Slow Food was founded by Carlo PETRINI in 1986, becoming an international association in 1989. Currently with over 83,000 members around the world, the first chapter was opened in Italy, and with subsequent chapters opening in Germany and Switzerland, then in the United States of America, France and Japan, spreading to a total of 122 countries.
Slow Food intends to place the appropriate importance on the pleasure of eating, learning to enjoy a variety of recipes and flavours, as well as raise awareness of the varied places and sources of production and devices. By respecting both the rhythm of the seasons and of diners, the formula perfected by Carlo PETRINI and his collaborators balances dining pleasure and everyone’s right to enjoyment while assuming a new sense of responsibility. This attitude, denominated by Slow Food as eco-gastronomy, combines respect and the study of food and wine culture, along with supporting the many people in the world who defend food biodiversity.
Slow Food maintains that educating the taste buds is the best defence against mediocrity and fraud, as well as the best offensive against the “Macdonaldisation” of our food, safeguarding local cuisine, traditional production, and plant and animal species in danger of extinction. Slow Food aims to promote a new model of agriculture, less intensive and less polluting, which is based on local knowledge and each community’s savoir faire.
Today, it is the only organisation capable of offering even the poorest parts of the planet the chance to develop. To that end, Slow Food is committed to safeguarding food in all its facets, raw materials, local time-tested growing techniques and production. Along with and defending the biodiversity of farmed and wild plants, Slow Food intends to protect local cuisine as part of our heritage for its historic, artistic and social value.
KM ’0′ From farmer to plate
The Slow Food movement has spurred the creation of the Km. ’0′ network of restaurants, an initiative whereby member restaurants share the criteria of the Slow Food philosophy. The principle is to purchase directly from local farmers, using ingredients which have travelled less than 100 kilometres from their point of origin.
As Valenti MONTGAI, a Catalonian proponent of the Km. ’0′ network, says: “We try to cut out the middleman as much as possible, though not all of them, as some are still necessary. We’re not radicals. What we want is to buy directly from farmers so that they can earn a decent living”. He goes on to say that: “Km 0 chefs share the same philosophy. We’re eco-chefs, not because it’s in vogue, but out of conviction. Buying directly from the producer is a mutually enriching experience.”
Over 30 renowned Spanish chefs have joined this food and cultural project, committing to incorporating local products into their gastronomic creations according to a protocol which benefits the farmer, the chef and local culture. The Km ’0′ network is the starting point of a project to recuperate and promote the use of local products in the kitchen.
Slow Food works to preserve the idiosyncrasy and variety of local or regional cuisine, guaranteeing its survival and fighting against the homogeneity of food. “We need to respect all local and international cuisines, showing affection and being sensitive to one’s own territory. Despite globalisation, our focus is to preserve biodiversity by going local, otherwise we’ll lose part of our heritage”, states Mariano GOMEZ, President of Slow Food Spain.