Our History

Slow Food was started by Carlo Petrini and a group of activists in the 1980s with the initial aim to defend regional traditions, good food, gastronomic pleasure and a slow pace of life. In over two decades of history, the movement has evolved to embrace a comprehensive approach to food that recognizes the strong connections between plate, planet, people, politics and culture. Today Slow Food represents a global movement involving thousands of projects and millions of people in over 160 countries. Below is a timeline of key events over the years.


>> Slow Food is created in Italy after a demonstration on the intended site of a McDonald’s at the Spanish Steps in Rome.


>> The international Slow Food movement is officially founded in Paris and the Slow Food Manifesto is signed.


>> Slow Food holds the first Salone del Gusto in Turin, where it presents the Ark of Taste project. The Salone goes on to become a biennial event and one of the most important international fairs dedicated to artisanal, sustainable food and the small-scale producers that safeguard local traditions and high quality products.


>> The Presidia project is launched.
>> Slow Food USA is created.

>> Slow Food Phoenix chapter is established.


>> The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity is formed.


>> The first edition of Terra Madre – the world meeting of food communities – is held concurrently with the Salone del Gusto in Turin, Italy, attracting about 5,000 delegates from 130 countries.
>>The University of Gastronomic Sciences is inaugurated in Pollenzo, Italy, close to the Slow Food headquarters.


>> Slow Food USA organize Slow Food Nations, a huge celebration of quality sustainable food in San Francisco.


>> The Alliance between Chefs and Slow Food Presidia is launched, with restaurants commiting to use local Presidia products.

>> The first Terra Madre Day is celebrated on December 10 by communities around the world to mark Slow Food’s 20th anniversary. Around 200,000 people come together in 1,000 events in 150 countries..


>> The Gardens in Africa project is launched.


>> The first ever edition of Terra Madre Salone del Gusto held out in the open, from September 22-26, in Turin, Italy, including a series of conferences at the Carignano Theater. Over half a million people attended.


>> The second annual Slow Food Nations is held in Denver, Colorado, with over 25,000 people attending from across the USA and internationally.

Today, the Slow Food international headquarters are located in Bra, Italy – the town in Piedmont where the movement was born. It is from here, that the association plans and promotes the development of the network and projects worldwide. There are now more than 1500 convivia and chapters across the world.
The association is coordinated by an International Council and steered by an Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is the highest institutional governing body, with all appointments held for a four-year term. Carlo Petrini, who founded the movement in the 1980s, is the President of Slow Food.