The Slow Food movement started as a reaction to the rise of ubiquitous fast food and the decline of diverse regional cuisines and food production. The objectives of the Slow Food movement are broader than this now and they are form a ‘manifesto’ for sustainable food production and consumption.
The Slow Food movement was founded in Italy in 1986 by Carlo Petrini as a reaction to the massive increase of fast food consumption. Petrini was catalysed into action to resist the opening of a McDonald’s near the Spanish steps in Rome.
The Slow Food movement aims to preserve the cultural cuisine and the associated food plants and seeds, domestic animals, and farming within an ecoregion. It was the first established part of a broader Slow movement. The movement has since expanded globally to over 83,000 members in 122 countries.
The Slow Food movement incorporates a series of objectives within its mission, including:
- forming and sustaining seed banks to preserve heirloom varieties in cooperation with local food systems
- developing an “Ark of Taste” for each ecoregion, where local culinary traditions and foods are celebrated
- preserving and promoting local and traditional food products, along with their lore and preparation
- organizing small-scale processing (including facilities for slaughtering and short run products)
- organizing celebrations of local cuisine within regions (for example, the Feast of Fields held in some cities in Canada)
- promoting “taste education”
- educating consumers about the risks of fast food
- educating citizens about the drawbacks of commercial agribusiness and factory farms
- educating citizens about the risks of monoculture and reliance on too few genomes or varieties
- developing various political programs to preserve family farms
- lobbying for the inclusion of organic farming concerns within agricultural policy
- lobbying against government funding of genetic engineering
- lobbying against the use of pesticides
- teaching gardening skills to students and prisoners
- encouraging ethical buying in local marketplaces