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The Green Life: Trendsetter: Carlo Petrini, Founder of Slow Food

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June 19, 2008

Trendsetter: Carlo Petrini, Founder of Slow Food

More than 20 years ago, the opening of a McDonald's in Rome's Piazza di Spagna provoked then-food-critic Carlo Petrini to organize a group called Slow Food. Today Petrini's celebration of local traditions and flavors has grown into an international movement. Up to 60,000 people are expected to gather over Labor Day weekend for artisanal treats and lively forums about food, social justice, and the environment at Slow Food Nation in San Francisco.

Q: How can long, delicious meals be good for the planet?
A: Fast food is the final manifestation of a hyperproductive agriculture that is destroying our environment. Eating is just the last step. What matters is how we choose to eat.

Q: It must be challenging that so few Americans cook.
A: Yes. Today we malign manual work as a low form of knowledge. We must recapture a culture of doing things by hand.

Q: How can environmentalists get involved?
A: Get to know the producers of your food, because food is the best place to learn about ecology. A gastronome who is not also an environmentalist is stupid, but an environmentalist who is not also a gastronome is sad.

Next: Carlo Petrini discusses the global food chain in a video with journalists Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, and Vandana Shiva at UC Berkeley.

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