The Slow Food Presidium project was first started in 2000
Slow Food began to understand the urgency of saving food biodiversity in the mid-1990s and had started mapping products at risk of extinction. A virtual catalog, the Ark of Taste, had been created to gather together plant varieties, animal breeds, bread, cheeses, cured meats, sweets, and other food products from across the globe.
This list still exists and continues to grow every day, but with the Presidium project, Slow Food shifted from creating a catalog to implementing concrete action in the field with the direct involvement of food producers.
Each Presidium represents:
- A community of producers inspired by the Slow Food philosophy
- A traditional food product
- A place
- Cultural heritage and a legacy of knowledge
The Slow Food Presidia are expressions of the most diverse cultures and ecosystems, from the snowy Alps to tropical forests, from tiny islands to city outskirts.
They translate the Slow Food philosophy into everyday practice. They follow the principles of agroecology, respecting the soil, water, animal welfare, and biodiversity, including the invisible biodiversity of microflora and the cultural biodiversity of wisdom and skills. They preserve traditional agricultural landscapes, reducing the environmental impact of food production to a minimum, avoiding the use of pesticides, antibiotics, preservatives, artificial additives, and dyes, and using detailed labels that describe every step of the production process.
The Presidia are virtuous examples of the local economy, recognized at an international level by institutions, the academic world, the media, and consumers.
What does Slow Food do?
- Shares the Presidium guidelines for each category with the producers
- Supervises the production protocols and narrative labels
- Organizes training activities to improve production sustainability
- Promotes Presidium products at local, national, and international events (Terra Madre, Cheese, Slow Fish)
- Puts Presidium producers in contact with chefs from the Slow Food Alliance, the Earth Markets, and other retailers and producers interested in buying the products to sell or process them
- Shares the stories of the products, producers, and places through films, publications, articles, conferences, and more