Health Habits: The Slow Food Movement

The Slow Food Movement started in Rome about thirty years ago, in protest of the opening of a fast-food franchise at the base of the iconic Spanish Steps. Activists protested with penne pasta to share with the crowd and chanted, “We don’t want fast food, we want slow food!”  This protest led to the spread of the Slow Food Movement, which now includes more than 160 countries with 150 chapters in the United States.  The Slow Food USA chapters exist to encourage people to share the message of “…good, clean and fair food for all.” Food is universal and represents a common language across cultures. The goal is to create significant and long-lasting changes in the food system.

Modern, industrialized food production has led to the disappearance of food variety and traditions. Processed and convenience foods have replaced fresh and whole foods. People have lost sight of the connection between the food on their plate and the planet.  To make changes in the food system, people can start with school gardens, supporting farmers’ markets and CSAs, or forge partnerships with community groups. Cameron community has, unknowingly, begun taking part in the Slow Food Movement with the farmers’ market at the Old School on Main Street. Beginning May 2, 2020, the community will be able to connect with local farmers, share stories, traditions, and food.  The farmers market is usually held at 116 W. 4th Street from 9 am to 1 pm on Saturdays. 

Becoming a part of the Slow Food Movement can take place on a community or individual level.  There are currently two chapters is Missouri; one in Saint Louis and the other in Kansas City.  To start a local chapter would require at least 3 people to commit to serving as part of the leadership team.  The process of creating a chapter involves several steps and consistent contact with the Slow Food USA national office.  The process may seem daunting, but surely rewarding for those who start a movement in their area.  For those who want to partake on an individual level, check out events and activities in the Missouri chapters on the Slow Food USA website.  Planting a vegetable garden, joining the local CSA, buying local organic food, attending community farmers’ markets or taking part in community gardening also counts.  

When there’s a spare moment, check out the Slow Food Movement USA website to learn more.  Reach out to a local farmer and ask questions about the farming process. Talk to a dietitian about nutritious foods or ask a chef for new cooking techniques.  The food traditions lost to industrialized food production aren’t forever lost. By taking small steps to reconnect with where food comes from, they’re sure to be found.

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