"Slow food" is a direct counter balance to the fast-food culture. Instead of eating fries while driving one-handed through traffic, it means taking the time to enjoy good food raised in clean, safe conditions and sold at a fair profit for the farmer. It means taking the time to know the food you eat is healthy - for you, for the people who produce it, and for the land. And it means encouraging markets for endangered foods you may never heard of but that are part of our heritage - oddities such as the Plymouth Rock Chicken, the Pilgrim Goose, Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce, American Artisanal Cider, Jimmy Nardello's Sweet Italian Frying Pepper, and the Bronx grape.
Slow food is a resistance movement founded in 1986 by Carlo Petrini in response to the opening of a McDonald's in the Piazza di Spagna in Rome. A nonprofit organization, Slow Food now counts members in more than 50 countries. Local chapters in many US cities hold events such as picnics featuring local foods prepared by chefs.
Many foods we love (specific grains, vegetables, fruits, animal breeds) are disappearing due to the pervasiveness of convenience food and industrial agriculture. What's grown by industrial agribusiness is based on what's hardy, easiest to grow, and easiest to ship across the continent - not necessarily taking taste and variety into account.
Just 30 plants feed 95 percent of the world's 6.5 billion people, according to Slow Food, which is encouraging a global effort to broaden that diversity. Get this: Corn, a favored ingredient of agribusiness, isn't just in corn chips; it's in many processed foods found throughout the center of a traditional supermarket, including ketchup and tonic water.
Some people are tired of the degraded flavor of our foods and of health issues raised by an industrialized food supply, so they find the "slow food" message appealing. Preserving our resources, tradition and culture ensures that food is produced for taste and variety. This is ultimately what makes food enjoyable.
The Daily Green embraces the Slow Food manifesto that promotes taking the time to teach and share the rewards of raising and eating food that is good, clean and fair. Our New Green Cuisine helps people who want to slow down, eat right and cook responsibly. Oh - and let's not forget - love what we eat!
To read more about the Bronx grape and dozens of endangered foods whose markets are being fostered by Slow Food USA, go to: www.slowfoodusa.org
To read the first chapter of Michael Pollan's book, "The Omnivore's Dilemma," which explains where food comes from, check out: www.michaelpollan.com.
Is your state located in Pinyon Nut Nation, Wild Rice Nation, Acorn Nation or somewhere else? Check here: www.slowfoodusa.org.
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