The Opposite of Fast Food–Slow Food

Like the weather, we all deplore fast food – but one organization is doing something about it! Slow Food was founded in Italy over 20 years ago in conscious revolt against America’s fast food intrusion into a nation that prides itself, justifiably, on its culinary artistry.

So in a concerted effort to restore the leisurely family meal, the rare breed of a crop, and lovingly made artisanal foods, this organization (with 100,000 members worldwide in 132 countries) gets people together to rescue their cultural heritages. Not to mention helping the environment by getting away from pesticide-drenched crops!

Something you may not have realized is that, like wildlife, biodiversity in food is threatened – the group Renewing America’s Food Traditions (RAFT) has found that over 1,000 American food species or varieties are endangered! So one thing you can do every time you go shopping is to buy a fruit or vegetable you’ve never tried before – that encourages the farmers to keep growing them. Slow Food’s diversity project is called the Ark of Taste. They help preserve endangered vegetables, wines (and the vines grapes grow on), fruits, and the minimally processed foods such as olive oil, cheese, and preserves.

And plenty of Americans agree that fast food is a sign of more than junky, manufactured meals – it’s also a sign of haste, uniformity, and family fragmentation. Slow Food USA has over 200 chapters nationwide . One local chapter (Berkeley) hosts monthly mixers every second Sunday. This month, it will be on Sunday, August 15, 3pm-6pm at Lake Chalet in Oakland (near Lake Merritt BART).

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