The Slow Food movement started in the middle of 1980s by Carlo Petrini as a protest against the fast food industry and the call for returning to the traditional healthy eating habits. Founded in Italy, the Slow Food Movement spread rather quickly to Greece and then all over the world. Although it is rather unfeasible that the Slow Food movement is going to put an end to the corporate giants that some of the fast food companies are (e.g., McDonalds, KFC, Taco Bell, etc.), the organization is likely to promote the concept of healthy eating with the help of the set of values that the Slow Food Movement is based on, particularly, the ones that concern global health.
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Geographically, the movement used to be rather restricted, as it emerged quite sporadically. However, much to the surprise of researchers worldwide, it spread across the globe incredibly quickly, hitting the chord with a range of people. Therefore, it can be assumed that the Slow Food Movement is not bound by its geographical location. Since the problem that it was designed to address is global at present, the movement needs to grow to the same scale as well.
The promotion of the community development, which the Slow Food Movement contributes to, can clearly be identified as one o the Slow Food’s greatest assets.1 The contrast between the corporate goals of the key companies in the fast food industry which are infamous for their money-grabbing strategies in marketing, stand in a vivid contrast to the position that the Slow Movement takes.
As Schneider explains, “In this context, it is hardly surprising that the Slow Food movement, originally an Italian organization opposed to the degradation of culture and environment that attended the rise of fast food, has received more and more attention and has increased its membership.”2 In other words, the emphasis on the community values is the key to the organization’s success, according to the assumptions of its founders.
When it comes to assessing the chances for the success of the movement in question, one must mention that it allows for using the food cluster strategy; more importantly, the Slow Food Movement contributes to the creation of a unique food cluster that enhances the significance of the community. The relationships between its members become stronger, and the communication process among the community members is enhanced with the help of the Slow Food Movement.
The latter brings people together by creating the atmosphere of togetherness and making a common effort in an attempt to change the society for the better. Indeed, according to the recent studies, food clusters are essential for the development of communities from both economic and social perspective.
Economically, food clusters allow for more options in terms of meeting the needs of the residents of a specific area: “there are also clear indications that locally-oriented food systems are growing rapidly,”3 whereas, from the societal perspective, clusters enhance the cohesion process within the community.
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The latter phenomenon, in fact, can be explained by the fact that joining the movement means becoming a part of a group with a rigid set of principles; as a result, united under a single goal and cementing their bind with cultural and ethical values, the members of a community become much closer: “changing social circumstances change which foods are despised and avoided.”4
The economic prospects, which the further promotion of the Slow Food Movement is likely to entail, are beyond thrilling. By creating a set of local clusters, one is enabled to enhance the local competitiveness; the latter, in its turn, will promote competitiveness among entrepreneurship on a statewide level, therefore, promoting economic prosperity of the region.
Indeed, clusters allow for making companies more important within a specific business domain, thus, increasing their value and contributing to their further growth: “Clusters suggest that a good deal of competitive advantage lies outside companies and even outside their industries, residing instead in the locations at which their business units are based.”5 The approach in question, while being not quite sensitive to the unique characteristics of the organizations that are enclosed in the cluster, still creates the premises for a major boost of the state economy through enhancement of the power of small and medium entrepreneurships.
One must admit, though, that the Slow Movement also has its problems, the economic aspect being the key one. No matter how harmful fast food is to the society in general and people’s health in particular, one must give its creators credit for coming up with the idea that appeals to the people, who value their time, such as students, business people, etc.
The slow food Movement, while subverting the values supported by the fast food companies, does not have much to offer in return in terms of time saving options. Therefore, there will always be demand for fast food as the products that can be consumed in a manner as expeditions as possible, with a range of time-saving options.6 Without a decent strategy to counter the specified advantage, the Slow Food Movement is likely to fail in its attempt to make the idea of fast food unattractive to the current customers of McDonalds and the companies of the like.
The evolution of the Slow Food Movement is fast enough to allow researchers to make introspection into the future of the so-called slow food industry; as a result, another essential aspect of the movement can be discovered. Though not being related to either economic or societal issues, the characteristics of the movement in question is still peculiar enough to bring it up7. According to a range of studies, the phenomenon of slow food may end up in restoring sustainability within the food industry and the environment by introducing the concept of balanced nutrition into the lives of people all over the world.
Despite the fact that some of the assumptions can be viewed as quite a stretch, such as Hamilton’s concept of agriculture without farmers, the overall concept of sustainability in the food industry and, as a result, in agriculture will lead to major improvements in the state economy: “The basis of the concept is no agricultural system can be successful in either the short or long term unless it is designed to sustain the resources necessary for its operation.”8
In fact, the actual location of the clusters, which spur the development of the local and state economy, seems to have been losing its significance due to the integration of a range of organizations into the global environment: “It is easy to conclude, then, that location is diminishing in importance.”9
Speaking of which, the very concept of agriculture enhancement through the supply of local food may be questioned as there is no exact definition for local food. As Zepeda explains, “While the term “local” food is commonly used, there are no standards in the United States defining it.”10 Therefore, the movement in question needs to be boosted; otherwise, it may be stalled due to the economic challenges, which it poses to its leaders and proponents. Although political boundaries cannot be used as the means to define the term, the concept of local food needs further elaboration, which may be rooted in geographical positioning.
Moreover, the approach in question may give a significant sour to the enhancement of sustainability in not only economy, but also the use of resources, particularly, the ones that are utilized in the food industry. The concept of sustainable agriculture, in its turn, can be viewed as a part of the general sustainability policy approved by environmentalists as the reasonable method of treating natural resources. Therefore, in some ways, the implications of the Slow Food Movement can be seen as environmental as well.
Enhancing sustainability in the use of natural resources, as well as facilitating the economic prosperity within the community, the concept of slow food in general and the Slow Food Movement in particular can be viewed as one of the most significant changes to economy on both the state and the global levels.
Despite having its problems, the movement leads to the development of the community through the enhancement of the healthy lifestyle and the promotion of sustainability across the world. Crucial to the solution of the economic and environmental problems, which the global society is experiencing currently, the Slow Food Movement clearly needs more publicity.
Hamilton, Neil D. “Agriculture Without Farmers? Is Industrialization Restructuring American Food Production and Threatening the Future of Sustainable Agriculture?” Northern Illinois University Law Review 14, no. 3 (1994): 613–657.
Jochnowitz, Eve. “Edible Activism: Food, Commerce, and the Moral Order at the Park Slope Food Coop.” Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture 1, no. 4 (2001): pp. 56–63.
Little, Ruth, Damian Maye, Brian Ilbery. “Collective Purchase: Moving Local and Organic Foods beyond the Niche Market.” Environment and Planning A 42, no. 8 (2010): 1797–1813.
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Porter, Michael. “Location, Competition, and Economic Development: Local Clusters in a Global Economy.” Economic Development Quarterly 14, no. 1 (2000): 15–32.
Taylor, Davis F. and Chad R. Miller. “Rethinking Local Business Clusters: The Case of Food Clusters for Promoting Community Development.” Community Development 41, no. 1 (2010):108–120.
Schneider, Stephen. “Good, Clean, Fair: The Rhetoric of the Slow Food Movement.” College English 70, vol. 4 (2008): 384–402.
Zepeda, Lydia and Jinghan Li. “Who Buys Local Food?” Journal of Food Distribution Research 37, no. 3 (2006): 1–11.
- Ruth Little, Damian Maye, Brian Ilbery. “Collective Purchase: Moving Local and Organic Foods beyond the Niche Market.” Environment and Planning A 42, no. 8 (2010): 1803.
- Stephen Schneider, “Good, Clean, Fair: The Rhetoric of the Slow Food Movement,” College English 70, vol. 4 (2008): 384–385.
- Davis F. Taylor and Chad R. Miller, “Rethinking local business clusters: the case of food clusters for promoting community development,” Community Development 41, no. 1 (2010): 112.
- Eve Jochnowitz, “Edible Activism: Food, Commerce, and the Moral Order at the Park Slope Food Coop,” Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture 1, no. 4 (2001): p. 58.
- Michael Porter, “Location, Competition, and Economic Development: Local Clusters in a Global Economy,” Economic Development Quarterly 14, no. 1 (2000): 16.
- Michael Porter, “Location, Competition, and Economic Development: Local Clusters in a Global Economy,” Economic Development Quarterly 14, no. 1 (2000): 17.
- Lydia Zepeda and Jinghan Li. “Who Buys Local Food?” Journal of Food Distribution Research 37, no. 3 (2006): 10.
- Neil D. Hamilton, “Agriculture Without Farmers? Is Industrialization Restructuring American Food Production and Threatening the Future of Sustainable Agriculture?.” Northern Illinois University Law Review 14, no. 3 (1994): 617.
- Michael Porter, “Location, Competition, and Economic Development: Local Clusters in a Global Economy.” Economic Development Quarterly 14, no. 1 (2000): 15.
- Lydia Zepeda and Jinghan Li, “Who Buys Local Food?,” Journal of Food Distribution Research 37, no. 3 (2006): 2.