The Slow Food Movement is an international organisation involved in projects from over 160 countries including New Zealand (NZ).
Founded in Italy in 1986, the Slow Food Movement (SFM) is dedicated to defend regional traditions, good food, gastronomic pleasure and a slow place of life. Its aim is to promote food that is good, clean and fair (the philosophy of the SFM).
Good: quality, flavoursome and healthy food
Clean: production that does not harm the environment
Fair: accessible prices for consumer and fair conditions and pay for the producers
Involves adopting a slower pace of life and should not be confused with slow-cooker (crockpot) cooking an electronic cooking device that was invented to cook things slowly
Is dedicated to making connections between people, planet and plate; meaning that it looks at where the food comes from, how it is sourced, and other factors that bring it to the kitchen table
It is also home to other branches that make up the organisation that include
* Terra Madre
* Ark of Taste
* Slow food Presidia
* And Slow food for Biodiversity.
Williams in her article Around the Clock explains. “In nearly every place in Earth, life pulses with the daily rhythm and as the sun rises over the savannah, plants spread their leaves, and animals blink open their eyes, in towns and cities, people wake to alarm clocks and read the morning news. These routines of life are more than a habit and convenience; deeply rooted biological programmes in a programme called a circadian rhythm. The circadian system is attached to pretty much anything it’s ticking away in almost every tissue in the human body and in plants too- including major food crops” (Williams, 2014).
While many of us are prone to running around darting around the house, getting breakfast made, waking the children up, getting dressed and out the door, dropping children off at school, waiting in traffic to go to work, getting to work, many of us feel that there are not enough hours in the day to fulfill everything that we wish to do.
The Slow Food Movement does not discourage this but ask that people slow things down slightly by taking time to adopt a slightly less hectic pace of life while living life fully and with less stress.
Movimento Slow, an online website suggests the key lies in finding the right pace for each part of our daily race. We should be able to run when it is necessary and cope with the feared stress that too many a time is upon us; however, we should also be able to know when to stop and enjoy an extended present which too often ends up in the near future duties. “The Slow movement was first seen as an idea for people who like to eat and drink well, but not it’s become a much broader cultural discussion about benefits of doing things in a more human, less frantic manner. It is not easy to swim against the tide, but we think it is the best way to administer a city with the Slow philosophy” (Honorẻ, 2004, p.76).
Back in 2014 when I wrote this Research report for my final paper in my degree I discovered that the Slow Food movement was connected with Biodiversity.
What is Biodiversity?
Biological Biodiversity or Biodiversity as it is known is the “variability among other organisms from all sources including inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems (Convention on Biological Diversity) Components include:
The varied genetic makeup of individuals of a single species
The variety of species within an particular geographic area, such as the insects, plants, birds, fish and bacteria living in a wetland.
The variety of ecosystem types such as forests, wetlands, lakes and oceans and the communities living in them. These communities interact with each other as well as the rest of their environmental Diversity.
How does the Slow food movement connect to biodiversity?
Commitment to the planet is one of the movement’s key goals. SF recognises that everything that starts off in the world has a beginning and an end, beginning with plants, species and human beings. As time goes by, many of these species become extinct leaving the species vanishing. Edward Wilson believes that over two hundred and fifty thousand species are no longer around and that these species will continue to phase out as the worlds population continues to grow. His argument lies in that over three species an hour will vanish, making it around twenty seven thousand varieties of plants disappearing a year.
To prevent this the S F movement intends to look after the biodiversity in the world and to “raise awareness that in the world of small-scale producers, the sustainable management of wild biodiversity is also key, whether they be managed fish stocks or semi-natural pastures and meadows” (Biodiversity: What is it? Terra Madre, Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, n.d.).
Figures from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) argue that seventy five percent of the world’s plant genetic diversity has been lost.
Thirty percent of livestock breeds risk extinction, that’s six breeds a month, only four percent of the world’s known edible plant species are known.
Human beings use one hundred to two hundred plants and thirty percent of animals to provide food and nourishment, including twelve percent of which the human race is dependent on ruminants of products.
Therefore another of the major aims of the SFM is to protect biodiversity taking care of foods that may be native or local to each individual country. Projects are coordinated so that they defend local food traditions, protect food communities, preserve food biodiversity and promote quality artisanal products, with an increasing focus on the global south.
The SFM’s first proposed plan is to look after domestic biodiversity. Domestic biodiversity raises awareness of native products that are unique and are a special part of a country and its environment. SF also stress that all plants and domestic animals have an origin, that is, a starting pointing in which they have began their journeys.
An example of this could be the one of the world’s most popular vegetables – the Potato (papas criollas). Originally from South America, the potato is one of the world’s most favourite vegetables (other favourites include corn, rice and wheat). This versatile vegetable is found worldwide and can be cooked in many different ways and eaten in a variety of diverse dishes. Captain James Cook was said to have taken the potato with him when he travelled and when he left New Zealand, he gave some to the Maori people so they could grow their own. There are many varieties of potato that have origins around the world.
The SFM recognise this by explaining how these vegetables like other plants and vegetables have been integrated throughout territories and communities and influencing culinary traditions, such as Bubble and Squeak from the United Kingdom, Duchess Potatoes from France, the infamous French-fries from the United States just to name a few. Agriculture history, gives us “rise to thousands of varieties and breeds that are an expression of the culture diversity and the ecology of a territory, which in tune, have given birth to a great diversity of gastronomy. A diversity shown through shapes, tastes, scents, colours, recipes, preparations and rituals; a fundamental richness to protect the culture of a community, but also to guarantee a diet that is varied, enjoyable and healthy” (Biodiversity in Terra Madre, Slow Food, n.d.).
The Ark of Taste, which is a part of the Biodiversity in the S F Movement, is dedicated to be a catalogue of international endangered foods that are monitored and maintained in order to protect the food from extinction. Together with The Presidia the two branches work together in order to defend rare animals and plants to ensure that they are not lost. The movement also has developed Slow Food Gardens and Earth Markets (also known as Farmers markets) to bring together small-scale farmers and consumers around the world.
 Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
 Preserve biodiversity: Slow Food fights to preserve food biodiversity in all corners of the world.
In this entry I wanted to introduce people to the Slow Food Movement as something to consider as part of our future. The Slow Food Movement has become a lifestyle in which we are making connections to the source and where our food comes from, how it is grown, the people that grow the food and the cultural and political elements that surround it so it is good, clean and fair. Slow food is all about supporting our local growers, what is available to us in our own country and shopping locally for our food choices. Another great way of supporting Slow food is to grow your own and minimising things such as pesticides, fertilizers etc so we know exactly what it going into our food that we make.
Copyright © Richelle Bremner