What is Slow Food?

Slow Food is food that we’ve thought about and appreciate for a number of reasons including that it is preferably local, sustainably produced and doesn’t harm the planet.  It is food that’s good for us, good for our environment and good for the people who grow, pick and prepare it. In other words, food that is good, clean and fair. In many ways, Slow Food is opposite from fast food. It is fresh and healthy, free of pesticides and chemicals, and produced and accessed in a way that’s beneficial to all – from the farmer to the eater.

The slow food movement actively promotes biodiversity and the protection of endangered species for future generations. Taste education and appreciation of taste is an important aspect of Slow Food.

Why the name Slow Food?

It’s a way of saying no to the rise of fast food and fast life. Slow Food means living an unhurried life, taking time to enjoy simple pleasures, starting at the table.

Why the snail symbol?

The snail was chosen because it moves slowly, calmly eating its way through life. It also happens to be a culinary specialty in the area around the northern Italian town of Bra, where the Slow Food movement was born.

What’s the history of Slow Food?

In 1986, McDonald’s wanted to open a franchise at the base of the Spanish Steps in Rome. Italians, led by a young journalist, Carlo Petrini, were extremely displeased and concerned about the threat to regional, traditional foods and recipes. They protested. Instead of just waving signs and chanting, they brought a big bowl of penne pasta and handed it out to the crowd that gathered. People shared a meal at the Spanish Steps and began chanting “we don’t want fast food, we want Slow Food.” That gathering was the foundation for the birth of the Slow Food movement.

Slow Food was officially founded in Italy in 1989. Its stated mission was to counter the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat and where it comes from.

Today, there are 100,000 Slow Food members, working for good, clean and fair food in 160 countries, from Kazakhstan to Mexico.

Does Slow Food have to be (certified) organic food?

No. Slow Food is food that tastes good and is good for us, good for our environment and good for the people who grow, pick and prepare it. In other words, food that is good, clean and fair. And often, there is a trade-off between these things.

Not all certified organic farms have practices we can stand behind. And there are plenty of small farmers producing food that is good, clean and fair but lacks the organic certification. At Slow Food, we support organic food production that is grown in ways that is good for the environment and the famers and farm workers who grow and pick it.

The best thing you can do as a consumer is to learn about where your food comes from and about the people who produce it, that is, the story behind your food and make every effort to eat in accordance with what is important to you and the future of the planet.

What is Slow Food’s position on genetically modified organisms (GMOs)?

Slow Food is against the commercial planting of genetically modified (GM) crops and promotes GM-free food and animal feed. We believe that all products containing genetically engineered ingredients should be accurately labelled to allow consumers to make educated buying decisions.

What is Slow Food’s position on meat consumption?

Slow Food believes that responsible meat consumption means eating (less) meat of better quality and only eating meat from animals that have been raised with a high quality of life. The cost of meat should reflect the true cost of production and practices that respect animal welfare. We strongly support small-scale farming of heritage breeds as an alternative to factory farms.

Why should I become a member of Slow Food? What are the benefits?

Membership with Slow Food offers you opportunities…

  • To CONNECT with other people locally, nationally and globally who care about the same kinds of things you care about. You receive special invitations and discounts to local, national and international events, including Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto.
  • To LEARN more about good, clean and fair food and the Slow Food movement and updates highlighting the events and the projects we support.
  • To ENGAGE in helping to make a more good, clean and fair food system through your food choices and activities.
  • To SUPPORT an organization that shares your values and is working to move away from the industrialised food system back to good, clean, fair local produce.You can help make the kind of change in the world you want to see, starting in your own kitchen with your own food choices. Your membership card proclaims your commitment to Slow Food values. You ARE the Slow Food movement.

What is a Slow Food Convivium?

The Convivium is your local Slow Food community.  There are Convivia (conviviality) in 160 countries around the world.

What do Slow Food membership fees support?

  • Slow Food International uses the majority of membership fees to contribute to and support important international decision making forums and activism contributing to a better, healthier food system all around the world.
  • The local convivium supports projects that make a difference in your own community by supporting local producers, food artisans and chefs and highlighting good, clean, fair food choices and waste minimisation. The local convivium also support Slow Food International by participating in global programs like Terra Madre, Ark of Taste and Presidia.

I pay through head office, how will my local Convivium know I’ve joined/renewed?

Your local convivium will see you appear on their membership list as a “current” member.

Can I use the Slow Food logo for my products or restaurant?

No. The Slow Food logo is a registered trademark and can be used only in connection with Slow Food’s international, national and local chapter events.

What is the Slow Food Snail of Approval?

The Snail of Approval is specific to a Convivium and its locality.  It is an annual recognition program aimed to inspire local producers, food artisans, chefs, restaurant owners and food outlets who are also Slow Food members to use and promote good, clean and fair ingredients from their local area.

Who can apply for the Slow Food Snail of Approval?

Local producers, food artisans, chefs, restaurant owners and food outletscan apply for recognition if they are making efforts to produce food which is good, clean and fair.

  • GOOD:seasonal, local, quality, flavoursome and healthy food
  • CLEAN:sustainable production with low impact on the environment
  • FAIR:accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for producers and staff/workers.

Why can Slow Food Snail of Approval recipients display the snail and other businesses cannot?

Local producers, food artisans, chefs, restaurant owners and food outletswho have beenawarded the Snail of Approval can display the award and its snail emblem at their place of business for the period of the award. The award is reviewed every year.