Slow Food Almanac (Slow Food, 2013) argues that something valuable has been lost in this era of fast food and instant gratification. Humanity needs the pleasure meals made with love and attention, and from locally grown ingredients. A global, grassroots organization with supporters in 150 countries around the world, Slow Food International promotes the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment. The Youth Food Movement is the focus of this excerpt.
Dancing Into the Future
“An organization that has no youth has no future.” These were the words spoken by Carlo Petrini that marked the beginning of a movement within a movement. Just a few years after the Youth Food Movement (YFM) was launched at the Slow Food International Congress in 2007, the network had evolved to include a diverse group of young people from around 25 countries, including the UK, Netherlands, France, Brazil, Australia and Italy. In 2012, the international youth initiatives, called YFM or Slow Food on Campus, united under the single name of Slow Food Youth Network
At Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre 2012 we saw just how strongly the youth element of Slow Food is taking off. During this remarkable event, that welcomed over 225,000 visitors, food communities and producers from all over the world, it was hard to keep track of what not to miss. However, the youth presence was a stand out for its liveliness and the crowds of participants. The SFYN Area welcomed young people from around the world, involving them in workshops and networking events. On the Saturday evening a conference showcased their inspirational projects: from a “Passata Night” in Sydney to a documentary shot in Brazil, the Food Film Festival in Amsterdam and the no-waste dinners that are conquering Europe — the German Schnippeldisko and the French DiscoSoupe. A video of Carlo Petrini dancing with us as we celebrated the end of a fruitful day was played at the Slow Food Congress: a fun representation of the positive energy of SFYN’s initiatives.
The goals have been set. In the coming years, we are going to strengthen and broaden the youth network, offering support and coordination for local initiatives from our SFYN bases in Amsterdam and Bra. We hope to inspire and educate young people all over the world to commit to the Slow Food philosophy and get involved in our projects, whether it’s a workshop, a film event or a no-waste dinner.
New Ideas for the Youth Food Movement
One of our key programs as we move forward is the SFYN Academy — an education program that brings together groups of 25 students and young food professionals from different backgrounds: chefs, farmers, retailers, dietitians, and so on. It aims to educate participants on the food system and to build an inter-disciplinary network of food activists. By uniting young people, and with them new energy and new ideas, SFYN is adding strength to the Slow Food movement as it takes a central role in national and regional debates on the future of our food and farming. In Europe, youth across 15 countries played an active role in the campaign for a better Common Agricultural Policy from 2011-2013, managing the campaign CAP2013: Food for Change. As Carlo Petrini has emphasized on numerous occasions, the exchange of knowledge between generations is central to achieving Slow Food’s aims. SFYN is able to stand on the experienced shoulders of Slow Food’s founders, bringing new approaches, communication skills and energy. Together we are all part of the dynamic and diverse global network that is Slow Food and Terra Madre. Together we are ready for the future.
Interested in learning more about the slow food? Read Inside the Slow Food Movement.
Reprinted with permission from Slow Food Almanac edited by Silvia Ceriani and published by Slow Food International, 2013. Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization with supporters in 150 countries around the world who are linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment.