Why the name Slow Food?
It’s an ironic way of saying no to fast food. Slow Food means living an unhurried life, beginning at the table.
Why the snail symbol?
The snail was chosen because it moves slowly and calmly eats its way through life. It also happens to be a culinary specialty in the area around the northern Italian city of Bra, where the Slow Food movement was born.
So how come Slow Food was born in Bra, Italy of all places?
Bra, Italy is the hometown of founder Carlo Petrini and is located in an area famous for its wines, white truffles, cheese and beef. Dining has traditionally been way of socializing all over Italy. This town proved to be the perfect incubator for the Slow Food movement.
Does Slow Food mean organic?
Slow Food supports the principles behind organic agriculture, such as promoting methods that have a low impact on the environment and reducing the use of pesticides. Yet Slow Food argues that organic agriculture, when practiced extensively, is similar to conventional monoculture cropping, hence that organic certification alone should not be considered a sure sign that a product is grown sustainably. Though most of the Slow Food presidia practice organic techniques, very few are certified on account of the high costs of certification. To become presidia, products must be consistent with the concepts of agricultural sustainability, while Slow Food works to ensure that they are ‘good, clean and fair’. In the next few years, the Foundation for Biodiversity aims to promote (and finance, where possible) the certification of presidia products in cases in which this would broaden markets or increase earnings.
What is Slow Food’s position on genetically modified organisms?
While obviously not opposed to research by universities and public bodies, Slow Food is against the commercial planting of genetically engineered crops. We are capable of transplanting a gene from one species to another, but we are not yet capable of predicting or containing the results, which could create a threat to our natural and agricultural biodiversity. Another problem with GE crop cultivation is its tendency to take the choice of what crops to grow out of farmers’ hands. When pollen from GE fields drifts miles down the road to pollinate conventional or organic fields, farmers unwittingly put labor and capital into harvesting crops they did not plant. Slow Food believes that all products containing genetically engineered ingredients should be accurately labeled to allow consumers to make educated buying decisions.
But Americans have been eating GMOs for years without problems. Doesn’t this mean they are safe?
GMOs have been present in the United States for a long time, but consumers have not been allowed the right to know through proper labeling of food products. It is practically impossible to know who consumes GMOs. Or which or how many or how long. All this data is necessary to enable their danger to be evaluated. Consumption of GMOs could lead to the onset of new allergies. Hypersensibility and allergies are already increasing sharply among populations in industrialized countries, due to a lowering of immune defenses and exposure to environmental allergens. They risk multiplying as a result of GMOs. So those claiming that we should look to the USA for reassurance on the health effects of GMOs underestimate the complexity of the issue, or deliberately deceive the public.