Slow Down with Slow Food
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Slow Food Gatherings
Meaning “Mother Earth,” this Slow Food program is a network of more than 5,000 sustainable food producers in 130 countries. It’s the moving force behind a gathering by the same name held in Turin, Italy, every fall. At the first conference in 2006, 6,500 producer-attendees from around the globe exchanged ideas and techniques about local food and participated in more than 60 “Earth Workshops.”
Salone del Gusto
Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity
The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity was founded in 2003 to organize and fund projects that defend the world’s agricultural biodiversity and gastronomic traditions. It also oversees two of Slow Food’s most noteworthy projects.
The Ark of Taste
This comprehensive and expanding list of more than 500 rare, often nearly extinct foods. Every participating country’s Ark commission selects food products for the Ark based on taste, rarity, whether it can be sustainably produced, and if it’s culturally or historically linked to a specific region, ethnic group or traditional production practice.
Slow Food Presidia
It provides practical assistance to farmers and artisan producers working with Ark-listed products. Presidia defends food and beverages on the brink of extinction, mainly through establishing workable guidelines for producers, consumer education and marketing assistance. It also makes direct financial contributions to developing nations where conserving biodiversity is a primary way to save lives and preserve local cultures.
Slow Food’s carnival of tastes, is held every even-numbered year in conjunction with Terra Madre. During the 2006 five-day festival, more than 150,000 visitors surveyed the food of 600 international Slow Food producers, sampled thousands of artisan wines, attended several hundred “Taste Workshops” and participated in Slow Tour culinary excursions into the surrounding Piedmont countryside.
Slow Food Festivals
Slow Food International hosts two additional Slow Food festivals in Italy: Cheese, a biennial cheese fair in Bra, and Slow Fish in Genoa. In addition, international branches hold sanctioned events such as Slow Bier in Münchburg, Germany; A Taste of Slow in Melbourne, Australia; Slow Food International Weekend in Ireland; and Urban Harvest in New York City.
Slow Food USA
Twelve thousand members strong and growing, Slow Food USA works hard to preserve and promote food traditions that helped mold America’s cultural identity.
Slow Food USA’s mission is to help American consumers make better food choices, with an emphasis on buying natural, organic products produced locally at farmers’ markets, through community supported agriculture (CSA) programs and direct from the grower or producer.
Slow Food USA maintains the American Ark of Taste, a comprehensive listing of local foods from Alaskan Birch syrup to Wyandotte chickens. It is part of Slow Food USA’s popular RAFT (Renewing America’s Food Traditions) program, which bills itself as America’s first eco-gastronomic, conservation project.
RAFT was created when groups concerned with America’s vanishing agricultural and cultural biodiversity came together to document America’s endangered foods. Their goal is to preserve and promote the foods through carefully managed restoration programs, producer workshops and clinics, and vigorous public outreach.
Slow Food USA invites you to visit its website and investigate their many programs. To learn more about what membership includes, visit Slow Food USA.
About the Author: Sue Weaver and her husband live in the Arkansas Ozarks where they raise an heirloom vegetable garden, wildcraft native edibles and herbs, and keep a wide variety of animal friends for companionship (not meat), including dairy goats and a small battery of heritage laying hens.
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