Slow Food stands as a movement opposed to the standardization of culinary taste that promotes a philosophy of taste “without hurry”, combining pleasure and knowledge.
Slow Food started in Italy to fight the culture of culinary standardization and the loss of the gastronomic habit as elements of wealth and cultural cohesion.
The organization, founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986, promotes the conservation of local gastronomic traditions and fights against the disappearance or abandonment of vegetable varieties, cultivation methods and raising of animals. The symbol of Slow Food is the snail, an emblem of the slowness.
The objectives of the Slow Food organization are, among others:
- To recognize the cultural dignity of our food and diet.
- To promote the food products and the means of local production, as cultural goods and sources of biological diversity.
- To promote gastronomy among individuals, especially among young people.
- To promote the practice of a distinct quality of life, based on respecting natural rhythm and time.
- To create seed banks to promote native varieties for local cultivation.
- To develop a “memory of taste” (through the Ark of taste initiative) for each region that promotes the conservation of foods and flavors.
- To preserve and promote traditional and local gastronomy.
- To organize the small-scale production of short-lived products.
- To educate about gastronomy.
- To inform consumers about the risks of fast food, large agrarian exploitation, monoculture or the dependence upon too few vegetable varieties.
Slow Food presently totals more than 80,000 members in over 100 different countries, each one of which has its own social headquarters, called Condotte in Italy and Convivia in the rest of the world. In Italy, Slow Food has 35,000 members and 360 local headquarters; in the remainder of the world, there are 450 Convivia.
Slow Food established the foundations for the birth of a more extensive movement that includes other organizations, called the Slow Movement. The journalist and Canadian writer Carl Honoré(contributor to the British publications The Guardian and The Economist) accomplishes a rough summary of the Slow Movement in his book In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed.
In In Praise of Slow, Honoré writes, “The slow philosophy can be summed up in a single word: balance. People are discovering energy and efficiency where we may have least expected- in slowing down.”
- More information on Slow Food, in Wikipedia.