Promoted as an alternative to fast food, it strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds, and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem. It was the first established part of the broader slow movement. Its goals of sustainable foods and promotion of local small businesses are paralleled by a political agenda directed against globalisation of agricultural products
In other words,Slow Food is a global grassroots organisation that envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet. The agency involves over a million activists, chefs, experts, youth, farmers, fishers and academics in over 160 countries.
The current industrial model of agriculture underpinning the global food system is destroying itself – and humankind with it. This is the conclusion one could draw from a just-released report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) entitled State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture.
The report provides some alarming details of the irreversible and catastrophic damage being done to the planet’s biodiversity, specifically that which sustains the global food system.
It outlines humankind’s reliance on a small group of species, the destruction of habitat and land-clearing, and the unsustainable use of resources as key factors in the rapid loss of biodiversity that is tearing apart the living systems that feed the planet.
The FAO’s exhaustively researched report is the first of its kind, but its subject matter goes to the very heart of Slow Food’s mission.
Since 1996 Slow Food has been fighting and crusading for the need to save biodiversity on planet Earth, including creating the Ark of Taste – a catalogue of foods at risk of disappearance, which recently added its 5,000th product.
Slow Food is an organisation that promotes local food and traditional cooking. It was founded by Carlo Petrini in Italy in 1986 and has since spread worldwide. Promoted as an alternative to fast food, it strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds, and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem. It was the first established part of the broader slow movement. Its goals of sustainable foods and promotion of local small businesses are paralleled by a political agenda directed against globalization of agricultural products
Also included are creating 575 Presidia, empowering and supporting farmers and food producers who work in harmony with the environment and promote local biodiversity; and campaigning against the current destructive and unsustainable model of intensive industrial agriculture.
Slow Food has long been working with the FAO to develop food and agricultural systems that are better for consumers, producers, and the planet. In fact, Slow Food President Carlo Petrini is a FAO Zero Hunger Special Ambassador for Europe, which highlights the affinity between the two organisations.
Time is running out and, indeed, humankind must turn things around within the next ten years or risk a total and irreversible collapse.
This relies on combining modern knowledge and technology with its traditional counterparts as well as redefining our approach to agriculture and food production by placing the preservation of biodiversity and ecology on equal footing with profit and productivity.
Action on every level, from small-scale farmers and producers to the highest levels of government and through regulations like those in the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), must be geared towards a food system that protects biodiversity.
Despite the dire implications of the report, humankind should not lose hope that things can change: the success of Slow Food’s projects around the world are proof that through cooperation and community action, viable alternatives to the current situation can be built, that promote and protect biodiversity.
We must act together, and we must act now, to save our food, to save our planet, to save ourselves.