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Exclusive interview: Nino Pascale, President of Slow Food Italy

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Slow Food is an international movement promoted as an alternative to fast food, it strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem. It was the first established part of the broader Slow Movement. The movement has since expanded globally to over 100,000 members in 150 countries. We speak to Nino Pascale, President of Slow Food Italy.

In 140 characters or less – what is Slow Food?

Slow Food is a global grassroots organization that envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them; good for those who grow it and good for the planet.

What drove you to set it up – what gap did it fill?

Slow Food was founded in 1989 to counter the rise of junk food, fast food and globalized standardization, the disappearance of local food traditions and to encourage people to be aware about the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. In a world dominated by industrial production, Slow Food network represents positive globalization and gives a voice to those who refuse to surrender to an industrial approach to agriculture and the standardization of food cultures.

Who is it primarily for?

Since Slow Food was founded, the importance of protecting and supporting small-scale producers has become increasingly clear. The Terra Madre network was launched in 2004 to give them voice and visibility, to raise awareness of the true value of their work, and provide them with the tools needed to be able to work in better conditions. Today, small-scale producers united in a worldwide network of 2,500 food communities together declare that food production must be in a harmonious relationship with the environment and affirm the cultural and scientific dignity of traditional practices.

What difference do you want it to make?

One of the cornerstones of the Slow Food philosophy is the need to adopt a holistic approach to agricultural production and the food world in general. Goals such as the protection of biodiversity and the environment, the fight against climate change, the development of local economies and small-scale production, but also of local knowledge, dialects and arts, should be interpreted as pieces in a single mosaic and not as separate, disconnected from one another.

In this framework, Slow Food works to protect food biodiversity and to create a more sustainable food system by launching projects and campaigns, organizing events, raising awareness about the downsides of our current food system, and by proposing better consumption and production models.

Slow Food works to build up a new food culture and is committed in several projects, activities and events that tackle hot topics linked to agriculture (GMOs, seed saving, land grabbing), food consumption (food waste, labelling, responsible consume, food sustainability), animals (animal welfare, saving bees, fisheries) and environmental issues as climate change.

What are the barriers to making that difference?

The prevailing food model is standardized, supported by a system (of production, distribution and communication) that proposes the consumption of products disconnected from any cultural and geographical production context.

Today, the agrifood system forces people all over the world to comply with only one way of consuming and producing food. This is basically the result of an idea of the global market, of the control of nature, of the pursuit of efficiency, of scale production and consumption that shows no regard whatsoever for the social and environmental costs this involves. The idea is rooted in the belief that local agriculture has to serve the global market.

Communities are running the risk of losing their traditions and their resources. Slow Food believes it is vital to acknowledge ethno-diversity and the values behind it so that it becomes an important, democratic cultural strategy for a rethink of consumption and food production practices.

Who’s helping you overcome those barriers?

The “building blocks” of the association are autonomous local groups known as convivia (local groups), which cultivate the appreciation of pleasure and quality in daily life by gathering regularly to share the pleasure and conviviality of meals of local food, building relationships with producers, campaigning to protect traditional foods, organizing tastings and seminars, encouraging chefs to use local foods, choosing producers to participate in international events and promoting taste education in schools.

Slow Food network’s activities are very important to the movement because they bring its philosophy to life. Besides, Slow Food can achieve positive results also thanks to the collaboration with other organizations, as the European Union, IFAD and FAO.

Is food industry action commensurate with the food challenges we face?

No, it isn’t. The present food system has snapped the link between producers and consumers. This provokes serious consequences, such as a decreased sense of mutual responsibility, the erosion of an important baggage of knowledge and the impossibility for consumers to access information. “Food value” has been supplanted by “food price”.

In a cultural model of this kind, in which the only benchmark criterion is product price, agroindustry, the only sector that can supply large quantities of cheap food, has asserted itself. The current system contributes to the reproduction of social inequality and undermines food security, for instance by allowing the west to cheaply buy resources like soya and corn from the global south to feed its intensive animal farms.

The cultivation of these crops often leaves local populations without food, and results in the creation of so-called food deserts that deny lower income areas good food. As the food system continues to be driven by economic interest, it results in many paradoxes. For example, due to the unequal distribution of the world’s food, 1 billion people who go hungry while one third of the amount produced worldwide is lost due to wasteful gastronomic and consumer habits in industrialized countries.

How can people – individuals and organisations – support you?

People can join Slow Food by becoming a member: they will be a part of an international network of like-minded individuals all working towards common goals. Slow Food Members help support our projects and can play as active a role as they wish, since volunteers fuel the Slow Food movement (from organizing event and campaigns, to taking part in local, national and international activities).

People can also make donations in order to preserve threatened foods and biodiversity, to empower food communities and to fund food educational projects, school gardens and other initiatives. Moreover people can nominate an endangered food for the ark of taste. In general our collective choices can influence how food is cultivated and produced, so consumers should start to buy whole ingredients, as well as local and seasonal food, trying to avoid processed stuff with long ingredient lists, grow some of their own food and learn how to read labels in order to know where their food comes from and how it was produced.

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What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?

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shaker kitchen designs

A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.

When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.

1. Modern

New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.

modern kitchen designs

This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.

2. Classic

Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.

classic kitchen designs

With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.

3. Shaker

Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.

shaker kitchen designs

The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.

Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.

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Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy

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Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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