Magazine article New Internationalist

Slow Food Delights in a New Pleasure Principle

Magazine article New Internationalist

Slow Food Delights in a New Pleasure Principle

Article excerpt

Strange bedfellows, these Slow Fooders. Tens of thousands flocked to Turin for the movement's bi-annual Salon del Gusto festival last October. Militant Senegalese farmers calling for armed struggle to defend their land mixed with aficionados of the finest cigars and the best organic wines. Eager shoppers rubbed shoulders with dedicated activists. Bartender Chris Macmillan was there from New Orleans to provide a history of the cocktail and serve up mint juleps and gin fizzes. Vandana Shiva and Raj Patel were there to rally the movement against unsustainable corporate monoculture in India and Africa.

The odd combination of pleasure and politics that have inspired the movement from its Italian beginnings still seems pretty durable. At the festival, away from the hustle and bustle of the booths selling artisanal foods from across the globe, a space was provided where activists could catch up on regional issues and plot campaign strategies against genetically modified crops and animals and in favour of a 'Slow Fish' sustainable alternative to mega-trawlers and drag nets. Displays included dozens of varieties of apples - part of Slow Food's championing of species diversity in the face of an industrial agriculture bent reducing all crops to a few varieties most easily adapted to mechanical growing and harvesting. Slow Food has even created an Arc of Taste where it lists endangered foodstuffs, both vegetable and animal.

Back in the main hall Carlo Petrini, the firebrand President of Slow Food International, thundered from the stage: 'The best way to stop the African land grab is to support your own farmers. …

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