Breakfast via McDonald’s drive-through, lunch from vending machines, a microwave TV dinner at suppertime. For today’s harried and overworked urbanites, bolting tasteless, nourishment-bereft cardboard food is an everyday act of life. But it shouldn’t be, says Slow Food USA, an association of visionary Americans allied with the eco-gastronomic organization Slow Food International to “preserve dying culinary traditions, conserve natural biodiversity, and protect fading agricultural practices threatened in this age of mass consumerism.”
A Slow Food Way of Life
The Slow Food movement began in 1986 when McDonald’s announced plans to build a burger palace in Italy’s famed Piazza di Spagna in central Rome. Carlo Petrini, a journalist and head of Arcigola, the nonprofit food and wine association he co-founded, was so outraged that he organized a demonstration.
The result: McDonald’s built their Rome franchise, but yielded to pressure to remove its eyesore golden arches.
Heady with its first success, the Italian branch of Slow Food was born. Three years later, the Slow Food movement was founded in Paris and Slow Food USA followed in 2000. Today, Slow Food International has offices in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, New York, France, Japan and the United Kingdom, with more than 80,000 members in more than 100 countries spanning the globe. And what exactly is Slow Food all about? It’s a retaliation against the fast-food lifestyle. The organization holds events, activities and programs all over the world to encourage people to cook with regional foods. Read the organization’s Slow Food Manifesto.
Slow Food Convivia
Convivia (taken from the Latin word “convivium,” meaning “a feast, entertainment or banquet”) are Slow Food’s more than 850 local chapters, including more than 140 convivia in the United States. These local groups host events that spotlight food, beverages or processes native to their region. As part of the international group’s directives, each convivia also shares Slow Food’s philosophies with coming generations by establishing gardens in local school districts and instructing students in the art of raising and enjoying real food.
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