Saturday, August 21, 2010

Slow Food

While in the Tuscany region in the quaint and beautiful town of Lucca I stayed with a wonderful woman, Ana, who lives in the square where Puccini was born. She told us how the only way she knew the history of his life was from living on the second floor with her windows open hearing all the tour guides of many different nationalities tell the life story of Puccini. Anyways, I tell this story because my stay in Lucca was an unforgetable 'slow' one. We woke slowly, went to the market slowing, walked the walled town of Lucca slowly, sat at a cafe slowly and ate slowly. 'Slow' seemed to be in the air and maybe staying with Ana helped us acclimate to the new pace of things. I remember being in Florence eating a cafe for breakfast and just watching the people, who seemed to be the usuals, come in on their way to work. No one got anything to go, but if in a hurry stood at the cafe bar and drank some espressos, chatted or looked at the paper and then went on their way. I never saw any 'to-go' containers or Italians ever ask such a question.

So, having returned to the US a couple months ago, I am still adjusting to the differences lived abroad versus here in the States. It is strange coming back with somewhat new eyes to all the customs I grew used to living with in the US, like always getting my coffee or espresso to go. I wont go into all the things I would like to change about American culture and will stay on the positive side to rave about now living in a town with a great farmer's market and growing support for local sustainable food production. Having just been in Italy, I see my little town's initiatives leading towards a Slow Food Movement here and am very excited to support it in any way. That means getting to the market soon for some veggies to last me the week.
What is Slow Food?
Food is the other thing that seems to be revered quite different here in the US compared to Italy, France and Spain. It's slower there, faster here, but it seems that we Americans are slowing down, digging in and getting more involved in the things that nourish us.

So what does Slow mean? The Slow Food movement started in the city of Bra, Italy with community members wanting to support and promote healthy living, consciousness and appreciated agriculture and well, eating.
"The slow food movement is a revolt against standardization and mass production. The aim is to protect the environment, promoting local goods and production as well as sustaining the uniqueness of each individual city (from Sustainable Cities)."
So how can us Americans advocate Slow Food here in the States? Well, it is already happening in many places and it is probably already happening in your locality. Anywhere you can find a local farmers market, is a step in the right direction- the best direction- towards sustainable localized agriculture, community resilience, mindfulness and better living. So the way to advocate for Slow Food is be part of it, instigate it or support it in any way possible.

What's growing around you? Look for fresh local produce, free-range happy and healthy meats and local artisan homemades to make your life a little more fulfilling, while taking an active role in shaping a better future for you and others around the world.

Check out The Habit of Being for some great ideas and inspiration on harvesting wild foods, living 'slow' and sustainably.