Slowing Down The Way We Eat
Written by Stephanie Roque
Don’t mistake the Slow Food Movement for a passing trend; it’s nothing short of an international revolution that has found its way into 160 countries and every state in our country, including Utah.
Slowing down the way we eat goes far beyond awareness of our fast food consumption. The concept encompasses the fast pace of life in modern society and resulting emphasis on convenience-oriented food choices, the disappearance of local food traditions, and the withering interest in the food that one consumes, where the food originated from, and how our food choices impact the world around us. In contrast, the Slow Food Movement envisions “a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet.”
The complex intermingling of the way we eat and its impact on the world around us has been a neglected relationship in our industrialized food world. The movement against this neglect has been gathering momentum for decades. The Slow Food Movement began in Italy, which of course has a celebrated culinary tradition, when an organization resisted the opening of a McDonald’s in Rome. The Slow Food headquarters have, thus, found a home in that country.
Since its founding in the 1980s, the movement has expanded to include millions of people in over 160 countries working toward a common goal: worldwide, ubiquitous access to good, clean, and fair food.
How Do I Slow Down The Way I Eat?
- Savor the nourishment you receive with each bite of your meal.
- Create a simplistic environment during meal times, allowing yourself to detach from technology and genuinely focus on the food in front of you.
- Consider where your food came from.
- Learn about the implications your food choices have locally, nationally and globally.
- Equipped with the knowledge of those implications, take a moment to appreciate your food and the path it took to your plate.
- Recognize the impact of fast, convenient food.
- Take pride in the culinary culture associated with where you live.
Why Does This Movement Matter?
- There are serious environmental issues related to the current way we produce and consume food, including climate change, water pollution, water scarcity, soil degradation and more.
- The way much of our food is produced isn’t sustainable, meaning shortages will eventually arise.
- As small farmers disappear, we will begin eating more and more food that has travelled a greater distance, meaning an increased environmental cost, and food that often doesn’t taste as good.
- 2.8 million people die each year worldwide as a result of being overweight or obese, suggesting significant issues with dietary patterns, and a disconnect with how what we eat impacts our health.
- In contrast, approximately 795 million people worldwide do not have enough food to live a healthy, active lifestyle, and poor nutrition causes nearly 3.1 million deaths among children each year, suggesting yet another significant concern related to equitable food production and access.
- It is critical that we, as consumers, take action to prevent these environmental and health concerns from worsening in the future.
From sea to shining sea, the diffusion of the Slow Food Movement ideologies is anything but slow. Slow Food USA includes 175 local chapters who maintain the belief that “the future of food is the future of our planet.” These chapters, referred to as “convivial,” organize events to ignite the passionate relationship between ourselves, the food we consume, and the inevitable global impact of our food choices.
Within the borders of our very own state, Utah is home to three of the 175 national and 1,500 international convivia of the Slow Food Movement. Slow Food Utah, Slow Food Park City, and Slow Food Cache Valley provide support for each other in the development of events from Logan to St. George. These convivia synergistically seek to encourage the procurement of local foods, build relationships with producers, protect traditional foods, and bring the concepts of the Slow Food Movement into classrooms across the state.
As whole, the movement encourages people to slow down, reflect, and be well. A nation of conscious eaters will be a healthier nation.
1. Slow Food Utah. (2013). Retrieved from slowfoodutah.org
2. Slow Food. (2015). Retrieved from www.slowfood.com
3. Slow Food USA. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.slowfoodusa.org
4. World Health Organization. (2015). Retrieved from www.who.int/gho/ncd/risk_factors/obesity_text/en
5. World Food Programme. (2015). Retrieved from www.wfp.org/hunger/stats
Seek out opportunities to volunteer with Slow Food Utah and participate in their array of events including Eat Local Week, the Feast of Five Senses, and various workshops.
Stephanie is a Vermont native and registered dietitian at the Utah Department of Health. She graduated from the University of Vermont with a Master of Science in Dietetics degree with a focus on community nutrition, and enjoys exploring cultural cuisines, spending time with friends and family, and cooking as the optimal form of meditation.