Slow Food

posted on 9th of april, 2008

Best sellers among food images are those of fast food dishes, especially hamburgers and fries that are used on menu boards and in the many articles about the joys AND dangers of fast food. But now there is a movement in the opposite direction called slow food.

In 1989 in response to the opening of a McDonald’s at the Spanish Steps in Rome an Italian started the slow food movement. In everyway this trend is the opposite of its cousin at the drive-through. It has grown up in response to both environmental and health concerns with political overtones. As with all trends/newsworthy topics it’s a good idea to review what we have available to users who wish to write about or support or oppose these developments.

* One of the major tenants of the movement is “saving the regional cuisines and products of the world,” says Patrick Martins, president of Slow Food USA. “It could be : barbecue, Cajun, Creole, organic…anything that’s fallen by the wayside due to our industrial food culture.” With Dreamstime photographers living in over 200 countries, we are ideally suited to provide images of local cuisine, farms and markets throughout the world.

© Kgtoh (Help)
At one time in the 1950’s, members of my extended family owned 17 ranches and farms in Colorado and Wyoming that served their local communities primarily. Now all but one of those places is either a subdivision or part of a huge corporate farm/ranch. There is increased support today for the plight of the family farm in the US as consumers demand more locally grown produce and foodstuffs. Just the opposite is happening in Poland as large agribusiness practices are being foisted on the old fashioned farm. Certainly some of the advantages of corporate farming can’t be overlooked such as cheaper food and supposedly more uniform health protection policies.

* The downside is the massive use of pesticides, hormones and chemical fertilizers as well as the transportation costs in pollution in moving food far from where it is raised/grown to the dinner table. Photograph semi trucks hauling food stuffs on a major highway.

Slow food emphasizes the use of natural means of pesticides and fertilizer. The local aspect of procuring fresh foodstuffs ensures that the food is fresh and hasn’t been trucked or shipped over thousands of miles creating green house gases as it travels. Shoppers now sometimes decide to forgo out of season fruits and vegetables that have been imported from distance countries and wait for their local produce to ripen.

*Photograph fruits with ‘product of a far away place” labels.
* Show a local baker at work or bread making and canning at home
I live where I can prepare meals from vegtables grown within five miles of home, cooked on the day they were picked as I belong to a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm you can visit here. In the spring we send our subscription to the farmer and get the pick of his crops through November. At our Saturday market on the island’s City Hall green, I can buy cheese made from the milk of local goats and eggs from chickens that I can hear clucking. I have to take a ferry ride but I can also buy local, handmade butter and everything else at the huge Pike Place market in Seattle. Our locally made wine is pretty tasty too. The fish we eat most likely comes from local waters if we so choose.

In many parts of the world, the above is not unusual but here in the US where the supermarket often carries 15 different varieties of frozen pizza and most children haven’t a clue about where their food comes from, we consider ourselves lucky to live in Puget Sound.

To make photographs that can be used to promote slow food:
* Concentrate on shooting local small farmers at work, farmers markets (photograph the people as well as the displays of goods), regional wineries, small vegetable gardens and signs that indicate produce is organic.

*Dreamstime has very few images of old fashioned farming and few of small farm families anywhere. You could OWN that subject in your locale.

* Alternatively Dreamstime doesn’t have many images of corporate farming techniques and none of feedlots. No crop dusters in action showing the pesticides being sprayed or fields being fertilized where the process is clearly seen. I could only find a very few images of commercial poultry raising farms either. All of the above are useful images that will fill a need if you are able to produce them.

The issues of food, how it is grown and how it gets to the table will continue to be a hot topic and images of both fast and slow ways of getting it will stay in demand. Agriculture as an industry is a large consumer of images so don’t neglect images of the huge industrial farms. After all isn’t that where they grow pizza?

Overall information about the slow food movement

Farmers markets go year round You don’t have to wait until spring or summer to photograph farmer’s markets

Small batch dairies

A photographer documents the demise of a family farm and the family that moved in to the resulting subdivision with surprising results here

Wikipedia definition

Issues facing small traditional farms in Poland here

Comments (20)

Posted by Swisschef on May 12, 2008
Sorry, that is wrong information. All of these events are bi-annual.

Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre occur simultaneously in Turin and will take place again in the fall of 2008.

The Slow Food Cheese Festival is in Bra and will return in Fall of 2009.

If you find yourself in Turin at the wrong time, stop by Eataly http://www.eatalytorino.it

Yes, I see that now, a brief mention that it was founded by an Italian.
Carlo Petrini founded it it Piemonte and each year there is a big exhibition called Terre Madre ( mother earth) held in Turin, along with salone di gusto cheese festival. The head office is in Bra. That doesn't mean the big mac isn't popular here, because amazingly it is, however more people are eating biologica-organic. Thanks for the article. D
Posted by Bigpressphoto on May 05, 2008
theres now a collection of slowfood images 117 with over seventy photogs check it out
Posted by Ilbcnu on April 22, 2008
Thank you Ellen, read this latest article-realized I had missed an opportunity at a feedlot a short drive away. Long story short -uploaded pictures of the feedlot on 18th and just sold one!!
Posted by Kelpfish on April 22, 2008
Thanks, Ellen. I will be doing some underwater stock shoots in a few weeks then it sounds like Ojai is on my list of places to visit after that. I always say, some of the best places to visit in the world are in your own back yard. I just need to practice what I preach!

Thanks, Ellen!

Posted by Hamdan on April 22, 2008
Grear article indeed
Posted by Ellenboughn on April 21, 2008
Oh and Joe...if you wait until later in the summer for your trip to Ojai, you can photograph the grapes on the vines around the restaurant.
Posted by Ellenboughn on April 21, 2008
Joe: farmers markets in smaller towns will be less restrictive. You should try the Ojai farmers market, for example. A nice day trip from LA and a super place for lunch after out at http://www.boccalis.com/ If you drive back through the upper Ojai valley, you might see some nice farm land with cattle off to the left. Another hint: leave the camera in the car and talk to some of the vendors. Perhaps you can get one to give you permission in exchange for some images for their website. Then if security comes calling you have permission. They don't want tripods probably because they are afraid that people will trip over them or something., You could also try to arrange to take the images just before the market opens.
Posted by Kelpfish on April 21, 2008
I went to the Los Angeles Farmers Market last week after reading Ellen's blog and they would not allow me to shoot any images using a monopod or tripod. They in fact asked me to leave if I refused to put them away. I had security following me around for about 30 minutes at which time I bailed. Shooting hand held can work but I have learned that using a tripod or monopod can save an image that would otherwise suffer from camera shake even at 1/60th of a second. This farmers market is on private property so I had no recourse and subsequently didn't come away with very many keepers. Looking for some other GOOD farmers makrkets in Southern California where taking pics using a tripod isn't a problem.

But Ellen's article inspired me to take this action.

Posted by Bigpressphoto on April 13, 2008
Yes, I see that now, a brief mention that it was founded by an Italian.
Carlo Petrini founded it it Piemonte and each year there is a big exhibition called Terre Madre ( mother earth) held in Turin, along with salone di gusto cheese festival. The head office is in Bra. That doesn't mean the big mac isn't popular here, because amazingly it is, however more people are eating biologica-organic. Thanks for the article. D
Posted by Pinkcandy on April 12, 2008
Thanks Ellen to use again one of my picture.....It's always cool to see one of those in your very interesting blog....
Posted by Ellenboughn on April 12, 2008
No I gave credit to the Italian...check out the second paragraph! I would never leave Italy out of anything as it is my favorite country in the world.
Posted by Bigpressphoto on April 11, 2008
thanks for the article Ellen, you neglected to mention the slow food movement was founded in Italy. I have quite a few farming images,some of which I've submitted. Hope your reviewers are clued-up about this market.
Posted by Kittycat on April 11, 2008
Grear article and links Ellen. Thank you.
Posted by Eperceptions on April 10, 2008
Thanks for the article, you made me realize I missed some important keywords. "Feedlot" never occurred to me, but I do have a few.

   Cattle Stockyard   
Posted by antonvimages on April 10, 2008
Terrific article. Thanks.

Just discovered your series. Will be looking forward to your next post.
Posted by Maigi on April 09, 2008
Wow, fantastic links, and great article! Thanks!
Posted by Cathysbelleimage on April 09, 2008
Thank you so much for the link to "another country", Ellen! What a great article. Thanks for the constant inspiration... ;O)
Posted by Amyemilia on April 09, 2008
The family farm link is very moving, thanks for that.

There are a couple local farmers markets in Houston. I should check them out!
Posted by Ellenboughn on April 09, 2008
Ha Ha...just stay away from those cow things.
Posted by Diomedes66 on April 09, 2008
Dear Ellen,

My one trip to a pizza farm resulted in stepping onto a 'pizza pie' - I'll see what I can do albeit being more careful next time :-) Quite an excellent article!

Comments (20)

This article has been read 3943 times. 2 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Elena Elisseeva, Kheng Guan Toh, Patrimonio Designs Limited, Isabel Poulin, Randy Harris, Andrei Calangiu, Starfotograf, Vladimir Jovanovic.

About me

I have written a about microstock photography released in 2010. I was the Director of Content at Dreamstime for two years ending in Feb, 2009. You can order my book from amazon via my website at www.ellenboughn.com/blog.

Bainbridge Island, US

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