow Food works locally as well as with international policymakers such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. It has forged friendships with governments throughout the world, consulting for Italy’s Minister of Agriculture, working with New York City’s mayor and collaborating with the Brazilian government.

Mission: Through its understanding of gastronomy with relation to politics, agriculture and the environment Slow Food has become an active player in agriculture and ecology. Slow Food links pleasure and food with awareness and responsibility. The association’s activities seek to defend biodiversity in our food supply, spread the education of taste, and link producers of excellent foods to consumers through events and initiatives.

Slow Food believes the enjoyment of excellent foods and wines should be combined with efforts to save the countless traditional cheeses, grains, vegetables, fruits, and animal breeds that are disappearing due to the prevalence of convenience food and agribusiness. Through the Ark of Taste and Presidia projects (supported by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity), the Slow Food Award for Biodiversity and Terra Madre Slow Food seeks to protect our invaluable food heritage.

Slow Food USA  is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to supporting and celebrating the food traditions of North America. From the spice of Cajun cooking to the purity of the organic movement; from animal breeds and heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables to handcrafted wine and beer, farmhouse cheeses and other artisanal products; these foods are a part of our cultural identity. They reflect generations of commitment to the land and devotion to the processes that yield the greatest achievements in taste. These foods, and the communities that produce and depend on them, are constantly at risk of succumbing to the effects of the fast life, which manifests itself through the industrialization and standardization of our food supply and degradation of our farmland. By reviving the pleasures of the table, and using our taste buds as our guides, Slow Food U.S.A. believes that our food heritage can be saved.

Slow Food U.S.A. believes that pleasure and quality in everyday life can be achieved by slowing down, respecting the convivial traditions of the table, and celebrating the diversity of the earth’s bounty. Our goal is to put the carriers of this heritage on center stage and educate our membership on the importance of these principles.