Protesting through pasta
The Slow Food movement came to life over three decades ago at the base of the Spanish Steps in Rome. A new fast food franchise was planned for the historic site and activists shared bowls of pasta on the street. “We don’t want fast food,” they declared, “we want slow food!”
Since then, Slow Food has grown into a global movement involving millions of people in over 160 countries working to ensure access to good, clean and fair food for all. That means good quality food that is delicious and healthy, using clean production practices that do not harm the environment, and accessible prices for consumers alongside fair conditions and pay for producers.
Slow Food USA includes 150 local chapters throughout the country and national working groups that are deeply rooted in the celebration of food culture, built around what is good for the environment and for people — both as eaters and workers in a broken feed system.
At the national level, Slow Food focuses on campaigns, events like our national Slow Food Nations festival, and partnerships with unlikely allies.
Telling the Slow Food Story
The goal of Slow Food USA campaigns is to tell the stories of our multi-cultural foodways, to increase awareness of and care for biodiversity in an at-risk landscape and to encourage and enable people to make intentional food choices. The first of our campaigns in the year is the spring Plant a Seed campaign.
Plant a Seed is designed to benefit school, community and urban gardens by the stories of the seeds — where some of our most beloved agricultural products came from, how they got here and who knows them best. Slow Food put together a physical kit that contains lesser-known seeds and the tools to teach young people about the importance of biodiversity and the power and potential of growing your own food.
Through the campaign, Slow Food tells the story of how the fish pepper found its way to the South on slave ships only to be enthusiastically taken up as a crown jewel of some Southern cuisine. The story illustrates the way in which biodiverse products are not only important to environmental wellness but also carry cultural and historical significance. The culture and history tied to these products also serves to shed light on groups and people that have not historically been given credit where credit is due. Foodways and food stories can be a potent way to humanize people and recognize the significant contributions that have been made to our culture and landscape as we know it.
Roadmap for 2020
Slow Food USA will launch the 2020 Plant a Seed campaign in late February. They will host an Eat Local campaign in the summer that will focus on producers — the farmers, ranchers and fisherfolk that are growing and raising good, clean and fair food — and how we as eaters can make choices that support the viability of these producers. In the fall, they’ll host the 4th annual Slow Food Nations food festival in Denver, CO, which will bring people together from all around the country and the world to learn, collaborate and grow this Slow Food movement. And near the end of this next year, they’ll bring the focus back to celebrating food culture and tradition with a new Food Heritage Project.
Slow Food is, at its core, a grassroots organization that is about people. Their work in this next year is focused on a bottom-up approach to making things happen and recognizing the needs, stories and ambitions of individuals and activists, and using that energy to drive efforts. This work is made possible by the support of members and partners and the incredible efforts of local chapters. If you are interested in engaging in the Slow Food movement, you can get involved in your local chapter, join in campaigns, attend events or support Slow Food through your business. The food system is changing, one seed at a time, and the collective energy and action of conscious eaters is vital to keeping that change moving forward and in the right direction.