Photo credit: Slow Food USA
The Slow Food movement is an idea, set in motion through healthy cooking, eating, and growing commitments. It is a dedication to food, community, and taking the time to sit down and enjoy a little what is often skipped over in the day to day rush of life.
The movement’s motto is “Good, Clean, Fair Food” and they promote it in every chapter they have around the world.
In over 150 countries, the movement has been set up to help slow down the food making process. Slow food is everything that fast food is not, from how the livestock and greens are grown to the final meal on a plate.
The produce and animals that are grown for consumption are clean, taken care of and harvested in a way that is proactive for the health of the environment and communities they come from. After being raised in such a fashion, when cooked in a slow and healthy manner, the food is better for the body than any sort of processed or frozen item. Through the means by which the food is brought from harvest to plate, the movement extends into the community and give insight into the regional diversity of the areas the raw ingredients originally come from.
So how does someone join the Slow Food movement?
A few ideas to begin within a local community, supported by the Slow Food movement, are:
- Support local farmers at a farmer’s market. Often, these can be found in communities during the spring, summer, and sometimes fall months for various ripe produce and vegetables. Not only do fresh products sometimes taste better, but buying from the growers themselves allows them to continue their work to bring in the best for you or your family. This also cuts down on the amount of canned foods that are within the pantry, meaning that less preservatives such as salt are used.
- Cook foods in a healthy way, without processed extras or the microwave. There are a number of cookbooks out that work with fresh products and give preparation times for slow cooked meals. As well, choosing less salty or condensed ingredients can help lower the disadvantages to using canned goods when time is of the essence. While this sounds like a lot of work, freezing leftovers in individual containers can also create lunches and other meals for later in the week that are healthy.
- Expand tastes to fruits and vegetables outside your area to help farmers from around the world and create biodiversity in your own meals. The US ‘Ark of Taste’ catalog, which can be found on the Slow Food organization’s website, supports the buying and selling of rare produce. This catalog is based around the specific fruits and vegetables that are slowly disappearing in the world. By buying these rare items and using them in meals, not only does it expand the tastes around the dinner table but it also helps to save and protect produce that could easily be gone if conservations efforts were left unpromoted.
- Bring cooking traditions of your area or family into how you cook at home. Think to how a grandparent or teacher used to cook supper when fast food was not around or just starting out or what types of dishes are known through your region and try to mimic them. Share experiences in the kitchen to relax after a long day and relieve stress by having fun with how you’re cooking. Removing that mindset of always having to be somewhere or do something can hold more restorative qualities to physical health that good and healthy good cannot do alone.
- Teach others what it means to eat good, clean, and fair. The movement is known for community involvement when it comes to teaching about Good, Clean, and Fair Food. Educational outreach programs can teach children of younger ages what it means to eat healthy, stay healthy, and do it all while keeping their local environment safe and protected as well. College students can create chapters to help promote awareness within their school communities as well. The organization’s website includes registration materials for easy download. Each one is dedicated to either Good Food, Clean Food, or Fair Food and gives suggestions for events or ways to participate individually in the movement.
Small steps can help create not only a healthy dinner, but also protect the environment the ingredients for that meal were grown in. Slow Food is not only about raising awareness of who and what needs help in communities through food awareness. It is a way of eating and living that can make a difference to health and soil and lives around the world.