Before the terms "farm-to-table" or "farm-to-fork" came to be, “slow food” was the watchword.
"Slow Food is an international organization that is dedicated to inspiring people to create a better, more fair and more delicious food system," explains Jennifer Casey. She's executive director of the Fondy Food Center and the Wisconsin governor of Slow Food USA.
The organization seeks to reverse the effects of industrialization on the food industry and the common drive to live a fast and convenient life. By rediscovering ingredients and flavors of regional cooking, Casey says one of the group's primary goals is to connect people to farmers.
"One of the things that slow food does well is to connect the urban with the rural," she says. "A lot of people living in city centers do not grow their own food...Slow Food can, through food and farm tours, connect city dwellers with the folks responsible for bringing us the amazing food that comes into the city."
Another important aspect to the movement is finding a balance for both the consumers as well as for producers of the food. While farmers need to make a living wage, Casey says producers and consumers also need a fair food system. "We try to create more access points so more people have greater access to good food," she notes.
According to Casey, the food industry has decreased our "food literacy" and we, as a society, have become less healthy and unaware of the greater impact food has on our lives. "The way that we eat shapes not just ourselves and our communities, but the entire world around us," she explains. "With that human diversity comes culinary diversity."
Casey encourages all to step outside of their physical and culinary comfort zones to work together through food .