Youth Food ~ spirit of the Slow Food Movement
The Slow Food movement began in 1986 when Carlo Petrini, a journalist, staged a successful protest against plans to build a McDonald's on the Spanish Steps of Rome. Petrini started Terra Madre in 2004 to help bring Slow Food in line with its mission of supporting food that's "good, clean, and fair."
"Slow Food is building a movement of everyday people to make changes to the food system. These changes encompass everything from school gardens, supporting a generation of new farmers to running campaigns to impact national policy. Working from the grassroots, we hope to fundamentally change the story behind our food to one that we are proud of," explained Kate Walsh, Slow Food USA's director of communications, to Ari Le Vaux in a recent interview*. Terra Madre, by all accounts, is the most important program in Slow Food's portfolio of projects today.
"The civil rights, anti-war, labor or feminist movements would not have been what they were without the input and passion of younger generations, and the same is true with Slow Food. Of all the subgroups at Terra Madre, the one called Youth Food was the most energetic. A mentoring workshop was arranged, in which elders of the sustainable farming movement were paired with aspiring farmers. The discussions included topics like how to buy land on a farmer's income, how to develop relationships with chefs, how to run a good CSA, how to set up a proper bee hive, or protect basil from the wind. Already, farmers in their early 20s are doing things like creating a program in South Africa that's trained thousands of teenagers in organic farming, or establishing a honey industry in Southern Brazil to provide economic incentive to save the local catinga forest. Hearing about this kind of activity inspired the other youth, and the elders as well."*
Hats off to all those who care and are involved in Youth Food! The Youth Food Movement is a global alliance of young people working for good, clean, and fair food for all. It represents the first international effort to unify and galvanize the profound effect that young people are having on realigning local and regional food systems with principles of justice and sustainability. Learn more about it today!
*Revolution at a Snail's Pace: How the Slow Food Movement is Tackling Our Biggest Food Problems, by Ari Le Vaux