So why do we do it?
Slow Food, that is.
Why do we volunteer?
Why give up our time?
And not just here, in Scotland.
Why do we do it in England, Wales, Northern Ireland? In Europe, America, Asia, right across the world? Giving all those hours, all those skills, all that passion and commitment?
Of course, many might have a very personal reason. Then there’s the undoubted conviviality, the wonderful friendships, the solidarity with others not as privileged as us.
You cannot deny those.
(As Carlo Petrini said, ours is hopefully a sweet revolution, not a dogmatic, ascetic, sterile one.)
But really we do it because of food. And its significance.
Because food and how we produce and consume it is now the most important factor influencing whether man has a future on this planet.
Simply put, if we don’t sort food, we cannot sort the planet.
We can forget about Paris agreements. Or development goals.
And that’s scientific fact.
Food is quite simply the largest reason for the energy imbalance on earth.
It’s the single largest source of greenhouse gases.
Single largest consumer of fresh water.
Single largest user of land.
Single largest cause of biodiversity loss, and soil nutrient depletion.
What’s more, six out of the 11 risk factors driving the global burden on health relate to diet.
And we did all this, and the rest of industrialisation, in the last 50 years.
And we’ve probably a lot less time to make a change…..perhaps 30 years to decarbonise the earth’s energy systems.
But without food that’s not enough to guarantee sustainability.
Because food is such a dominant factor, farming has to go from a net producer of carbon to absorbing more carbon than it produces. It has to stop destroying biodiversity, degrading soils, and so on.
So, what we do as Slow Food is important – the impact we make on biodiversity, sustainability, the soil, the environment – because only if we get it right on food, will we get it right for people and the planet.
So if anyone asks you what Slow Food is about or why you work for that movement, you can tell them honestly.
‘I’m saving the planet.’
And you’d be absolutely right.