More Problems with Slow Food
[This is the second article in a three-part series on Slow Food. If you missed part one, here’s the link.]
For those of you just tuning in, grab your shovels because we’re digging deep into the Slow Food movement. Founded in 1986 in Italy, Slow Food strives to “ensure everyone has access to good, clean and fair food.” By protecting rare varieties threatened by agricultural homogenization and teaching consumers to eat with pleasure and appreciation, the Slow Food movement hopes to bring some sanity back to our over-industrialized monocultural farming and “fast food” eating habits.
The movement’s name, which has since been adopted for all sorts of anti-globalist/ industrial/ capitalist revolutions (Slow Cities, Slow Travel, Slow Fashion, even Slow Reading), was first presented as an alternative to “fast food” and the “fast life.” The idea was to embrace slowness in every sense of the word. For Slow Food, this means that farmers should take their time to grow high-quality organic produce using traditional methods; cooks and producers should take the time to seek these products at local markets and farms; and consumers should take the time to carefully prepare these products and eat them with all their senses, savoring each bite.
Slow Food is about respecting food for its cultural and historical value as well as its taste. It’s a rejection of a capitalist mentality to nourishment, a mentality that prioritizes efficiency, price, and rate of return without emotion. It’s a rejection of fast and cheap, as if one’s daily bread was simply gasoline to run the human engine.
This recognition of food as intricately woven into our identities and humanity attracted me to the Slow Food movement in the first place.
People eat for so many more reasons than simple nutrients, yet food-based NGOs and think tanks typically discuss food almost clinically, a system to be optimized for biological health and environmental sustainability. Rarely do they bother to discuss food for its taste, cultural implications, and community building. That’s why I first turned to Slow Food in seek of another approach.