Life in the Slow Lane

Most of the people who stumble onto this blog are going to be familiar with the Slow Food movement.  The movement started in Italy in 1986, here is a bit of that history from the Slow Food website:

In 1986, the founding father of the Slow Food Movement, Carlo Petrini recognized that the industrialization of food was standardizing taste and leading to the annihilation of thousands of food varieties and flavors. He wanted to reach out to consumers and demonstrate to them that they have choices over fast food and supermarket homogenization. He rallied his friends and his community, and began to speak out at every available opportunity about the effects of a fast culture.

But ultimately there is more to slow food than just preserving heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables.  I think there is a broader philosophical basis.  Realizing that food in all its aspects involves businesses large and small, from family farms to giant grocery store chains, this quote from Thich Nhat Hanh’s latest book, The Art of Power,  is very appropriate any business, but especially so in something so necessary and close to the heart as food:

We don’t need to get rid of profit.  Compassion can bring financial and political success.  I believe it is simply good business to include in the definition of the bottom a consideration of all the effects we have on one another and the planet.  Businesses that combine profit making with integrity and concern for the world have happier employees and more satisfied customers while making more money.

As consumers too, we have to keep in mind that voting with our dollars counts, and that we need to keep in mind the commitment of the companies we give our dollars to principals such as those that Hahn espouses.  We need to look at the entire value of a product, not just cost and convenience.

Slow food can lead to slow living, which is more local, more connected and more organic.  And, as I am sure Thich Nhat Hanh would agree, more peaceful, in every sense of the word, as well.


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