Slow Food was founded in Paris on December 10, 1989. Its roots, however, are in Italy, that was hit by a scandal around methanol-treated wine in the 1980s and where, at the same time in Rome, there was a protest against a fast-food restaurant. All this supported the later foundation of Slow Food with the goal to promote the enjoyment of food and the local culinary traditions as well as to strengthen the sense for origin of food.
Today, the organization has more than 90.000 members worldwide, about 10.000 of those in Germany, where the movement was born in 1992. The organization even has its own university of gastronomy in Italy. Slow Food does not only want to affront fast food and a hectic lifestyle. The organization rather supports local small producers and tries to preserve local sausages and cheese. Furthermore, Slow Food wants people to be know where their food comes from.
"Good, clean and fair food" - that is the key of Slow Food. Food is not only supposed to taste good, it should also be produced so that it does not harm our nature or our health. Food producers should receive a fair pay for their products. With the project "Ark of taste", Slow Food wants to protect plants and animals from extinction worldwide and wants to make sure that local meals are from all over the place are not forgotten. In Germany, this is for example the colorful Bentheimer pig, the "Angeliter cones", a rare potato or the "Ahle sausage" from North Hesse.
In the past few years, the movement has been very popular in Germany, where it is divided into so-called conviviens. The number of members has more than doubled since 2004. Among it's supporters are Claudia Roth, leader of the Green Party, camera man Michael Ballhaus and various star chefs. Slow-Food strongholds are Munich, the area around Mainfranken/Hohenlohe and Berlin. However, also Eastern Germany counts many members.
"Slow Food used to be known as a closed circle that meets to eat out", says Ulrich Rosenbaum, coordinator in Berlin. But Slow Food is so much more now. The organization has contact to producers, merchants, restaurant-owners and consumers. The members organize kid's cooking lessons and they travel to food producer's farms. Slow Food also does a lot of political lobby work and has been active with environmental organizations in the fight against GM technology in food. On top of that, there is a Slow Food fair every year in Stuttgart.
Customers are particularly those that "buy their food knowing where it comes from", says Rosenbaum. "You can not turn this into an artificial mass movement." The 20-year-anniversary of the international organization could, however, reinforce the sense for our daily meals. Slow Food tries to clarify a common misunderstanding: You do not have to be a super cook to become a member, as long as it tastes good we do not care (aw.yoopress)