Washington, Sep.1 : San Francisco is playing host to a four-day Slow Food Nation conference-convention-festival that highlights the connection between your plate and the planet.
Slow Food was founded in 1989 by Carlo Petrini in response to the 1986 opening of a McDonald's in Rome, near the Spanish Steps, the first McDonald's location in Italy.
The movement began with a fledgling group called Arcigola. It is headquartered in Bra, Italy, in the Piedmont region.
Today, it has 83,000 members from 131 countries; and roughly 20 percent, or 16,000 members, are from the U.S.
Slow Food USA, which is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, was established in 2000. There are roughly 200 chapters in 47 states.
Every two years in the fall, Slow Food International hosts a Salone del Gusto (salon of taste) in Turin, Italy, a celebration of artisan food and culinary traditions from around the world.
Since 2004, there has been a coinciding Terra Madre event, with a focus on farmers and sustainable food production.
Salone has spawned smaller regional festivals, including SlowFish and SlowCheese.
As part of its Foundation for Biodiversity, Slow Food established an Ark of Taste, an effort to protect raw foodstuffs (like seeds) and culinary traditions (like raw milk cheese) from extinction.
In 2004, Petrini founded the University of Gastronomic Sciences, also in Bra.
This weekend's event is the first of its kind and scale for Slow Food USA.
Alice Waters who opened the world-renowned Chez Panisse restaurant in 1971 conceived the idea for Slow Food Nation.