In 1986, a global movement was kicked off by culinary activist, Carlo Petrini. In short, it was / is an interest group which was designed to more or less provide an alternative to fast food. In essence, the goal of the worldwide organization (with around 100,000 members from 150 countries) is to promote sustainable local agricultural practices like seed, plant, livestock and ecosystem cultivation as well as the various local cuisines from around the world. One might argue that we had already been experiencing something of a slow food movement already as the values being promoted by the group aren’t really all that different from those which have charted the growth of human civilization in general. However, it would seem that the true intent of the group is to simply preserve traditions which many claim are both culturally significant as well as perhaps important when it comes to maintaining health of populations.
Naturally, there is a regional group which exists in the UK, which is currently being led by CEO Catherine Gazzoli. Out of this main organization there are also local chapters which carry out initiatives in their communities concerning specific issues both present (and arising). Given the biodiversity of foodstuffs native to the UK, it makes sense to both protect as well as promote the use of them. One of the more noteworthy examples of this is the “Forgotten Foods” project (UK Ark of Taste), which seeks to raise awareness of some of the smaller scale produce available in Britain which is being directly threatened by globalization, industrialized agriculture, homogenization, as well as degradation of the environment itself. Similarly, it is hoped that through their efforts many of these nearly lost foods will be rediscovered by the general population and perhaps even returned to the markets in a major way.
Moreover, there is also “The Chef Alliance” which is another subgroup of Slow Food UK, which is predisposed toward protecting the amazing culinary heritage of Britain. Without a doubt, such moves are vitally important as larger sectors of society continue to adopt unhealthy mass-produced food at lower costs which essentially destroys traditional markets which are concerned with gourmet and localized traditional fare. This is an especially good organization to be a part of, particularly if you are a chef as this helps to both protect the health of your customers as well as your livelihood (and business).
Even if you’re an enormous fan of fast food and manufactured food in general, you can’t argue with the fact that these natural, traditional foods (as well as culinary techniques) are worth preserving. No one is implying that all modern methods need to be completely abolished here, only that there’s still room for traditional cuisine and agricultural methods. In fact, one might argue that they’re intrinsic to what defines people culturally speaking; after all, you are what you eat.