Working With Producers
Slow Food stands alongside producers, to support their work and give them visibility. The Slow Food Presidia projects in particular involve many farmers, meat and dairy producers. These projects aim to promote local breeds, traditional and artisanal products and practices at risk of extinction or undervalued by the market, and support producers through a process of growth and improvement. Production protocols adopted by all Presidia producers have, for many years, been based on methods of animal husbandry that correspond to the natural needs and behaviors that characterize each breed, and that are respectful of the animals’ welfare.
Ark of Taste
The Ark of Taste travels the world collecting small-scale, quality products that belong to the cultures, history, and traditions of the entire planet. The Ark was created to point out the existence of these products, draw attention to the risk of their extinction within a few generations, and invite everyone to take action to help protect them. In some cases this might be by buying and consuming them, in some by telling their story and supporting their producers, and in others, such as the case of endangered wild species, this might mean eating less or none of them in order to preserve them and favor their reproduction.
The work of small-scale producers that employ good, clean and fair methods in feeding and raising their animals is promoted through our communication channels and at our events. The Narrative Label project in particular plays a very important role in providing consumers with the necessary information to make informed choices and allows producers to be more transparent.
Earth Markets are farmers’ markets that have been established according to guidelines that follow the Slow Food philosophy. Earth Markets usually include a wide range of fresh produce, preserves, meat and dairy products, eggs, honey, sweets, bread, oil, and beverages. All produce must meet specific quality criteria, reflecting the Slow Food principles of good, clean and fair. These community-run markets are important social meeting points, where local producers offer healthy, quality food directly to consumers at fair prices and guarantee environmentally sustainable methods. In addition, they preserve the food culture of the local community and contribute to defending biodiversity.
Slow Food Cooks’ Alliance
The Slow Food Cooks’ Alliance project is a network of chefs who defend food biodiversity around the world. The chefs must commit to using as many good, clean and fair foods as possible, products which could be linked to Slow Food projects (such as the Presidia, the Ark of Taste, food communities, or Earth Markets) or come from virtuous producers who respect the environment and animal welfare.
Each year the welfare of millions of animals raised for their meat, milk, and eggs is seriously compromised. Slow Food stresses that it is necessary to introduce measures that take animal welfare into consideration by supporting farmers who choose to improve their standards beyond those required by national laws. Slow Food will strive for the full recognition of animal welfare as an element in future strategies on the sustainability of the food system.
Climate change is the most complex challenge facing humanity and the planet, and industrial meat production is one of its biggest causes. Slow Food is working with producers to measure and reduce the impact of production on the environment. In collaboration with INDACO2, INDicatori e CO2, a spin-off of the University of Siena, the environmental sustainability of some farms in the Slow Food network, most of which belong to the Slow Food Presidia, has been evaluated, analyzing the entire life cycle of certain products. The results show that the emissions generated by extensive and small-scale farms are in general much lower and, in particular, their emissions are offset by the presence of plant cover on the farms. Vegetation acts as a carbon sink (carbon uptake) and, in some cases, captures more carbon than the farm emits.