The Slow Food movement was started in Italy as a means to counter the fast food movement. Here is the manifesto, written by founding member Folco Portinari in 1989:
Our century, which began and has developed under the insignia of industrial civilization, first invented the machine and then took it as its life model.
We are enslaved by speed and have all succumbed to the same insidious 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 himself of speed before it reduces him 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 contagion 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 being and threatens our environment and our landscapes. So 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, projects?
Slow Food guarantees a better future.
Slow Food is an idea that needs plenty of qualified supporters who can help turn this (slow) motion into an international movement, with the little snail as its symbol.
This part especially struck me as powerful: “Homo Sapiens should rid himself of speed before it reduces him to a species in danger of extinction.”
Of course, Homo Sapiens are no where near extinct, but they are, as a general whole, declining in health compared to previous years.
Sedentary lifestyle in most Western societies has contributed to this effect, but it’s not just the lack of exercise that is causing the decline of human beings. It is the nutrition (or lack thereof) in the foods we eat.
The world is moving to a corporate food supply in which speed and convenience and price have become the champions that dictate our food choices. And in each case, whether it’s speed, price or easiness, we are paying a price—a price of health.
Real food is slow food. It should not be “cheap,” and should take great care and labor to produce. It should be as close to the “raw” and “natural” state as possible, which is what goes first when you make food more convenient and cheaper.
You can have both... if you take the time
Of course, there is a way to do real, slow food the right way (the Wild line for example!), but most companies do not take this route because it is more expensive and more difficult to do at scale.
If you want to deliver millions of meals to thousands of grocery stores around the country (or world), you have to use preservation techniques like freezing, chemicals and preservatives, all of which remove a bit of the “nature” from the final product.
This is just a fact of life. If you want to eat an apple when it is not in season locally, it will have to travel half-way around the world to get to you. When it does this “traveling,” the apple will be worse-off in every possible way (which, of course, transfers to your health when you eat it).
The answer is food that is local and slow and/or that is grown and manufactured in a certain way that respects the principles of slow, real food.
When you shop, read labels. Find out where the products come from and how they are made. You don't have to live on a farm to make better food choices. Find reputable sources of the foods you enjoy and support them.
Doing so will make you, the environment and the world—through supporting a better food system—better.