The positive ecological focus of the Slow Food movement is beginning to make its way across the U.S. Originating in Italy in the early 1980s, the Slow Food Movement identified and outlined the need for wholesome and natural foods in every country’s diet; it has helped thousands of people reach a consensus on what is acceptable fare for their dining table, as well as encouraging farmers and landowners to cultivate wholesome, nutritious, and organic food. Slow Food U.S.A. is a non-profit organization that is educating and teaching the principles of the Slow Food ‘Manifesto’ and introducing many people to the ideas of taste and optimum nutrition.
The state of our farms, resources for food, and nutritional education are important components of sustainable agriculture and consumer eating habits. The ecological ramifications of poorly cultivated and harmful practices in farming are apparent in today’s U.S. market. Overly processed food and daily diets lacking in essential nutrition are taking their toll on the nation’s health. Natural food cultivation practices and a move towards sustainable agriculture are highlighted through the Slow Food movement. Understanding respect for fertile land and encouraging farmers to use natural practices will help both consumers and growers in the long run.
Fertile soil is a commodity for agriculture sectors of the U.S., and without the means to enforce some regulation of how this land is used, many farmers are experiencing industrial problems and financial instability. As the nation moves toward organic appeal, many farmers are finding niche markets to cater to. The Slow Food Movement is instilling specific agricultural techniques, outlining resources, and encouraging communities to take part.
Consumers are taking part in the Slow Food Movement by cultivating their own kitchen gardens, enjoying natural home cooking, sampling new tastes and produce, sharing meals in gatherings, and searching for more nutritious alternatives to standard processed fare. The transitions over the past ten years have been media-driven to some extent with some positive results. There is a noticeable rise in the trend and demand for organic and ‘100% natural’ products. There is still a strong preference for local farmer’s markets, fresh produce, and identifying locally-grown food selections.
Many cities take part in organic food communities, neighborhoods, and encourage group farms that enable participants to grow a variety of produce. Making food from scratch is becoming more popular as consumers turn to gourmet, organic cuisine, and a fresh approach to meal time. The Slow Food Movement has helped organize a variety of local groups and communities in neighborhoods, where members can participate in educational conferences, seminars, and further learning of future farming trends.
This October, thousands of Slow Food enthusiasts will gather at Terra Madre in Turin, Italy for its global conference. According to the Terra Madre website www.terramadre2006.org, ‘1500 food communities from 5 continents, 50000 farmers, breeders, fishermen and traditional food producers, 10000 cooks and 200 universities’ will flock to the city for the event. The conference will involve discussions, workshops, and educational opportunities for a variety of industries. It will bring to light the current conditions an issues involved with the Slow Food Movement, and share research results from each group.
The Slow Food Movement has made considerable strides from its inception in the 1980s. Communities that take part encourage sustainable agriculture, consumer choices, and a turn towards home-based cooking and nutritious selection. Over the long-term, this may help with many of today’s health concerns and farming industries; supporting local agriculture is just one step in the right direction.