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International NGO

Mother Earth’s food diversity

by Rabson Kondowe

In brief

Slow Food is a global grassroots organisation, which was founded in 1989 by Carlo Petrini in Italy. It is currently active in 160 countries.

Slow Food argues that we all should know where our food comes from, how it is produced and how our food choices affect the world around us. After all, food relates to many other aspects of life – including culture, politics, agriculture and the environment. The triple purpose of Slow Food is therefore to:

  • stimulate people’s interest in the food they eat,
  • stem the disappearance of local food cultures and
  • put a break on the acceleration of people’s pace of life.

As the choice of name suggests, Slow Food opposes the spread of fast food, especially as promoted by many international retail chains. Indeed, those products tend to include unhealthily high portions of sugar, fat and salt. The clever alternative, according to the international non-governmental organisation, is to preserve traditional and regional cuisine. Accordingly, it encourages the farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of local ecosystems. This approach does not only support diversity in a biological sense, since a broad range of small businesses and farms benefit. The primary concern is food quality, not quantity. At the same time, Slow Food opposes overproduction and food waste.

In 2004, Slow Food started a network called Terra Madre (“Mother Earth”), which links people interested in taking an alternative approach to gastronomy. The idea is to protect biodiversity and foster respect for local cultures. While local food cultures are very diverse, the threats they are exposed to are the same all over the world, the activists argue, and the solutions are surprisingly similar.

Slow Food’s international headquarters is in Bra, a small town in northern Italy. The organisation claims to have 100,000 members around the world.


LINKS

Slow Food:
https://www.slowfood.com/

Terra Madre:
https://www.terramadre.info/en/

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