A timeline charting the growth of Slow Food from a local protest movement against the disappearance of local food traditions to a global movement fighting to ensure that everyone has access to good, clean and fair food.
Slow Food springs to life in Rome, Italy in March 1986, when the opening of a fast food restaurant near the Spanish Steps sparks widespread national protest. This symbolic arrival of homogenization in a place so rich in history and culture convinces Carlo Petrini and the other founders of the movement that it is time to act, and so the Slow Food movement is born.
Slow Food officially becomes an international movement when leading Italian cultural figures and representatives from 14 other countries sign the Slow Food Manifesto “For the Defense of and the Right to Pleasure” at the Opéra Comique in Paris.
The Italian city of Turin hosts the first edition of Salone del Gusto: a biennial international fair dedicated to small-scale food producers producing high-quality products reflecting their local culinary traditions. The event is also the occasion for the launch of a flagship project, the Ark of Taste, a global catalog of food biodiversity at risk of extinction due to the pressure of the industrial food system and the standardization of diets.
The first edition of Cheese is held in Bra, Italy. This biennial fair is dedicated to raw milk cheese and dairy products, and all the biodiversity they represent: from the plants in the pastures to the animal breeds that graze there, and from the microbial life in the milk to the diversity of know-how on milk transformation.
The flagship Presidia program is launched as an extension of the Ark of Taste which goes even further in guaranteeing the survival and success of small-scale quality food products. These grassroots initiatives bring together farmers, fishers and food artisans who produce local food at risk of extinction. These projects mark the movement’s first foray into the production process, and put Slow Food philosophy on agriculture and biodiversity into practice.
The first world meeting of food communities, Terra Madre, is held in Italy, bringing together 5000 delegates from 130 different countries. Terra Madre is the first international event that puts small-scale producers center-stage, giving a voice to those whose approach to food production protects the environment and communities. Terra Madre thus becomes a springboard for work on social justice by the Slow Food movement worldwide.
Slow Food founds the University of Gastronomic Sciences, the world’s first learning institute dedicated entirely to the multidisciplinary study of food and food culture.
Slow Food launches its slogan: good, clean and fair food for all. This marks a further evolution of the movement, now adding the principle of social justice to the pleasure of food and the protection of the environment. Find the full definition in the Slow Food Manifesto for Quality
To reflect the international dimension of Slow Food, the 5th International Slow Food Congress is held in Puebla, Mexico. The Declaration of Puebla is ratified as a pledge to continue the journey started 18 years earlier, and notes how the organization’s mission has evolved since the 1st Congress in 1989: having moved “from food to soil, from pleasure to justice, from quality to daily shopping, from the promotion of products to equal dignity for cultural diversity.”
The Cooks’ Alliance is launched, which counts over a thousand members globally, all of whom are restaurateurs upholding the Slow Food philosophy in their kitchens, often through the use of Ark of Taste or Presidia ingredients.
Slow Food launches its Gardens in Africa initiative, which involves local agronomists and communities in promoting agroecology through food gardens in schools, communities and families. Through this initiative, Slow Food meets Edward Mukiibi, who will later rise to the role of Slow Food President. In the years since its launch, the initiative has reached tens of thousands of people throughout more than 20 African countries.
Slow Food explores the development of networks that transcend geographical borders, with Indigenous food communities from around the world coming together at the first edition of Indigenous Terra Madre in Jokkmokk, Sweden. The event aims to inspire participants to lead efforts to preserve the traditional knowledge held by Indigenous Peoples, and to promote Food Sovereignty.
Slow Food hosts a pavilion at Expo 2015 in Milan, Italy, with exhibitions on biodiversity, vegetable gardens, raw milk cheeses and wine. As part of Expo, from October 3-6 the “We Feed The Planet” event organized by Slow Food brings 2500 young farmers across the world together to shape the future of food.
Slow Food convinces the Italian government to ban the use of powdered milk in cheese production: a first in Europe. The European Commission has since put pressure on Italy to remove the law, while Slow Food continues to campaign to extend it to other countries.
The 7th International Slow Food Congress, in China, marks the beginning of the radical renewal of the organization, with a focus on greater inclusivity and new forms of involvement and participation.
Slow Food publishes “A Call To Action”, a strategic roadmap that systematizes our work, measuring and leveraging our impact to create a better world. To this end, the network’s activities unite around three pillars of action: to defend biological and cultural diversity, to educate, mobilize and inspire citizens, and to influence policies in the public and private sector through advocacy.
The 8th International Slow Food Congress, held in Italy, ratifies a change to the movement’s legal entity from a membership based organization to a foundation of participants, opening it up to a broader participation of individuals as well as of public and private entities. The international representatives of the movement elect a new board. After 33 years as its President, Carlo Petrini steps down. He is succeeded by Edward Mukiibi, an agronomist from Uganda.
Slow Food and other representatives of the “Save Bees and Farmers” European citizens’ initiative (ECI) presented their citizen-backed demands for pesticide reduction at the European Parliament. The hearing marked the peak of a two-year long campaign which gathered 1.1 million signatures across the continent.
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