Why the name Slow Food?
It’s an ironic way of saying no to fast food. Slow Food means living an unhurried life, beginning at the table.
Why the snail symbol?
The snail was chosen because it moves slowly and calmly eats its way through life. It also happens to be a culinary specialty in the area around the northern Italian city of Bra, where the Slow Food movement was born.
So how come Slow Food was born in Bra of all places?
Bra is the hometown of founder Carlo Petrini and is located in an area famous for its wines, white truffles, cheese and beef. Dining has traditionally been way of socializing all over Italy. This town proved to be the perfect incubator for the Slow Food movement.
Does Slow Food mean organic?
Slow Food supports the principles behind organic agriculture, such as promoting methods that have a low impact on the environment and reducing the use of pesticides. Yet Slow Food argues that organic agriculture, when practiced extensively, is similar to conventional monoculture cropping, hence that organic certification alone should not be considered a sure sign that a product is grown sustainably. Though most of the Slow Food Presidia practice organic techniques, very few are certified on account of the high costs of certification. To become Presidia, products must be consistent with the concepts of agricultural sustainability, while Slow Food works to ensure that they are ‘good, clean and fair’. In the next few years, the Foundation for Biodiversity aims to promote (and finance, where possible) the certification of Presidia products in cases in which this would broaden markets or increase earnings.
What is Slow Food’s position on genetically modified organisms?
While obviously not opposed to research by universities and public bodies, Slow Food is against the commercial planting of genetically modified crops. We are capable of transplanting a gene from one species to another, but we are not yet capable of predicting or containing the results, which could create a threat to our natural and agricultural biodiversity. Another problem with GM crop cultivation is its tendency to take the choice of what crops to grow out of farmers’ hands. When pollen from GM fields drifts miles down the road to pollinate conventional or organic fields, farmers unwittingly put labor and capital into harvesting crops they did not plant. Slow Food believes that all products containing genetically engineered ingredients should be accurately labeled to allow consumers to make educated buying decisions. Read more about Slow Food's campaign here.
What is Slow Food’s position on meat consumption?
Slow Food believes that responsible meat consumption means eating less meat, only eating meat from animals that have been raised with a high quality of life and paying a fair price for meat, reflective of the true cost of production that respects animal welfare. Slow Food’s consumer guide Too Much at Steak outlines good practices that can be applied to everyday life, when shopping, at home or in restaurants. Slow Food is strongly against factory farms and supports small-scale farming of heritage breeds and breeds at risk of being lost through the Slow Food Foundation projects.
Can anyone nominate a product for the Ark of Taste or are specific skills required?
Anyone can nominate a product. The goal of the Ark is to create a vast catalogue with contributions from many people to represent the planet’s edible diversity at risk of being lost. You do not need to be an expert, have particular skills or even be a Slow Food member. The only prerequisite is your interest in the product and commitment to do a little research. You many nominate a product from your own area, but also from other communities or towns; for example, a cheese, fruit variety or marmalade discovered during a trip or holiday. It is in our interest as citizens to protect food biodiversity, and this is the reason the Ark is designed to be open and accessible. All nominations will be assessed by the Ark Commission to gauge their suitability for inclusion. Find out more about nominating a product here.
How is Slow Food financed?
The international association receives most of its funding from membership fees and contributions from sponsors. Contributions from the Salone del Gusto and other international events provide funds, and revenue from merchandise and book sales also contribute to Slow Food’s financing. The seven Slow Food national associations receive membership fees, as well as additional funds from other sources, such as sponsors and institutions. Slow Food Italy, the oldest national association, boasts the most developed forms of fundraising, including the for-profit publishing house Slow Food Editore. Another Slow Food Italy for-profit branch is Slow Food Promozione, which organizes major events, sells advertising space in its publications and sources sponsors that comply with the Slow Food philosophy. In accordance with the statute, Slow Food Editore and Slow Food Promozione reinvest all income into the organization.
Does Slow Food have fundraising guidelines?
Yes. Slow Food follows fundraising guidelines designed to create long-term partnerships with donors and sponsors, based on mutual understanding and shared philosophy. Donors and sponsors cannot conduct activities that conflict with the movement’s philosophy, and Slow Food conserves total autonomy over its own choices and activities. The complete fundraising guidelines can be downloaded here.
Where does my membership fee go?
The membership fees are divided between the convivia and the various offices of Slow Food’s international headquarters, which provide membership benefits. On a local level, they are used to plan convivium activities. Internationally, they are used to fund projects for biodiversity. Once a national association is established, the membership fee goes to support it, while the national association, in turn, supports Slow Food International.
Can I use the Slow Food logo for my products or restaurant?
No, the Slow Food logo is a registered trademark and can be used only in connection with Slow Food’s national, international and convivium events. Guidelines for the use of the Slow Food logo can be downloaded here.