Slow Food – US Presidia
If unique, traditional and endangered food products can have an economic impact, they can be saved from extinction. This is the simple reasoning behind the Presidia; small projects to assist groups of artisan producers.
The Presidia program is coordinated by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, which organizes and funds projects that defend our world’s heritage of agricultural biodiversity and gastronomic traditions.
Loosely translated into “garrison,” Slow Food Presidia (Presidium, singular) are local projects that work to improve the infrastructure of artisan food production. The goals of the Presidia are to guarantee a viable future for traditional foods by stabilizing production techniques, establishing stringent production standards, and promoting local consumption.
Sometimes, it takes just a little to save an artisan food; it’s enough to bring together producers, help them coordinate marketing and promotion, and establish quality and authenticity standards for their product. Other times, when the production of an artisan food is closer to the brink, it takes more: building a slaughterhouse, an oven, or reconstructing crumbling farmhouse walls. Slow Food Presidia work in different ways, but the goals remain constant: to promote artisan products; to stabilize production techniques; to establish stringent production standards and, above all, to guarantee a viable future for traditional foods.
General Presidia Guidelines and Nomination Form
Each presidium is implemented through a collaboration of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, the food’s producers, and others with pertinent expertise and shared values. Such relationships develop under consensual guidelines and use a variety of creative formats to assist growers, producers or harvesters in sustainably producing their foods and selling their food products at a fair market rate.
The Presidia are as complex and diverse as traditional agriculture itself; therefore it is best to evaluate each Presidium on an individual basis. A Presidium food or production technique should be good tasting and sustainably produced. It should also represent a sense of place or culture. Generally, a product should be as natural as possible. While a presidium food does not need to be organic, it cannot contain GMOs or involve animal husbandry contrary to the well-being of the animal.
New Presidia projects are approved by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity in Italy. Visit the Foundation’s website to learn more about the nomination process and Presidia projects around the world.