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Biodiversity Life Itself

Biodiversity, the combination of the ecosystems and living beings-animals and vegetables-that populate our planet,
  • is vital for the survival of the human race and the attainment of food security;
  • is one of the foundations of human existence, to which it supplies essentials such as food, fibres, air, water and so on;
  • allows agriculture and agricultural techniques, harvesting and processing methods, cooking, food consumption and convivial rites to develop and evolve;
  • is closely bound up with community identity;
  • allows nature to survive by adapting to environmental and climate change.

Slow Food has always promoted the defence of biodiversity, focusing its attention not only on wild species, but also on domestic species (the fruit of thousands of years of selection by peasant and pastoral communities) and traditional processed products (the fruit of knowledge handed down from generation to generation).


Today biodiversity, without which nature would be bound for extinction, is seriously threatened by intensive and industrialised agricultural systems, pollution, overbuilding and the workings of the global market. Not to mention by the spread of genetically modified organisms.

For millennia, about 10,000 species were used for human nutrition and agriculture. Today just 90 percent of human food comes from 120 species and only 12 plant species and five animal breeds provide more than 70% of all human food.
It is estimated that, in the last century, three quarters of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops disappeared. 

A third of native cattle, sheep and pig breeds are now extinct or on the verge of extinction and many traditional processed foods-breads, cured meats, cheeses and so on-run the same risk. 

From the environmental, economic, social and cultural points of view, these are colossal losses. 

Slow Food helps protect biodiversity by promoting knowledge (mapping of traditional products, native breeds and local vegetable varieties and ecotypes) and supporting supply chains (cultivation, breeding, processing).

Check out the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity

Position document
On biodiversity


Do the Slow Food Presidia Represent an Opportunity for the Future of the Mountains?


Slow Food Presidia in Europe:
A Model of Sustainability


Inventory and assessment of good practices on the role of small-scale farmers in the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems


Speech given by the Secretary General of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity at Slow Food's 6th International Congress.



Focus on

Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe
Belgium | 03/07/2014
The European Commission has adopted the Communication "Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe" to establish a common and coherent EU framework to promote the circular economy.

Find out more here.

Slow Food Italy Comments on the Start of Italy’s Six-Month European Presidency
Belgium | 02/07/2014
“Italy’s presidency of the European Union will undoubtedly be a unique occasion for our country to set the pace on important issues, firstly the regulations on seeds and GMOs, but also animal welfare and the right to food,” said Gaetano Pascale, the president of Slow Food Italy. “That’s why we are sending our best wishes to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his team. We hope Italy will leave its mark on the future of Europe, bringing important reforms for the economy and policies on agriculture, energy and immigration. We also hope to see the creation of a Common Agricultural Policy that takes a holistic approach to the food system, contributing to the fight against waste, the protection of biodiversity and greater support for the role of local producers and consumers. Renzi said that he hopes Europe will find its soul. We at Slow Food are ready to work hard every day to help that happen.”

What is the impact of neonicotinoids on biodiversity and ecosystems?
United Kingdom | 27/06/2014

This video highlights the results of the Worldwide Integrated Assessment report on the use of neonicotinoids and provides a comprehensive, independent analysis on the use of systemic pesticides and their consequences.

EU: Yes to “Mountain Product” Designation
Belgium | 25/06/2014
The European Union has said yes. And now the European farmers and food producers who work and live in the mountains,...

Feeding the 5000!
Belgium | 16/06/2014
Back in April, Feeding the 5000 landed in Brussels, bringing a strong message against food waste to town. Slow Food and the Slow Food Youth Network were partners of the event.

Check out the video below to find out more about the day and all the partners involved.

Slow Europe

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