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The pleasure of food

thepleasureoffoodMealtime in most homes is a rushed affair – being green is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re shoveling the food down. The “slow food” movement aims to change that.

The principles of the slow food movement are that everyone has the right to good food, that food production should not damage the planet, and that food workers should be treated fairly.

The movement is represented in the United States by Slow Food USA, a nonprofit with 225 chapters nationwide http://www.slowfoodusa.org/

The organization and its chapters are involved in a number of activities, such as raising public awareness of food-related environmental issues, caring for the land, identifying wild foods and cooking traditions that are at risk of disappearance, and advocating for farmers and other food workers.

“Slow Food promotes what we call good, clean, and fair, food,” says Jenny Best, the organization’s spokesperson. “In other words, food that is good for you, good for the environment, and good for our farmers and workers. We aim to link the pleasure of food with the commitment to the environment and our communities.”

Slow Food USA Programs
Best explains that Slow Food has a variety of programs to further these goals:
Biodiversity: Slow Food’s Ark of Taste http://www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/programs/details/ark_of_taste/  program helps promote and protect the diversity of animal and plant species, supports small-scale producers in this work, and increase overall consumer knowledge of the impact of their choices on the environment.

Sustainable Seafood: The Slow Fish http://www.slowfood.com/slowfish/ campaign increases the awareness of the environmental impact of consumers’ fish choices. Supporting traditional fishing methods over large commercial methods is one aspect of the Slow Fish campaign. For example, Slow Fish supports the Slow Fish Genoa http://slowfish.slowfood.it/en/ program, which teaches participants about the environmental value of “artisanal” fishing methods.

Gardens: The slow food movement encourages gardening in many forms, and Slow Food USA promotes this by providing tips on how to start a school garden, grow things in limited spaces, and more. A more ambitious undertaking is A Thousand Gardens in Africa http://www.slowfood.com/terramadreday/pagine/eng/pagina2.lasso?-id_pg=113 which aims to create sustainable gardens across Africa.

Slow Food USA’s local chapters bring the slow food concepts closer to home. The Chicago chapter http://www.slowfoodchicago.org/, for example, sponsors meals to bring like-minded people together; runs a directory of Chicago restaurants and other food establishments that espouse the slow food ideals; and sponsors a garden in the North Lawndale neighborhood. To find a chapter in your area, click here: http://www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/local_chapters/

Slow food is not only for people who choose to join the official Slow Food USA organization, of course. The concepts – such as eating locally produced food, paying attention to how food workers are treated, and buying sustainable seafood – can be practiced by anyone.


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