Slow Food Frequently Asked Questions

It’s a way of saying no to the rise of fast food and fast life. Slow Food calls us to take time to enjoy simple pleasures, starting at the table.

The snail was chosen because it moves slowly, calmly eating its way through life. It also happens to be a culinary specialty in the area around the northern Italian town of Bra, where the Slow Food movement was born.

These are the three tenets of Slow Food’s philosophy food and food production that in the South African context of Slow Food equates to Good, Clean and Fair Food for All.

Slow Food envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet.

Read more about our approach to Good, Clean and Fair.

Food Communities are self organised groupings of people, organisations or good clean fair producers who share, live, or support a common aim, interest or activity.

Slow Food is shifting from being a paying membership-based organisation administered through regional Convivia, to becoming a non fee-paying movement of Food Communities. The regional Food Communities (the ex Convivia) will continue to operate in support of Slow Food much as they always have. Slow Food supporters are being encouraged to form additional Food Communities around their stated common focus and commitments to action.
Click here to view the food communities in South Africa or here to start and register your own food community.

Food Communities are self organised groupings of people, organisations or good clean fair producers who share, live, or support a common aim, interest or activity.

Slow Food is shifting from being a paying membership-based organisation administered through regional Convivia, to becoming a non fee-paying movement of Food Communities. The regional Food Communities (the ex Convivia) will continue to operate in support of Slow Food much as they always have. Slow Food supporters are being encouraged to form additional Food Communities around their stated common focus and commitments to action.
Click here to view the food communities in South Africa or here to start and register your own food community.

The Slow Food Youth Network South Africa (SFYN SA) is part of a global SFYN network of young people  building solidarity through friendship, for change in the food system towards good, clean and fair food for all.
Follow SFYN SA on Facebook to be updated of upcoming events and visit the international SFYN website for more information on SFYN.

You can start by attending one of the Slow Food events as listed on the calendar, and meet some of the people involved in building public awareness about the Slow Food ethos.  Alternatively, make contact with one of the listed Food Communities, either a regional one nearest to you or with one that is engaged with activities or a focus that interests you to attend their events and be updated on their activities.

You can sign up in support of the Slow Food South Africa Manifesto as a first individual action of support. You can also join an existing Food Community or form a new Food Communityand join in at their events.

These actions will enable numbers of supporters to be quantified to lend weight when representations are made on behalf of Slow Food.

The movement will gain strength as supporters connect to others who share aims, interests and are striving to make change. 

Further, you can contribute to the Foundation for Biodiversity projects in various ways:

  • By adding South African foods or products to the Ark of Taste
  • Applying to join the Chefs alliance
  • Registering your educational Community or School garden to the 10 000 Gardens in Africa project.

Slow Food International and Slow Food Italy, created the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity to be the operational body that coordinates their projects that work to protect food and agricultural biodiversity.

These are: the 10 000 Gardens in Africa, the Ark of Taste, the Presidia, the Earth Markets (farmers’ markets) and the Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance.

The project was initiated by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity to register 10,000 good, clean and fair food gardens in African schools and communities. Activities at the gardens help to raise awareness among young people and communities about the importance of food biodiversity, access to healthy fresh food, and address the value of their land and culture.

The registered gardens serve as protagonists for change for the future of the continent. View the list of 10 000 Gardens in South Africa.

Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance is an international network of chefs and cooks who are committed to defending biodiversity, promoting local culture and traditional gastronomic skills, and to supporting virtuous food producers. Chefs are well positioned to build awareness and help in safeguarding the rich biological and cultural diversity of foods from their respective localities.

The Ark of Taste is an international catalogue of endangered heritage foods that is maintained by Slow Food International. The Ark captures and holds knowledge of cultural foods that are at risk of being lost. It includes the rich diversities of flavours and sustainable methods of production and processing that still exist in the many distinct eco-regions of the world.

View the list of South African products that have been added to the international Slow Food Ark of Taste catalogue.

Anyone! The goal of the Ark of Taste is to create a vast catalog with contributions from many people to represent the planet’s edible diversity at risk of being lost. You do not need to be an expert, have particular skills or even be a Slow Food member. The only prerequisite is an interest in the product and commitment to do a little research. You many nominate a product from your own area, but also from other communities or towns, for example a cheese, fruit variety or jam discovered during a trip or holiday. All nominations will be assessed by the Ark Commission to gauge their suitability for inclusion.

The Presidium Projects of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity assist small scale food producers to keep traditional or Ark of Taste products and processes alive.

This is the Slow Food international campaign that promotes that the combined effect of all of our shopping and eating choices can put pressure on businesses, governments and the international community, to get them to embrace actions that fight global warming and climate change.

The Menu for Change campaign is also raising funds for Slow Food projects that support family farming, food and environmental education and biodiversity protection. You can view activities and communication regarding this campaign on social media through following the hashtag #MenuForChange. Share how you are making changes in your life through the hashtag #MenuForChange 

The Slow Food snail logo is a registered trademark that can be used only in connection with Slow Food’s international, national and local food community and convivia events.

Guidelines for the use of the Slow Food and Foundation for Biodiversity logos are described when making application to join the Chefs Alliance or when forming a Food Community.

Not necessarily. Slow Food supports the principles behind organic agriculture, such as promoting methods that have a low impact on the environment and eliminating the use of pesticides. It also argues that organic agriculture, when practiced extensively, can end up similar to conventional monoculture cropping. Organic certification alone should therefore not be considered a sure sign that a product is grown sustainably. For example, though most of the Slow Food Presidia practice organic techniques, very few are officially certified on account of the high costs of certification.

Slow Food organizes a large scale biannual public event called Terra Madre (and Salone del Gusto) in Turin, Italy. Slow Foods’ Food Communities, Indigenous Terra Madre communities, members of the Chefs Alliance and the various Foundation for Biodiversities’ projects are invited to showcase their foods, cultures and projects. Opportunities for meetings and debate about the challenges and opportunities of the food system are provided, where best practices can be exchanged, awareness is raised and where many lasting relationships are always built.

Indigenous Terra Madre (ITM) is a network of indigenous communities, partners and organizations that helps to bring indigenous peoples’ voices to the forefront of the debate on food and culture. It institutionalized indigenous peoples’ participation in the Slow Food movement and its projects enable regional and global networks to be developed.  There are more than 2,000 Terra Madre food communities around the world.

Ark of Taste

All South Africans are being encouraged to register any local, traditional, threatened or endangered foods or production methods they are either personally familiar with, or are aware need protecting.

Chef’s Alliance

South African Chef’s who join the Chef’s Alliance commit to actively spreading the Slow Food message, to supporting their local good clean fair producers and to making use of their local Ark of Taste products.

A local South African Chef’s Alliance is in the pipeline for announcement in 2018.

10 000 Gardens in Africa

Community, educational or school gardens that are helping to draw attention or are sharing with others about good clean fair ways of growing or accessing local foods, can apply to be registered to this project.

Climate Change

Menu for Change is the first international Slow Food campaign linking climate change to the production and consumption of food. From the field to the fork, food production is responsible for a fifth of total greenhouse gas emissions.