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The history of Slow Food

Over thirty years ago, a large group of Italians gathered in Rome for a protest. Why? A fast food franchise was opening at the base of the iconic Spanish Steps. Instead of throwing rocks and yelling, the activists brought in a big bowl of penne pasta and shared it with the crowd that gathered, chanting:

We don’t want fast food. We want Slow Food!

That gathering was the birth of the Slow Food movement. Today, we are in over 160 countries, with over 100 chapters in the United States. Slow Food USA was established in 2000. 


Learn more about what’s happened in the Slow Food International community since that fateful day in 1986 by exploring our timeline.

Slow Food USA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

The Slow Food Manifesto

The Slow Food international movement officially began when delegates from 15 countries endorsed this manifesto, written by founding member Folco Portinari, on December 10, 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 ourselves of speed before it reduces us 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.

Download the PDF version of the Slow Food Manifesto.