To counteract the rising tide of industrially produced low-quality food for global consumers, the “Slow Food” movement began in Italy in 1986, fittingly, through a protest at a proposed site for a Mcdonald’s in Rome. Slow Food aims to change global food supply chains that are damaging both to the environment and to human health.
From its inception in Italy, the Slow Food movement spread around Europe before going multi-continental. Slow Food USA was founded in 2000, and now there are more than 1,500 local chapters, known as “conviviums,” in more than 160 countries around the globe. In the United States alone, there are now more than 150 local chapters with several thousand members.
Slow food is not only an antithesis to “fast food,” though that indeed is one clear result of their “Manifesto for Quality.” At its core, the Slow Food movement promotes the message of “food that is good, clean and fair for all.”
Within these core principles extends a complete philosophy that can have far-reaching benefits for human health, environmental conservation and sustainable use of resources, fair distribution of wealth and social justice, and gastronomic pleasure.
Slow Food also works with a network known as “Indigenous Terra Madre” to promote traditional diets, endemic foods, and the participation of Indigenous communities in the international Slow Food movement. For example, Slow Food’s “Ark of Taste” initiative, which is part of their “Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity,” aims to catalogue indigenous foods (nearly 5,000 at present and growing) as a way to “protect food biodiversity across the world.”
Following Slow Food’s example of buying “food that is local, seasonal and sustainably grown,” and that is implicitly “good” and nutritious, by extension helps connect consumers to the people that grow their food and to their environment, and builds a higher level of appreciation for gastronomy.
By incorporating these principles into our lives, we can help curtail some of the ecological damage that has occurred due to global food supply chains and the industrial production of processed foods. Additionally, by eating fresh whole locally produced and seasonal foods, and living lives full of enjoyment and activity, the vast majority of type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented. Following Slow Food eating principles should also aid in the self-management of diabetes for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics.
Enjoyment, of course, includes that of food; healthful and mindful eating does not equate to foods lacking in flavor, as fresh produce and locally pastured meat and dairy products typically have much richer flavor and aroma profiles, in addition to being healthier for the body, mind and planet.
Resources and Further Reading
The Slow Food organization home page: https://www.slowfood.com/
To learn more about Slow Food USA: https://www.slowfoodusa.org/
About the Indigenous Terra Madre network:
The growing Ark of Taste resource for indigenous foods:
10,000 gardens initiative in Africa: https://www.fondazioneslowfood.com/en/what-we-do/10-000-gardens-in-africa/