From its beginnings in Italy, Maggie Beer introduced Slow Food to Australia in 1995. Since then, people from across Australia have formed local Slow Food Groups (convivia) that work together across the nation on activities, projects and events. Our Slow Food activities in Australia concentrate around several areas:
Preserving Biodiversity - Our most important goal is the protection of our unique biodiversity and local food traditions. Because if we lose this there won't be any Good, Clean and Fair Food available for anyone. Did you know that in the last 70 years, three quarters of the agro-biodiversity that was carefully nurtured by farmers over the previous 100,000 years worldwide has been destroyed?
Our global Ark of Taste project has been created to point out the existence of heritage fruits, vegetables, animal breeds, cheeses, and more - that are at risk of becoming extinct within a few generations and that belong to the cultures, history and traditions of the entire planet. Once accepted into the Ark, we invite everyone to take action to help protect them. In some cases this might be by buying and consuming them, in some by telling their story and supporting their producers, and in others, such as in the case of endangered wild species, it might mean asking people to eat less or none of them in order to preserve them and allow them to reproduce.
Changing the Food System - Our food system is broken and it is time to reconnect with where our food comes from and how we can grow food sustainably. We campaign for a better food system by addressing issues such as Food Waste; Sustainable fishing; the need for transparent Food labelling; Fair prices for our producers; GMO; the impact of Climate Change on our Food security; the impact of processed food on our health; soil welfare and the consequences of using chemicals and pesticides; saving our bees; the Australian supermarket dominance; the use of raw milk to produce artisanal cheese; eating less meat; and many more.
Community Engagement - Conviviality is central to our mission so we actively try to connect people to the land and each other through local projects, educational events, and shared meals. We champion local, culturally significant heritage foods, customs and recipes, and bring these experiences into farms, markets, restaurants and homes. We teach the next generation how to grow, prepare and share food responsibly. Whether it is sharing our local knowledge on where to find the best local producers or restaurants, setting up school gardens, or being otherwise active in the local food scene: we become catalysts for change by sharing the joy of Slow Food and prioritising wholesome, sustainable living over convenience.