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Why Slow Food?

Our vision for the future

Slow Food USA strives to create a world where all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it, and good for the planet.

What’s standing in our way?

The world is in crisis. The economic push for speed, growth and profit has created mega food systems that are unsustainable, lifestyles that feel harried and unhealthy, and a planet groaning under the pressure. Instead of building relationships around food, we make transactions. Instead of making food choices based on flavor and origin, we prioritize convenience. Instead of treating the Earth like the source of all life, we pillage resources from our planet.

Our food policies maintain a power imbalance that disproportionately affects Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), low-income communities and women. Theft of land and water, worker exploitation, lack of access to nutritious foods, food apartheid, and diet-related health problems are rooted in racism, classism, gender discrimination, and other oppressive practices.

How do we rebuild this broken system?

Given the enormous complexity of global food systems and generations of targeted oppression, there is no single solution. Instead, change happens when we cultivate trusting relationships, align around shared values, and work together for collective liberation. 

 

Slow Food USA unites the joy of food with the pursuit of justice.

We cultivate nationwide programs and a network of local chapters, host educational events and advocacy campaigns, and build solidarity through partnerships.

Together, we are dismantling oppressive food systems to achieve good, clean and fair food for all.

Our pillars of action

Throughout the world, Slow Food movements are responding to the unique challenges, traditions and opportunities in each region and defining what it would take to achieve good, clean and fair food for all. The efforts each country, city and region may undertake to reach our collective goal may be different, but they are aligned around three broad strategies: 

1. NOURISHING CULTURAL AND BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

The amazing diversity of plants, animals and foods is preserved and enhanced within cultures and families, and so we put people and relationships at the core of our biodiversity work. Our aim is to create equity and access within Slow Food by building a network of trust, honor and respect, particularly for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color’s culinary traditions that have been intentionally co-opted, colonized and otherwise disrespected. 

  • We develop and execute a specific, actionable, long-term strategy for equity, inclusion and justice.
  • We tend the Ark of Taste catalog, which honors critically important but increasingly endangered plants and animals in an open-source and democratic manner.
  • We honor the growing of historically significant edible plants through our annual Plant a Seed campaign; Share a Seed, an initiative that supports community seed banks and mutual aid-style efforts of growing food; and an annual Slow Seed Summit.
  • We support curriculum development for school garden programs, with a focus on fair food and the cultural connection to biodiversity.

Our National Resilience Fund financially supports grassroots efforts that reduce food insecurity through community-based programs.

2. Educating, inspiring and mobilizing people and communities

We understand the world best when we hear, taste, see, and embrace the world around us. It is through this lens that we celebrate the joy and pleasure of connecting with and around food. Our approach to creating educational events, advocacy campaigns and training tools is rooted in relational learning, in which each of us is simultaneously student and teacher. We create intentional space in our in-person and virtual gatherings to learn from BIPOC chefs, policy experts, historians, farmers, food professionals, and storytellers.

  • We educate eaters on aspects of the Slow Food ethos through Slow Food Live, a webinar series featuring practical skills, deep discussions and engaging topics.
  • We strengthen the skills of our volunteer leaders and improve network support systems with tools and trainings.
  • Slow Books is a national book initiative to help people understand diverse food cultures, historical foodways, food justice, and the joy of eating.
  • We produce a virtual Slow Fish gathering, which focuses on the importance of locally sourced and sustainable seafood.
3. Advancing policies that transform food systems

We must go beyond focusing on the role of individual choices, and advocate for the world we want to live in through collective action. Slow Food USA engages both the public and private sectors to discover how we can build a better future. We collaborate with other organizations and voices in order to defend those most adversely affected by the industrial food system. We activate our network to connect with legislators, corporations and communities to advocate for real, meaningful change.

  • Our Food and Farm Policy Committee advocates for good, clean and fair food by demanding legislation that achieves our policy priorities.
  • We strengthen organizational partnerships with allied networks who share our vision for collective liberation.
  • We develop business partnerships that recognize and support companies with model business policies through many frameworks, including Snail of Approval, our Small Business Supporters program, and individual collaborations.

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY “GOOD, CLEAN AND FAIR”?

 

GOOD

+ Believe in delicious nutrition as a right for everyday life

+ Cultivate joyful connections to community and place

+ Advocate for diversity in ecosystems and societies

CLEAN

+ Protect natural resources for future generations

+ Help people and the environment depend on each other

+ Promote food that is local, seasonal, and sustainably grown

FAIR

+ Build local cooperation and global collaboration while respecting all laws

+ Require no prerequisite or credential for participation

+ Fight for dignity of labor from field to fork

How can I join the rebuilding process? 

We’re eager to work alongside all members of the Slow Food community to innovate and expand our three pillars of action; achieve true food justice and racial equity in our network and our world; and make bigger strides toward ensuring good, clean and fair food for all! Become a member of your local chapter today or join a national working group.

 

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