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Biodiversity Life Itself

Biodiversity, the combination of the ecosystems and living beings-animals and vegetables-that populate our planet,
  • is vital for the survival of the human race and the attainment of food security;
  • is one of the foundations of human existence, to which it supplies essentials such as food, fibres, air, water and so on;
  • allows agriculture and agricultural techniques, harvesting and processing methods, cooking, food consumption and convivial rites to develop and evolve;
  • is closely bound up with community identity;
  • allows nature to survive by adapting to environmental and climate change.

Slow Food has always promoted the defence of biodiversity, focusing its attention not only on wild species, but also on domestic species (the fruit of thousands of years of selection by peasant and pastoral communities) and traditional processed products (the fruit of knowledge handed down from generation to generation).


Today biodiversity, without which nature would be bound for extinction, is seriously threatened by intensive and industrialised agricultural systems, pollution, overbuilding and the workings of the global market. Not to mention by the spread of genetically modified organisms.

For millennia, about 10,000 species were used for human nutrition and agriculture. Today just 90 percent of human food comes from 120 species and only 12 plant species and five animal breeds provide more than 70% of all human food.
It is estimated that, in the last century, three quarters of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops disappeared. 

A third of native cattle, sheep and pig breeds are now extinct or on the verge of extinction and many traditional processed foods-breads, cured meats, cheeses and so on-run the same risk. 

From the environmental, economic, social and cultural points of view, these are colossal losses. 

Slow Food helps protect biodiversity by promoting knowledge (mapping of traditional products, native breeds and local vegetable varieties and ecotypes) and supporting supply chains (cultivation, breeding, processing).

Check out the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity

Position document
On biodiversity


Do the Slow Food Presidia Represent an Opportunity for the Future of the Mountains?


Slow Food Presidia in Europe:
A Model of Sustainability


Inventory and assessment of good practices on the role of small-scale farmers in the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems


Speech given by the Secretary General of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity at Slow Food's 6th International Congress.



Focus on

Europe at Salone del Gusto
Italy | 23/09/2014
From the cheeses made around the Mediterranean to the immense heritage of medicinal herbs, preserves and cheeses from...

The Magnificent Three
| 18/09/2014
A guiding thread links the three new Balkan Presidia that will be presented at the Salone del Gusto: the desire of...

European Citizens' Initiative against TTIP and CETA rejected by the EU Commission
Belgium | 16/09/2014
In response to the ongoing negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) and on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), more than 200 European organizations, including Slow Food, launched a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI): a tool to request that the European Commission deal with a subject and introduce a legislative proposal. The ECI called on the Commission to repeal the negotiating mandate for the TTIP, and asked for the CETA not to be concluded. Last week, the European Commission rejected the registration of this ECI, stating that the negotiating mandates on TTIP and CETA are not legal acts but rather internal preparatory acts between EU institutions, and therefore not contestable via an ECI. This decision reinforces concerns on the transparency of the negotiations and has been contested by the STOP TTIP alliance on legal grounds.

Click here to find out more.

New European Commissioners Named
Belgium | 15/09/2014
Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, this week announced the names of his candidates for EU...

Europe Comes to Turin
Belgium | 03/09/2014
The European Commission will have a significant presence at this year’s edition of the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre...

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