2. Awareness raising Slow Food encourages everyone to become a 'co-producer', a responsible consumer who chooses to enjoy quality food produced in harmony with the environment and local cultures. Slow Food coined the term co-producer to highlight the power of the consumers. When they choose their food they can go beyond a passive role to take an active interest in those who produce their food, how they produce it and the problems they face in doing so. In this way, they become part of the production process and they actively contribute to the reduction of food losses and food waste.
Co-producers support local farmers, fishermen, breeders, cheesemakers etc, not only purchasing their products but also tapping into the wealth of information and advice that they can offer us. In this way we can learn more about quality and increase our understanding of what a healthier, tastier and more responsible diet and consumption mean in our region.
Direct contact between consumers and producers is one of the best ways for this to be able to happen, through farmers' markets, direct farm sales and Community Supported Agriculture schemes. When direct contact is not possible, consumers can try to seek out retailers who stock local produce and can talk in an informed way about the food they sell (its origin, cultivation and production techniques etc.).
Overall, more than a hundred grassroots events involved citizens and consumers in Europe. These events included conferences in collaborations with other civil society organisations and institutions, practical workshops for adults and school pupils, open-air free meals prepared with products discarded by markets and restaurants, film festivals.
The following are examples of the events organised:
- “Disco soup” in Germany, France, Greece and the Netherlands: hundreds of volunteers, mostly young people, collect vegetables that farmers can’t sell because they do not fit the market standards or such that are discarded by markets and restaurants. They rinse, chop and cook them in soups and salads, to the sound of disco music. The free meal is enjoyed together by the participants. See Guidelines attached (annex 2). Consider it is still a draft not for diffusion.
- Slow Food Day, Italy: more than 300 Italian convivia (Slow Food local chapters) host free events in piazzas across the country such as markets, tastings, meetings with producers and educational workshops. In 2013 Slow Food Day focused on raising awareness on food waste – and associated waste of energy, water, health and resources.
The 2012 edition of the international Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre world meeting of food communities, held in Turin (Italy), hosted also conferences and practical workshops on food waste (how to reduce waste in the kitchen by reusing as much as possible, looking at leftovers and scraps that are often discarded. Participants learn recipes, tips and ideas, based on a mix of creativity and tradition, for preparing dishes that are just as good as the originals).
Furthermore, Slow Food Italy published 7 booklets on meat consumption, food waste (in collaboration with the Italian Agriculture Ministry), fish and aquaculture, legumes, food and health, food choices and climate change, sustainable food shopping. Another booklet on food waste, “When you shop, use your head!”, is available in 5 languages (English, French, Italian, Latvian and Spanish) and was published in the framework of the project 4Cities4Dev, funded by the European Union.