The Slow Food movement started in Italy in 1989 as a protest against the opening of a McDonald’s in Rome. The movement’s founder, Carlo Petrini, sought to fight industrial ‘fast food’ eating and remind consumers not only of the joys of eating, but of where their food comes from. Slow Food, now an international association with over 85 000 members in 132 countries, proposes responsibility on the part of the consumer- something they’ve termed ‘ecogastronomy’.
The movement is committed to safeguarding local and traditional foods and methods of preparation, to educating about the risks of fast food, factory farming, agribusiness and monoculture, to promoting ‘taste education’, to lobbying against use of pesticides, to teaching students and prisoners gardening skills, to developing political programs to preserve family farms and to encouraging ethical buying practices in the marketplace.
Just recently, Slow Food USA hosted the inaugural Slow Food Nation in San Francisco. Founded by Alice Water, one of the most influential American chefs and one of the earliest champions of the organic and local food movements, it was the largest celebration of American Food in history, with about 60 000 people in attendance.