By Christine Barbour
This article originally appeared in the Bloomington Herald Times, 3/26/03
As our harried lives make fast food eaten on the run the default meal for many of us, and chain grocery stores from coast to coast increasingly sell the same mass produced foods without regard to regional tastes and preferences, making our food fantasies happen takes a good deal of dedicated effort.
And yet, whether our fantasies begin with farm market shopping and small, artisan food producers, or with gardening, foraging, hunting, or fishing for our food ourselves, more and more of us are drawn to finding ways of eating that restore our relationship to our food and to each other.
It was with just that intention that Italian Carlo Petrini began the Slow Food movement in 1986. Fearful that the food available to consumers was becoming too standardized, and concerned that local food traditions and regional specialties were being lost in the process of globalization, Petrini founded the organization to support native food producers and food culture and to emphasize the satisfaction that can come from eating regionally, leisurely, and sociably.
The main project of Slow Food is to identify foods that are in danger of being lost to the Fast Food juggernaut — exceptional regional foods produced by artisans on a small scale that cannot compete with mass production techniques but which have a long and delicious heritage worth preserving.
Movement members work to add these foods to the Slow Food Ark of Taste — a roster of foods in need of rescue which now includes all manner of cheeses, fruits and vegetables, honeys and preserves, meats and fish. Grassroots efforts promote, subsidize and defend these Ark foods — working to get them onto restaurant menus, household shopping lists and local political agendas to help ensure their survival. [more]