Slow Food – Big Business

A couple of years ago, a friend gave me Carl Honore’s book “In Praise of Slow”. I haven’t taken the time (!) until now to read it, but I must say I like it a lot. He describes his conversion towards a more “slow” approach to life in various ways in a very down to earth and funny way going through topics like cities, food, sex, work, medicine and children. His own wakeup came when he realised that he was toying with the idea of buying a collection of “One-Minute Bedtime Stories” for his children at an airport.

Already in 2003, USA Today stated that the slow movement meant big business. Lots of companies and cities have joined the slow movement since then. Of course, research has not been slow to pick up. For example, Dr Philip Howard at Michigan State University has investigated the consolidation of the organic industry and illustrated this in very telling graphics.

The Slow Food movement has also started to look into research and education, and founded in 2003 a University of Gastronomic Sciences. The Swedish equivalent I suppose would be the Department of Restaurant and Culinary Arts at Örebro University, in Grythyttan. They received funding from The Knowledge Foundation as part of their “Creative Industry” program.

In West Sweden we are also oriented towards slow food. The local chapter, Slow Food West, is collaborating with the great “Paradise Gardens” exhibition in Göteborg. Last week I had a healthy snack in Göteborg Botanical Garden, and we also had a big family lunch at my favorite garden, Gunnebo. The restaurant at Gunnebo is part of the consortium “Västsvensk Mersmak” guaranteeing the use of local and organic products and great care in both cooking and presentation.

However, the first city in Sweden to be accepted into the Citta Slow is Falköping. This small city in West Sweden has pledged to the Citta Slow philosophy, festina lente: to haste slowly, to seek the unique and special, to respect the small and local in a globalised world, and to seek sustainable solutions. It will be very interesting to see how they will integrate this into their action plans for regional development and how they relate it to the overall vision of the Västra Götaland Region: “The Good Life”.

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