Carlo Petrini started the slow food movement in response to the opening of a McDonalds in Piazza Spagna in Rome in 1986.Italians have historically viewed eating as an experience to be savored with friends and family.A fast food restaurant opening in the heart of Rome’s historic center was not something to be taken lightly.Rather than protest Carlo Petrini chose to show that there is a better way.
Mr.Petrini has tried to demonstrate that we have a choice when it comes to food. We do not have to settle for the drab and unhealthy fare of fast food restaurants. The slow food movement’s mission is to show us that we can take the time to enjoy the pleasures of food.
What does the slow food movement have to do with grass farming and finishing beef cattle? Lots. Up until the 1940’s all cattle were raised the way it was intended, that is on grass and forages. After WWII there began a surplus of corn and in an effort to deal with that surplus they began feeding it to cattle. Over time it was discovered that this could speed up the process of getting a beef animal to finishing weight. Behold, feedlots were born. Synthetic hormones and various chemical feed additives added even more speed.Though the animal’s health suffered antibiotics were introduced to keep them going. In this artificial environment beef became less wholesome. Grass-fed beef is a return to the basics and reconnection with the way things should be done.
The driving philosophy of the slow food movement is that the enjoyment of wholesome food is essential to the pursuit of happiness. They are striving to resurrect the kitchen and the dinner table as centers of pleasure, culture and community. Grass-fed beef producers are trying to resurrect sustainable livestock management for the benefit of the animal, the consumer, the environment, and the family farm.
The slow food movement seeks to preserve a region’s cuisine and the associated food plants and seeds along with domestic animals and farming methods of that region. In the US, members of the slow food movement would seek to preserve the spice of Cajun cooking, the smoky flavor of wild salmon from the west coast and the fresh flavor of crabs caught in the Chesapeake Bay. They support the efforts of grass farmers in producing beef that is healthy, juicy and a delight to the table. They support the purity of organic food, diverse animal breeds and heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables along with regionally produced farmhouse cheeses.According to the slow food movement the standardization of food varieties has lead to the extinction of thousands of different varieties of food.