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Slow Food: Italy



What is the Slow Food movement?

The slow food movement is a reaction to fast food companies. It holds that traditional methods of farming are being threatened growth of fast food chains and modern methods of farming which depends more on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Slow Food identifies foods that are geographically specific and produced by methods that protect biodiversity. The movement encourages farmers to revive the old environment-friendly method of cultivation and grow organic and natural food. Slow Food also encourages campaigns to promote all indigenous food production and culture as these methods help us learn about the history and culture of communities.

When did the slow food movement start?

The Slow Food movement started in 1986 by an Italian food and wine journalist called Carlo Petrini. Petrini had become haunted by the spectre of fast food companies eroding Italy's ancient culinary culture. The opening of McDonald's on the Spanish Steps in Rome was the final straw. That a fast food giant could open its doors in the heart of food-obsessed Rome symbolised to Petrini the vulnerability of older values to brash new industrial methods. Processed fast food was not only changing the physical landscape through intensive farming, but it was also eroding a way of life that revolved around producing and eating great food in a relaxed, sociable way.

Slow food in schools:

Since 1993, Slow Food has collaborated with teachers in schools to educate children on the use of the sphere of the senses, as an instrument of knowledge and to teach them about the importance of food products as a part and parcel of a society’s culture. Slow food are running initiatives such as- taste workshops, conferences on food education, refresher courses for teachers and parents. Alongside activities for the very young, Slow Food is planning two new adult education projects: the Master of Food and the University of Gastronomic Sciences.

The Ark of Taste

The Ark of Taste is a first step in this direction. The aim of this massive project is to identify and catalogue products, dishes and plants that are in danger of disappearing. “The world is losing many species of fruits and vegetables each day. We are losing domestic animal species as well. And one can't be a gastronome without being an ecologist anymore. “One cannot recognize and appreciate food and its flavour unless one knows the environment and ecological condition in which the food is grown.” says Petrini.