Better Nutrition

Take it slow

The opposite of fast food, the Slow Food movement emphasizes a fresh, local, and sustainabl­e approach to nutrition

- By Neil Zevnik

Do you make a weekly trip to the farmers market, seeking out the best and freshest local produce, honey, cheese, and fi sh? Do you prefer food produced using organic and sustainabl­e practices? Is it important to you that those who nourish and provide the ingredient­s for your dinner be known and respected and fairly compensate­d? Would you rather invite the neighbors over for a locally sourced, lovingly prepared ethnic feast than to go out to the latest trendy fusion restaurant?

If so, then whether you know it or not, you’re already a dedicated member of a worldwide movement known as “Slow Food.” Offi cially begun in Italy in the 1980s as a response to the “fast food” incursions into regional cuisine, this way of looking at the world through food is much more than just a rejection of industrial food— it’s a philosophy and a lifestyle.

The tenets of the movement are embodied in the three words “Good, Clean, Fair.” Good food is fi rst and foremost delicious and satisfying; it is also local, seasonal, and health- giving. Clean food is produced in an environmen­tally benefi cial and sustainabl­e fashion, with concern for animal as well as human welfare. And Fair food should respect the labor of those who produce it, and celebrate the cultures from which it emanates.

Slow Food USA, an organizati­on with more than 200 local chapters, off ers this simple statement that sums up the basic philosophy: “If you care about local farmers, ranchers, fi shers; animal welfare; the joy of a shared meal; preserving food culture; protecting the environmen­t or avoiding GMOs, we have a place for you at our table.”

And indeed, Slow Food is about bringing all those elements together to create a joyful and respectful community centered around and celebratin­g food.

So what can you do to participat­e in this burgeoning movement? It’s all about paying attention; learning and teaching; living and thinking locally; and enjoying the treasure of taking life “slow.”

Become more familiar with your local food sources. Appreciate the food that arises from specifi c cultures. Find the time to educate yourself about where your food comes from. Encourage communal meals and events that bring together neighbors and generation­s around good, clean, fair food. And as the Italians say, ecco! Or, there it is. You’re a card- carrying member of the Slow Food movement.

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