The Slow Food movement, coined in reponse to "fast food" , claims to preserve the cultural cuisine and the associated food plants and seeds, domestic animals, and farming within an ecoregion. It was begun by Carlo Petrini in Italy as a resistance movement to fast food but has since expanded globally to 50 countries and now has 83,000 members. It now describes itself (humorously) as an "eco-gastronomy faction" within the ecology movement, and some refer to the movement as the "culinary wing" of the anti-globalization movement. It announced the opening of a new University of Gastronomic Sciences at Pollenzo, in Piedmont, Italy in 2004. Carlo Petrini and Massimo Montanari are the leading figures in the creation of the University, whose goal is to promote awareness of good food and nutrition.
Programs of the Slow Food movement include or have included:
* Seed banks to preserve native varieties, usually in cooperation
with more local movements
From time to time, Slow Food intervenes directly in market transactions, e.g. preserving four varieties of native American Turkey by ordering 4,000 eggs of these and commissioning their raising and slaughtering and delivery to market.
Critics of the organization have charged it with being elitist, as it discourages nominally cheaper alternative methods of growing or preparing food. Slow Food responds by claiming to be working towards local production and consumption which will exploit "best practices" of science and professions worldwide but ultimately prove cheaper due to less reliance on transport and energy and chemical and technology intensive methods. These arguments parallel those of the anti-globalization movement, Greenpeace and green parties against global export of monocultured foodstuffs, especially GMOs. A central point related to these arguments is that transport prices are artificially low because the true cost of fuel (including the protection of shipping lanes and other military interventions around the world) are not factored into the price of goods, and are instead paid for indirectly through personal taxes.
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