What follows is a brief excerpt from the first chapter of the forthcoming edition of the Slow Food Companion, the publication that offers an overview of the movement’s philosophy, organization, events and activities. Here we see how ‘slow’ thinking has developed from the foundation of Slow Food to the present day.
GOOD, CLEAN AND FAIR
History of an idea
From eno-gastronomy to eco-gastronomy
Slow Food was founded as an ‘eno-gastronomic’ (wine and food) association by food activist Carlo Petrini in the small northern Italian town of Bra in 1986. Its initial aim was to defend good food and gastronomic pleasure, hence to support a slower pace of life. It then broadened its sights to embrace issues such as the quality of life and, as a logical consequence, the very survival of the imperiled planet that we live on.
From eco-gastronomy to neo-gastronomy
Slow Food believes in a ‘new gastronomy’: gastronomy as freedom of choice, as education, as a science that enables us to live our lives as well as possible, using the resources available to us analyzes pleasure’.
From local to global
Slow Food now boasts 86,000 members in 130 countries, with offices in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the USA, France, Japan and the United Kingdom.
From quality of food to quality of life
Slow Food is committed to protecting traditional foods, primary ingredients, conserving methods of cultivation and processing, and defending the biodiversity of cultivated and wild varieties.
Slow Food says the only type of agriculture that can offer development prospects, especially for the poorest regions of the world, is one based on the wisdom of local communities in harmony with the surrounding ecosystem.
Slow Food protects places of historic, artistic or social value that form part of our food heritage, acknowledging the history and culture of every social group as it interacts within a broader network of reciprocal exchange.
Slow Food is a neo-gastronomical movement and its members are neo-gastronomes.
A neo-gastronome has a responsible, holistic approach to food.
A neo-gastronome combines an interest in food and wine culture with a desire to defend food and agricultural biodiversity around the world.
A neo-gastronome is a person for whom eating is …
* not only a biological necessity, but also a convivial pleasure to be shared with others.
* a responsible form of consumption that exerts a direct effect on the market, hence on food production.
* an active way to protect biodiversity and promote sustainable agriculture.
Eating is, in short, an agricultural act. Informed as they are about how food is produced and who produces it, eco-gastronomes don’t see themselves as consumers, but as co-producers. For them, food should be good, clean and fair.
Good… tasty and flavorsome, fresh, capable of stimulating and satisfying the senses.
Clean… produced without straining the earth’s resources, its ecosystems and its environments.
Fair… respectful of social justice, meaning fair pay and conditions for all concerned — from production to commercialization.
By training our senses to understand and appreciate the pleasure of food, we also open our eyes to the world.