A new Slow Food project, financed by the European Cultural Foundation, and with the contribution of CRC Foundation, is a hymn to solidarity.

The project, launched 1 September 2021, collects emblematic and successful good practices and tells the stories of people and communities who have decided to tackle the pandemic actively, providing inspiration and stimulating the replication of their initiatives across borders.

There were wide-ranging displays of solidarity in the early days of the pandemic. Once again, individuals, even before institutions, paved the way for donations of medical supplies, as well as mutual aid initiatives to help those most in need. The Covid-19 crisis was (and still is) a major test of our solidarity; there is ample evidence from around the world that our communities have passed this test.

Food is a universal need and key pathway to connectedness. Cooks, producers and artisans, including lots of migrants and youths, have launched initiatives around food production, distribution and consumption to tackle the pandemic. Slow Food Heroes celebrates the virtuous initiatives in the food world as a reaction to the emergency that may inspire others”, comments Marta Messa, director of Slow Food Europe.

A selection of such stories will be published weekly across Slow Food digital channels through June 2022.

Among them, we have the story of Peter McKenna, (pictured) chef and director of The Gannet restaurant in Glasgow, part of the Slow Food Cooks’ Alliance. “To protect our team, our families and guests, we chose to shut our doors before the UK government advised us to do so; we were the first restaurant to close in Glasgow. I had a fridge full of food and wanted to put it to good use, so I gathered my team and we formed a plan to provide some food to a food bank and a community centre in areas that would be classed as deprived. On the back of all the negativity we wanted to do something positive for our community, over 70s in isolation, the financially vulnerable and people struggling. We know there is food poverty in most major cities: some people don’t have access to, or the capacity to prepare nutritious meals weekly, never mind daily. We just wanted to make an impact, however small, and put a smile on people’s faces when there was so much uncertainty, worry & stress. So we decided to give something back to the city that we call home. Solidarity is everything, especially in a community.

These new or existing food-related initiatives all around Europe have helped strengthen the sense of solidarity during the pandemic and given hope for the future, inspiring new paths to fight the crisis and take action to build a more cohesive and community-oriented society.

The Covid-19 crisis is an opportunity to cultivate that change: Slow Food Heroes intends to provoke a shift in our outlook on the food system and consequently to stimulate a cultural change, helping local communities to guide the transformation of the global food system, restoring a vision that puts humanity and the planet at the centre.

What we have so far endured is a reminder that this is not a time to despair, retreat, or be afraid of the situation; it is a time to accelerate our actions, renew our commitment to the Slow Food philosophy and increase our efforts towards changing the system that brought this crisis about. Sharing our strengths and staying together as a network at times like these is not just important: it is the only viable option we have if we are to overcome the crisis and continue fighting for our planet and all the living creatures that make our lives possible,” concludes Edie Mukiibi, Slow Food Vice President.

Do you have a story to share? Anyone can submit their story here! Or read about other Slow Food Heroes