The Slow Food Movement began in Italy, with a small group of people who were disgusted with the appearance and popularity of multi-national chain restaurants that were driving out fresh, local foods that typified the region. They decided to fight back and did so by having parties. Slow food is all about people taking the time to use local ingredients, cook a proper meal and enjoy it with friends and family.
A few decades later, slow food is a worldwide phenomenon that has grown to include many national and regional chapters, such as Slow Food USA. These organizations hold a yearly slow food convention and seek to raise awareness about farming, bio-diversity and agro-ecological issues. In fact, the 2008 Labor Day Slow Food Nation Party in front of the San Francisco City Hall is poised to draw over 60,000 people to an event with a massive garden in place of the City Hall lawn as a centerpiece.
Gastronomes and concerned citizens alike can join in the fun, even if you don't want to join the actual Slow Food groups that count tens of thousands of members among their ranks in the US alone. While the Slow Food Movement has been part of a larger effort to identify bio-diversity and get people as well as public officials talking about how best to remake the current food delivery system.
For many people, that means growing their own food or getting to know local farmers who practice ecologically sound, organic farming. Part of this movement in the United States has been the planting of thousands of Victory Gardens. If 20 million gardens were planted in the US as they were during the 1940s, nearly all of the urban demand for fresh fruits and vegetables would be met.
Farmers' markets are also a great place to meet with others who are concerned about how a very small number of fruits and vegetables have formed a diet that does not take the local environment into account. People have begun to eat more locally, and this is reflected in the wide range of produce available at most farmers' markets. Since most vendors grow organically or sustainably, a wide diversity of crops is essential in naturally breaking pest cycles.
You can celebrate this wonderful diversity by making wonderful meals to share with your friends and family. Slow food parties are especially popular as a theme for a block party. A modern take on the old idea of a frontier social, this is a chance for creative cooks to turn their garden bounty into remarkable dishes. Others can bring some of the meats, cheese, preserves, wines and other products that are part of regional cuisine.
While not all countries are as varied as Italy, North America is sufficiently large to have a great many different regions, all with their own cuisine and with a variety of just about any crop that grows best locally. Locally grown and consumed produce has the potential to save millions of barrels of oil each year. The same is true of organic agriculture, that uses far less fossil fuel and water than their conventional counterpart that supplies the fast food industry.
Slow food parties are also a wonderful part of a staycation, where one spends their off-time nearer to home rather than heading off to some far-flung locale. Such trips waste a great deal of climate change-inducing carbon dioxide, and are out of reach for many North Americans who are feeling the crunch of gas prices for the first time since the 1970s. Planning such a party is a great way to blend the hedonism of good food and drink with the changing politics of the 21st century.
All of this, and on a budget, too. Just as people have gotten to the point where produce travels an average of nearly 2,000 miles to reach the table, this is the very produce that is most prone to suffering price increases with the price of fuel. As the price of fuel continues to rise, it is very likely that local, organic produce will not only taste better, but will also be cheaper.
Slow food is simply a good idea for many political, personal, ecological and economic reasons. And there's no need to wait for a slow food convention to have a party. Invite the neighbors over and explore some wonderful new food together, leaving plenty of room for relaxation and talk.
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In the end, we wish we have left you with value-added nuggets in this piece in addition to the reward. Kindly share in the comments below your comments as well as your experience with practicing some of these suggestions.
Tread lightly, leave no trace & stay sustainable 🌱🐢