Seven Pillars

Access to good, clean and fair food
Slow Food's approach to agriculture, food production and gastronomy is based on a concept of food quality defined by three interconnected principles: good, clean and fair. Good: a fresh and flavorsome daily diet which satisfies the senses and is part of our local culture; clean: produced using methods that don't harm the environment or human health; and fair: providing fair conditions and compensation for producers and accessible prices for consumers. Slow Food works to defend the right to good, clean and fair food for all people and emphasizes that pleasure and responsibility must go hand-in-hand.

Agricultural and food biodiversity
Over the past century we have lost 80% of our food biodiversity: one third of native cattle, sheep and pig breeds are now extinct or endangered, three hundred thousand vegetable varieties have become extinct, and we continue to lose one more every six hours. Slow Food is committed to defending the biodiversity of cultivated and wild species and native breeds. We commit to protecting quality foods that are traditional and sustainable as well as their methods of cultivation and processing. Without this there can be no food security.

Small-scale food production
The hyper-productive system shaped by industrial agriculture and globalization has failed. It has not fed the planet, with today one billion people facing starvation, has polluted the land and water, destroyed the cultural identities of entire peoples and drastically reduced biodiversity. Small-scale food production, based in local communities, has the knowledge to show us the way to a sounder future. The best approach to agriculture and fishing, especially for the poorest regions of the world, is one that respects local cultures and is based on the wisdom of local communities.

Food sovereignty
All peoples must retain the knowledge and freedom to decide what they grow, how it is transformed and the make up of their daily diet. Especially in developing countries, maintaining agricultural traditions and knowledge are vital for the health of communities and cultures. Small farmers are rapidly losing farmland dedicated to local food production as it is diverted to export or biofuel production, as well as losing their most precious asset: seeds. As farmers start to buy seeds from companies who patent the most productive varieties, they abandon traditional crops in favor of those that require massive amounts of fertilizers and pesticides, and are intended for export or animal feed. Education is crucial to support food sovereignty.

Language, culture and traditional knowledge
All peoples must have the possibility to preserve their language, culture and traditional knowledge. The term ‘food community' was coined to describe a new idea of a local economy based on food, agriculture, tradition and culture. Through raising the profile of food communities and the essential work they do, we return cultural dignity to small producers, valuing their knowledge and skills. By doing so, we also assist indigenous communities to uphold their culture and way of life, and help to ensure that their knowledge is passed on to new generations. Education is vital to ensure cultural diversity.

Environmentally responsible food production
Agriculture and fishing must be considered to be strongly interdependent with the environment. They cannot be considered simply as economic sectors, subject to the laws of supply and demand. We must ensure that food production eliminates or reduces the use of chemicals, protects the fertility of our land and water ecosystems, eliminates or reduces waste, and promotes sustainable energy sources.

Fair and sustainable trade
Social justice and fair trade can be reached through labor that is respectful of producers and provides them with fair pay, as well as accessible prices for consumers and solidarity and respect for cultural diversity and traditions. Short food supply chains are one of the key elements of sustainable agriculture. Local food networks reduce environmental impact by decreasing transport, and contribute to preserving a region's food culture by giving it value. Furthermore, by reducing the number of intermediary steps involved, we are better able to reach a fair financial outcome for producers and consumers alike.


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