Slow food movement catches on with Koreans

Slow food movement catches on with Koreans
Visitors look around the Joan Slow Market, a oneday outdoor market that sells local farm produce, held in Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province, on June 14.

Some people say that dating and eating have one thing in common: They can be fully enjoyed when you take them slow.

As far as eating is concerned, Koreans are beginning to discover the virtue of "slow food" ― sustainably produced foods that use regional ingredients adapted to the local environment. With this, locally produced foods are growing in popularity.

Jung Sung-hoon, 27, is among those who recently started to take interest in foods that are produced with care and are made with local and seasonal ingredients.

In fact, on June 14, he travelled from Seoul all the way down to Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province, in search of a bag of local, sustainably produced foods.

"It is good that I can taste the local farm products on the spot, learn about them and understand where they come from before making a purchase," he told The Korea Herald, looking around the Joan Slow Market, a one-day outdoor market organised by the provincial city.

Jung was among nearly 3,800 visitors who came to the market that day, spending approximately 1.6 million won ($1,570) on organic vegetables, whole grains and other fresh local produce, city officials said.

The Joan market, launched that day as the country's first slow food fair, will return every second Saturday of the month, they said.

The city took the initiative in Namyangju, but the slow food movement was originally a grassroots consumer campaign.

Started in mid-1980 by Carlo Petrini, it began as a rally against fast food and fast living, represented by international food giants such as McDonald's.

Since then, it has evolved into a global movement involving millions of people in over 160 countries.

Its mission largely centers on preserving food diversity, building links between producers and consumers, and raising awareness about food through education, all to improve the quality of people's lives.

It was in 2007 that the fad officially arrived in Korea, with the foundation of Slow Food Culture Center, a nonprofit organisation.

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