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Slow Food Nation
Carlo Petrini, Rizzoli Ex Libris, New York, (Distributed by Random House) 2007
Originally published in Italian in 2005, Petrini's revolutionary manifesto is an absolute must-read, especially for those relatively new to food-sustainability, but also for old-timers in the movement. Petrini's genius is his enlightening and completely comprehensive analysis of the role of food systems ("from field to table") as the central and indispensable "cultural glue" that has from time immemorial (until the advent of industrial agriculture in the last century) held tribes, villages, communities, regions and nation states together in healthy relationships. He then cogently prescribes the remedy: a food system that is "good, clean and fair," and a culture that embraces "slowness" as one of its paramount values.
Here is an excerpt from a review of Slow Food Nation by Barbara Gerrits, co-founder of Holuakoa Gardens & Cafe (reprinted by permission of Seed for Thought):
Petrini starts with and presses on throughout the book about the need for people to relate to food in a more intelligent and considerate way than is being practiced now. In fact, he relates all aspects of sustainable life to the new "gastronomy," which he defines as the "reasoned knowledge of everything concerning man insofar as he eats." Not just the study of food and cooking, but in a grand scale, he relates gastronomy to botany, physics, agriculture, ecology, anthropology, sociology, geopolitics, political economics, trade, technology, cooking, physiology, medicine and epistemology.
Thank goodness the author doesn't stop with pointing out all the problems with the industrial food world we live in, but goes on to present solutions, to the "worrying picture." He talks about creating a network that in itself will bring about the cultural change and the new system of values that will promote the good, clean, fair way. Petrini shares personal experiences that exemplify the points he's making with each chapter. These diaries are what give this book its heart. Each example brings home to the material plane what sometimes seems like lofty intellectualism.
Finishing off with an excerpt from of the "Manifesto on the Future of Food" and "10 Things Every American Can Do To Strengthen Our Food Communities" Carlo Petrini leaves the reader realizing that making the right decisions about food can and will change the world.