According to the Slow Food website, it is a “global, grassroots organization with more than 150,000 members and 2,000 food communities throughout 150+ countries.” The movement is promoted as an alternative to fast food, and is built on the belief that “the food we eat should taste good; that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health; and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work.”
The Slow Food Movement was founded in 1989 by Carlo Petrini. The native of the Piedmont region in Italy created the organization as a reaction to the opening of a McDonald’s in the historic Piazza di Spagna in Rome, as well as the poisonings and deaths that resulted from a wine producer’s choice to cut his wine with methanol to produce larger quantities of a cheaper product. Afraid that the unique regional flavors of Italy were in danger, he began promoting a lifestyle that preserved the important cultural heritage of food and the people who produce it.
Participating in the Slow Food Movement is a great way to become more connected to your community and the food you eat. Whether you go all in and totally adopt the lifestyle or simply incorporate some of the elements into the way you eat and think about food, these steps will help you get started:
- Buy whole ingredients and cook them yourself. Avoiding processed foods is great for your health, and taking the time to actually prepare your food is rewarding and can be a surprisingly relaxing activity.
- Grow some of your own food. If you’re lucky enough to have a spacious backyard, you can plant a big and luscious garden filled with delicious fruits and vegetables. But even if you live in a tiny studio apartment, you can still grow certain kinds of produce indoors or on a tiny windowsill. Nothing tastes quite as good as something that you’ve grown yourself.
- Shop locally. Visit farmer’s markets or seek out other growers in your area. It’s a great feeling to know the story behind what you’re eating, and you’ll be supporting the food producers in your community.
- Join a Slow Food group in your region. There are more than 100,000 Slow Food members all over the world, so it’s likely that you have a group near you. It’s a great way to meet more people who are passionate about preserving the quality of food and a chance to swap new ideas.