How our food choices affect the world around us?
1. “Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization, founded in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of fast life and combat people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from and how our food choices affect the world around us.
Since its beginnings, Slow Food has grown into a global movement involving millions of people in over 160 countries, working to ensure everyone has access to good, clean and fair food. Slow Food believes food is tied to many other aspects of life, including culture, politics, agriculture and the environment. Through our food choices we can collectively influence how food is cultivated, produced and distributed, and as a result bring about great change[…]”
That is how Slow Food International, the movement built up by Carlo Petrini, defines itself.
Carlo Petrini was born in 1949 in Bra. Since the beginnings of his career, as a journalist, he was involved in local and national politics. In 1989, he founded Slow Food Movement. Nowadays, is one of the most charismatic Italians, recognized all over the world. That’s the reason why, last year, he was named FAO Special Ambassador Zero Hunger for Europe. This title ratifies the contribute of Carlo Petrini, through his work in Slow Food, to reach the goal of “Ending Hunger 2030” and to create a Zero Hunger Generation.
Written below the main steps of the internationalization of the movement.
In 1992 was created Slow Food Germany, next year was created Slow Food Switzerland.
In 1996 was announced The Ark of Taste project (an online catalog with more then 2500 products, gathering alerts from people “who see the flavors of their products disappear”- www.slowfoodinternational.com), during the first “Salone del Gusto” in Turin.
In 2000 Presidia project was lunched. Praesidium is now a registered brand that represents the most important instrument to put Slow Food’s politics into practice. The local products take a census and start their path toward the market’s recognition with the Label of Slow Food Presidia. Nowadays, there are 503 products that have Presidia Label.
During the same year was created Slow Food USA. In 2003 was instituted the Slow Food Foundation of biodiversity. This foundation involves lot of the main project as: 10,000 Gardens in Africa, Slow Food Presidia, Ark of Taste, Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance.
In 2004 was created Slow Food Japan and “Terra Madre” first edition took place in Turin. “Salone del Gusto- Terra Madre” is, as defined in the web site of the event, “[…] the most important event dedicated to food and gastronomy. An enormous event composed of diverse factors: markets, Slow Food Presidia, Enoteca, Forums, Food communities.[…]”
In particular, “Terra Madre”, the convention of this movement dedicated to food and gastronomy, is composed by 2,000 food community “that practice small-scale and sustainable production”.
The same year was inaugurated the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy, close to the Slow Food headquarters.
In 2006 Slow Food UK was created. In 2008 was created Slow Food Netherlands and “The Earth Markets”, a global network of farmers’ markets.
In 2011, we can underline another important step of this process, the launch of the Slow Europe campaign, asking European policies to promote sustainability, biodiversity protection and support for small-scale farmers.
In 2013 Carlo Petrini participated to UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York and he spoke at the “Global Food Security and Nutrition Dialogue” at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20.
In 2015, Slow Food launched Slow Food Great China, an international organization that will work to spread Traditional Chinese Cuisine and defend food biodiversity.
The diffusion of the Slow Food association needed the Chinese government recognition to prevent legal problems. The Chinese Management is composed by President Qiao Ling, the daughter of the ex vice-premier, Francesco Sisci as Non executive chair-man, Qun Sun as Secretary and KuangSung Ling as Coordinator.
In 2015, the first Chinese event was The Slow food Beijing Festival to promote the Ark of Taste. [“The Ark of Taste travels the world collecting small-scale quality productions that belong to the cultures, history and traditions of the entire planet: an extraordinary heritage of fruits, vegetables, animal breeds, cheeses, breads, sweets and cured meats…” www.fondazioneslowfood.com]
The objectives of the newly formed organization are: to support the development of Slow Food ideas; to create a forum to exchange experiences of Chinese food culture; to plan Terra Madre local meeting, focused on issues and challenges specific to the country; to broaden understanding of the work of Slow Food trough seminars, educational activities and training; to increase awareness of Slow Food principles at all political levels and to support the international project and activities of Slow Food.
In 2016, to reach all these objectives Slow Food Great China signed an agreement with the New Rural Reconstruction Movement (SFGC) that involve several Chinese Universities to promote Ark of Taste project.
Of course, on September 2016, Slow Food Great China will participate to “Terra Madre Salone del Gusto” in Turin.
2. The Slow Food network briefly described below. The Slow Food motto is “Good, Clean and Fair”, that is to say: quality organoleptic respect, Environmental and labor sustainability, that are implemented and encouraged by the movement. Food is considered as an important part of human identity, in particular as a result of cultural process.
As we told, the aim is to preserve know-how, create social and economic innovation and Educate new generation to the value of Good, Clean and Fair.
Slow Food Local network is composed by “Convivium”, that’s to say, in a stake-holders community: Farmers, Educational Community and followers. The aim is to give support to local network, acting upon Movement’s values.
This structure is repeated for every region in every Country participating in Slow Food, the top of this pyramid is the headquarters in Italy, located in Bra (CN).
The International Level, at the same way, is a network composed by networks. This food community is called “Terra Madre”. The community was born as a meeting of people that works in agribusiness that are so far from each others that they could not had met. Nowadays, we can say that this idea was successful. In fact, all people involved are still going on following Slow Food, creating, a so called, “community of fate”.
The main actors of this network are: producers’ communities, purchasing groups, cooks, Universities, any others follower. All these actors share movement’s values and they can create links with other people all over the world. This network guarantees the dissemination of information, know-how and products.
3. Slow Food activities are really various: from convivial events to important education and cooperation Project that involve lots of little producers. Moreover, the movement is linked to some important international organization, as FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) that is the main actor about food security. The main goals of FAO, as we know, are the eradication of hunger and malnutrition, the elimination of poverty and the sustainability in matter of natural resources.
Slow Food promotes a new system of values that deals with Food and sustainability. Nevertheless, promotes the importance of the local community as a set of peculiar know-how about food and agriculture that have to be saved and preserved. Educating new generation to Slow Food values for guaranteeing the follow up of this Movement, is an efficient way to give a contribute to Culture, social Empowerment and Science.
In 2003, Carlo Petrini took part to Commission on Future of Food in Florence. That conference dealt with new strategy to reach Food sovereignty that is, as explained by Declaration of Nyéléni, “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems”.
As Carlo Petrini wrote in his book called “Good, Clean and Fair”, food deals with geopolitics and political economy that are two important means for studying international policy-making and international relations, as well. For examples, dumping cases in food market are capable of conditioning relations between States involved and to generate economic diseases. That is a circumstance that influences not only inner policy-making but also international agreements.
The movement try to figure out a new vision to promote social sustainability. Social sustainability means to promote welfare, work, democracy trying to reduce unfair international economic practice as dumping or to promote fair practice. For example, Slow Money is a campaign that tries “to catalyze the flow of capital to local food systems, connecting investors to the places where they live and promoting new principles of fiduciary responsibility that “bring money back down to earth.”
As we told, Slow Food is an important instrument of social and political change, interesting society at different levels: from local to international. The outcome is a different way to live Globalization. In fact, economic integration wipes all the little communities and producers out, provoking the loss of important know-how. This movement recognizes the peculiar contest in which every single community lives and tries to add value to local products using global markets as a means not as a “rule”. It tries to transfer local know-how to next generation, re-introducing or preserving the lost customs.
That is great opportunity for little producers that can find new, national and international, markets for local products that risk to disappear. This network preserves characteristic products and the producers’ profit.
The main consequence of this process is that producers can feel the power of the Community. There are positive externalizations that build up social and the political actions, improving relationship between producers, Private and Public Institutions generating economic and Social Empowerment, class awareness and market’s spin-off.
4. Slow Food anticipated a new way to move in the International political arena and a different way to participate to serious problems that threats the planet as Lack of Water, Hunger diseases and to face the new global challenges about Biodiversity, Pollution and Food.
Some Slow Food goals deal with the European Union topic. Eu Farm policy, as it published on the EU website, has many purposes: it helps farmers to produce sufficient quantities of food for Europe; it ensures safe food (traceability); it protects farmers from excessive price volatility and market crises; it helps them invest in modernizing their farms; it sustains viable rural communities, with diverse economies; it creates and maintains jobs in the food industry; it protects the environment and animal welfare.