As requested in a comment on my post “The Future of Slow Food,” let me provide a little introduction to the organization itself. If you’re reading this blog, you may be interested in getting involved yourself.
Essentially, Slow Food is an international nonprofit organization that seeks to inspire people to care about what is on their plates, how it got there, and how it tastes. It got its start in Italy in the mid-1980s as a protest movement when a McDonalds went up in Rome, and today chapters (“conviviums”) exist in 132 countries.
The focus of Slow Food’s activities in each nation varies, but many are centered around conserving traditional food cultures, promoting biodiversity in animal and plant species bred for food, connecting producers who use sustainable, artisanal methods with consumer markets, and conducting taste education classes and workshops. Yearly member dues support the national organization’s work.
I can only speak for the DC-area chapter, but here the people who come to Slow Food events range in age from 20-somethings to retirees. Some work in food, but most don’t. Some are “activisty” types, but many are not. The thing we all have in common is a healthy appetite for delicious food. You always know you’ll eat well at Slow Food events!
One misconception I had before joining the organization in October was that you had to be a dues-paying member in order to participate in local events. That’s not the case! Anyone can attend the vast majority of dinners, potlucks, farm tours, tasting events, lectures, and other events hosted by each convivium. Many are free.
I just learned today that I will be responsible for coordinating a monthly Slow Food happy hour in the DC area, which will be a great opportunity for anyone interested in getting involved to learn more about who we are and what we do. I am also co-coordinating a foodie book club. I’ll be sure to post announcements on this site prior to each event.