What is Slow Food?
The concept of ‘slow food’ started in the 1980’s by an Italian, Carlo Petrini, as a direct response to the rising popularity of ‘fast food’. The goal was to defend regional food traditions and to preserve gastronomic pleasure and a slower pace of life.
Thirty years later, what began as a small grassroots idea has grown into a global movement that embraces the complexity of food systems and the connections between “plate, planet, people, politics and culture.” The slow food movement now involves millions of people in more than 160 countries.
Why Slow Food?
More than ever before, people are disconnected from agriculture and where their food comes from.
“Most [American] citizens today are three generations removed from the farm – they don’t know where their food comes from…” (Delta Farm Press)
While agriculture remains one of Cambodia’s largest industries and employers (in 2012 67 per cent of the Cambodian workforce was involved in agriculture), those figures have declined over the past 10 years and the trend seems to heading in that same direction. By contrast, farm and ranch families make up only 2 per cent of the U.S. population.
“Americans spend a smaller percentage of their income on food than any people in history—slightly less than 10 percent—and a smaller amount of their time preparing it: a mere thirty-one minutes a day on average, including clean-up…Considered in the long sweep of human history, in which getting food dominated not just daily life but economic and political life as well, having to worry about food as little as we do, or did, seems almost a kind of dream.” (Michael Pollan)
While the modernization of food systems including production, storage and distribution have certainly been a blessing to many, research continues to demonstrate the impact of highly processed food on overall health.
“…perhaps the food movement’s strongest claim on public attention today is the fact that the American diet of highly processed food laced with added fats and sugars is responsible for the epidemic of chronic diseases that threatens to bankrupt the health care system. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that fully three quarters of US health care spending goes to treat chronic diseases, most of which are preventable and linked to diet: heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and at least a third of all cancers.” (Michael Pollan)
The Slow Food movement is a response to this. It seeks to connect people to the places and processes that produce their food. It also aims to make consumers active participants in food production.
The Tenets of the Slow Food movement
- Good – quality, healthy food that is full of flavor.
- Clean – production that does not harm the environment
- Fair – prices that are accessible for consumers, are produced in fair conditions, and pay producers adequately.
Interested in slow food in Cambodia?
The Slow Food Movement is growing in Cambodia. Organic farms and “farm to table” restaurants are popping up on the scene.
- Artillery Café with locations in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap
- Farm to Table in Phnom Penh.
- Discovery Farms
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