Sunday, February 21, 2010

Slow Food


I mentioned a few posts ago that I was interested in cooking for the sake of slowing down meals. I value a meal with friends that allows us to savor the goodness around us, in our food and in each other.

I also wrote that I'd like to write a bit about food justice issues. That may seem like a strange term: food justice. To me, it means understanding that the food we eat isn't just an amalgam of disconnected nutrients. Someone planted the food, or raised the animals. Someone harvested the plants or slaughtered the animals. Some packaged it up and transported it to the store. Someone sold it to me, and someone cooked it. Someone, someone, someone.

Food is about people. All of the people involved in the production and consumption of food are connected. I'm connected in some way to the farmer who first plants the seed of the green beans I'm cooking. In some sense, we are a community, though we are far apart, and probably will never meet. The food I eat has an impact on many other people and on the planet's ecosystems. Because of this, I care about how the people who produce the food I eat are treated.

There is a growing movement out there that has become known as the Slow Food Movement. The name is used in contrast with fast food. I think it can encompass a lot things, but it includes ideas of supporting local, family farms when you buy food, avoiding processed food, cooking whole meals instead of just putting a frozen dinner in the microwave. It's about taking the time to care for those you love when it comes to meals.

Here in the U.S., you can check out the website for Slow Food USA. Here's how they describe their mission:

Food is a common language, and a universal right. Slow Food USA envisions a world in which all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it and good for the planet.

And,

Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.

Slow Food USA promotes a number of interesting projects, including protecting so-called heritage varieties of fruits and vegetables and getting healthy food served in schools. They also offer a "Snail of Approval" to businesses which promote the slow food ideals of quality, authenticity and sustainability.

If you're interested in finding out more, visit their website, and look for a local slow food group in your community.

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