Crafting Gentleness

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Slow Food (UK)

"The Slow Food movement began in 1986 when an Italian journalist visited Rome and saw a brand new branch of McDonalds at the foot of the Spanish Steps.

"Carlo Petrini was horrified. To him, it seemed that a global takeover of industrialised, standardised fast food was well on the way - and it could be the beginning of the end for the huge variety of good, traditional, regional Italian food. He decided that it was necessary to set up a 'slow food' movement to counteract the potential for 'fast food' world domination.

"Eco-gastronomy: Between the 1980s and now, Slow Food has become an international organisation of members who not only care about retaining our diverse heritage of regional food and drink, and protecting it from unthinking globalisation, but are increasingly aware of the associated environmental issues.

"Read the Slow Food Manifesto - it sums it all up better than I can!

"What does Slow Food actually do?

· The local branch, or Convivium is the grassroots heart of Slow Food. It organises a variety of events such as tastings, dinners with a particular theme, and visits to places of food and drink interest. Education is an important purpose for a convivium - whether it be organising initiatives in schools, such as the school gardens project, or educating people about real food with taste! The convivium collects information about regional food and drink, whether it be good shops or restaurants, or food and drink products under threat - and passes on this information to Slow Food members worldwide. Conviviality and enjoying yourself are essential features of Slow Food membership! List of UK convivia here.

"· Members receive receive 'Snail Mail', the Slow Food UK quarterly newsletter, convivium newsletters and information about forthcoming Slow Food events and activities, as well as the 'Slow Food Companion' - a fascinating summary of everything that the Slow Food movement does, and other international publications. (The Slow Food Companion can be downloaded from here.)

"· Collectively Slow Food has initiatives ('the Ark of Taste' and the 'Presidia') designed to identify, preserve and protect threatened food and drink products, rare breeds or species. Examples of UK presidia include artisan Cheddar cheese hand-made in Somerset from unpasteurised milk, Three Counties Perry, and Old Gloucester Beef. More about Slow Food's biodiversity programmes.

"· Slow Food continues to develop taste education programmes for children and adults, including the new University of Gastronomic Sciences, established in Italy in 2003. It also campaigns to sustain quality agriculture and to maintain the biodiversity of our food supply. It does not restrict itself to the developed nations - Slow Food is active in promoting projects to sustain food production in the world's poorer countries."


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