In 1986 at the opening of a McDonalds in Rome's beloved Piazza Spagna, Carlo Petrini with a group of gastronomically oriented friends, developed the idea of a protest, by the creation of the "Slow Food" movement.
"It was just a game at first", says Petrini, a chance to remind people that food is a perishable art, as pleasurable in its way as a sculpture by Michelangelo or a painting by Titian. The group proclaimed it was time to get back to the two-hour lunch and the four-hour dinner.
Formally founded at a Paris gathering in 1989, the Arcigola Slow Food Movement has become an international rallying point for the inevitable backlash against societal velocity and homogenised, industrial grub. Members meet for marathon meals and talk food, wine, culture, and philosophy. They organise wine tastings and classes about traditional cuisine. And they disdain the stressful fast life.
'Fast food is killing off the social aspect of food,' Petrini says. 'It strips people of their food wealth and culture.'
The slow food movement has been sweeping Europe and has begun to take hold in the US. The whole idea is so simple that it is difficult to question the logic.
Slow Food is a non-profit organization that brings together groups of individuals from diverse backgrounds and corners of the globe who have one common thread running through all of their lives. They are devoted to supporting and sometimes defending, local food products, wine, and culinary traditions.
The participants are dedicated to educating the consumer about quality products, food and recreation related businesses and bringing people together who share similar values.
Slow food now has 220 chapters and 20,000 members in Italy, as well as fledgling organisations with roughly 10,000 supporters in 15 other countries including Spain, Japan, Brazil, Germany, Austria, Singapore, Switzerland, Hungary, Venezuela, and the United States.
The association works to create an atmosphere of conviviality, valuing time, the "slow" life philosophy and sharing an appreciation for great food and wine.
The idea took hold and grew rapidly. On December 9th, 1989 at the Opera Comique of Paris, representatives of the participating foreign countries of the international movement for the "Defense of and Right to Pleasure" - Slow Food - endorsed the Slow Food Manifesto that follows below.
The Slow Food Manifesto
Our century, which began and has developed under the sign of industrial civilization, first invented the machine and then took it as its life model.
We are enslaved by speed and all have succumbed to the same corrupting virus: Fast Life, which disrupts our habits, pervades the privacy of our homes and forces us to eat Fast Foods. To be worthy of the name, Homo Sapiens should rid themselves of speed before it reduces them to a species in danger of extinction. A firm defense of quiet material pleasure is the only way to oppose the universal folly of Fast Life. May suitable doses of guaranteed sensual pleasure and slow, long-lasting enjoyment preserve us from the disease of the multitude who mistake frenzy for efficiency. Our defense should begin at the table with Slow Food. Let us rediscover the flavors and savors of regional cooking and banish the degrading effects of fast food.
In the name of productivity, Fast Life has changed our way of living and threatens our environment and landscape. Slow Food is now the only truly progressive answer.
That is what real culture is all about: developing taste rather than demeaning it. And what better way to set about this than an international exchange of experiences, knowledge and projects. Slow Food guarantees a better future.
Why people join the Slow Food Movement:
Slow Food - guides you in the discovery and pleasure of slowness. Slow Food will help you learn about plus understand divergent cultures of the world and become more tolerant of their ways of living. You will be introduced to a variety of leaders in the world of "Slow" living and learn more about how to have a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life. Furthermore you will learn how to help others start enjoying their lives more by developing the good habits you have learned through Slow Food. They will respect you for your knowledge and common sense approach to living.
Slow Food - encourages the development of carefully planed, environment-friendly tourism. You will be informed quickly and easily where the best places are to relax and recharge. 3) Slow Food - informs and educates you the consumer, about the maketplace by highlighting quality foods and wines. In just a few minutes you will learn all the essentials about some of the best products available today. You will be saving time, money and have peace of mind.
What are they? Who are they? How do they operate?
Conviviums are the core to Slow Foods success world wide. They are small and large groups of individuals from all walks of life united in the Slow Food spirit, with a strong attraction to gastronomy and conviviality. They gather together to enjoy each other, food, wine and to organize and conduct projects on a local basis. Examples are: Dinners with various ethnic foods & wines, tastings of wines, beers, foods, etc., tours of producers, symposiums, travel tours, debates and cooking classes.
Conviviums are the movers and shakers, the backbone and strength of Slow Food. They are organized groups who through the guidance of the International Home Office, join together in their local areas for festive gatherings, help each other and others become more educated about the foods and wines available in the marketplace, learn about and understand other cultures, seek out and promote quality products combined with the philosophy of Slow Food
How does it work?
Conviviums can work independently on programs or combine strengths with other conviviums and work together with groups nearby or a continent away.
Members have an opportunity to learn about the lives of people in far off lands. How they live, what they do, there favorite foods, wines and recipes. What are the details of their culture, their music, art, clothing, recreation, favorite restaurants, hotels, inns, books, etc......
Slow - The Magazine
Slow, Magazine is devoted to the movement, is available in English, German and Italian. Every three months it presents a view of gastronomy, art and history, trends in fashion and music, tourism, entertainment and great stories for enjoyable reading from many parts of the world.
For more information about the Slow movement and Conviviums in your area, contact Slow Food through their website at: or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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