Slow Food

Major International Award

Netherlands - 09 Oct 02

AMSTERDAM, Oct. 7 – The 2002 Sicco Mansholt Prize was awarded to Slow Food, a worldwide movement committed to promoting the diversity of local and regional quality food produced and marketed in a way that guarantees farmers a fair price and protects the environment and the landscape.

The € 25,000 prize, which will be awarded bi-annually, is named after Sicco Mansholt (1908-1995), one of modern Europe’s founding fathers and its foremost agricultural leader. The prize seeks to stimulate inspiring, integrating and innovative ideas in the field of sustainable agriculture and a fair trade system. The Sicco Mansholt Prize will be presented on Nov. 7 in Brussels by Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission.

“The aims of the Slow Food Movement closely reflect the ideas of Sicco Mansholt,” said Arie van den Brand, the chairman of the jury. “Slow Food is all about preserving the environment by promoting the sustainable production of a rich variety in regional and local food. Like Mansholt, they have a profound understanding that the current agricultural system, with its emphasis on mass production, must change to stop the degradation of the environment

Founded in Italy in 1986, the Slow Food Movement now has 74,000 members in 50 countries. It is headquartered in Bra in the Italian province of Piemonte. One of Slow Food’s major projects is The Ark of Taste, a massive effort to rescue an increasingly endangered biodiversity. The aim is to identify and catalogue products, dishes and animals that are in danger of disappearing. Another important project is the Slow Food Award for the Defense of Biodiversity, which was first presented in 2000.

“A strong point of the Slow Food Movement is its firm commitment to preserving fragile rural ecosystems, coupled to an equally firm commitment to the consumer’s right to varied, safe, and healthy food,” said Van den Brand. “They understand that protecting diversity begins with offering a wide range of tastes and products to the consumer. Slow Food is working hard to persuade consumers to buy and enjoy such quality products. Such an attitude will support farmers in preserving and protecting diversity in agriculture, the landscape and the environment by producing food in a sustainable manner.”

And Van den Brand praised Slow Food’s “creative approach towards sustainability by using the power of the shopping bag and the cultural pleasure of enjoying great dishes.”

The runners-up for the 2002 Sicco Mansholt Prize were British scientist Prof. Jules Pretty, the Director of the Centre for Environment and Society at the University of Essex; and Swedish Seal, a co-operative of sustainable cereal farmers in Southern Sweden. Other candidates included British scientists Charles Perrings (University of York) and Kerry Turner (University of East Anglia), Swedish scientist Karl-Gustaf Löfgren (University of Umeå), Greek scientist Anastasios Xepapadeas (University of Crete), German researcher Hiltrud Nieberg (Institute of Farming Economics and Rural Studies, Braunschweig), as well as the Coopérative Agricole in Puiseaux, France.

They were judged by an international jury consisting of Arie van den Brand (Chairman, the Netherlands), David Baldock (United Kingdom), Alfredo Diana (Italy), Wouter van Dieren (the Netherlands), Henri Nallet (France) and Heinrich Wohlmeyer (Austria).