Activities with Producers
Slow Food collaborates with producers to support their work and raise their profile. In particular, the Presidia projects include many livestock farmers and dairy producers. These projects seek to add value to local breeds and traditional, artisanal raw milk cheeses and other dairy products at risk of extinction or undervalued by the market, as well as to support producers as they develop and improve. The production protocols adopted by all cheese Presidia producers specify the use of raw milk, no addition of industrial starter cultures, and livestock farming practices that correspond to the natural needs of the breed and respect animal welfare and the environment.
Ark of Taste
The Ark of Taste travels the world collecting foods that belong to the cultures, history, and traditions of the entire planet. It is an extraordinary heritage of fruits, vegetables, animal breeds, cheeses, breads, sweets, cured meats, and more. The Ark of Taste highlights the existence of these products and the risk of their disappearance within a few generations, and invites everyone to do something to save them. In some cases, products should be bought and eaten; sometimes their stories should be shared and producers supported; and in some cases, such as with endangered wild species, it might be better to eat less or none of them in order to preserve them and encourage their reproduction.
We promote the work of small-scale food producers who use good, clean and fair methods to rear their animals and to produce cheeses and other dairy products through our communication channels and at our events. The Narrative Label plays a particularly important role, providing consumers with all the information they need to make conscious choices and allowing producers to be more transparent.
Slow Food’s Earth Markets are farmers’ markets that follow guidelines (inserirei link linee guida) that reflect the Slow Food philosophy. They usually feature a wide array of fresh produce, preserves, meat, dairy products, eggs, honey, sweets, bread, oils, and beverages. All of the products on sale must meet specific quality criteria, in line with Slow Food’s principles of good, clean and fair. These community-run markets are important meeting places where local producers can offer healthy, quality food directly to consumers at fair prices and ensure environmentally sustainable production methods. They also preserve the food culture of the local community and help to protect biodiversity.
Slow Food Cooks’ Alliance
The Cooks’ Alliance is a network of professional cooks and chefs who are working to defend food biodiversity around the world. The cooks must commit to using as many ingredients as possible that are good, clean and fair, including cheeses and other dairy products made with raw milk and without industrial starter cultures from Slow Food projects (like the Presidia and the Ark of Taste) or from virtuous producers who respect the environment and animal welfare.
Every year the welfare of millions of animals farmed for their milk is seriously violated. Slow Food advocates for the need to introduce measures that ensure the wellbeing of farmed animals and supports those farmers who choose to improve their standards above and beyond what is required by national legislation. Slow Food is striving to ensure that animal welfare is fully recognized as an essential element in future strategies on the sustainability of the food system.
Climate change is the most complex challenge facing humanity and the planet, and intensive, industrial animal farming is one of the main causes. Slow Food is working with producers to measure and reduce the impact of production on the environment. In collaboration with INDACO2, a spin-off of the University of Siena, the environmental sustainability of some of the farms within the Slow Food network has been measured. Most of these farms belonged to Slow Food Presidia. The entire life cycle of specific products was analyzed and the results showed that the emissions generated by extensive, small-scale farms are in general much lower than for intensive, large-scale farms, and particularly that their emissions are often offset by plant cover. This vegetation acts as a carbon sink, and in some cases captures more carbon than the farm emits.