The slow food movement tries to change public opinion about food sustainability. Its name is a cheeky homage to the proliferation of fast food throughout the late 1980s. The movement is often symbolized by a snail, a creature that eats and moves extremely slowly. Slow food activists argue that by taking the time to produce high quality food locally, it is healthier, better for the environment and more sustainable.
The movement started in 1986, when a McDonald's was set to open near the Spanish Steps in Rome. Italy is known for its traditional socializing over food as well as producing fine wines, cheeses and meats. Community members resisted by organizing a group called Arcigola. This organization was the forerunner to Slow Food. To protest the infiltration of multinational corporations into local communities, the Slow Food manifesto was signed in 1989 in Paris.
The organization is now sustained through fundraising and donations from its 100,000 members. There are chapters (called convivias) in more than 150 countries, with national offices across North America and Europe. In Canada, there are 1,300 members from Vancouver, to Newfoundland, to Yellowknife.
The movement supports grassroots efforts for local sustainable food, by encouraging biodiversity and promoting food sovereignty. Their biodiversity foundation is changing the way that local foods and agriculture are perceived.
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