Slow Food Establishes a Presidium to Defend Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

To give value to the production of quality extra-virgin olive oil, Slow Food has decided to create a Presidium that unites producers and provides rules that respect the environment and high quality standards.

The new Slow Food Presidium, dedicated to olive growing and to the production of quality extra-virgin olive oil in Italy, aims to promote a sector in great difficulty. The sector is suffering from competition from large multinational corporations and a lack of possibility for consumers to have adequate information on quality standards regarding what they find on the market.

The olive oil Presidium currently involves 26 Italian producers that adhere to national regulations.

Large commercial brands impose rules and unsustainable prices for small-scale producers. In addition, the Italian olive growing industry is experiencing a particularly difficult time, as a result of climatic events and pests that practically annulled the last harvest.

Olive oil is fundamental to our health and, like other products that form part of our daily diet, has an important economic, social and cultural impact. Slow Food has therefore decided to take action in support of small producers who work under the banner of sustainability, excellence and protection of territory, despite the environmental, bureaucratic and commercial difficulties they must face.

Membership by producers, with the consequent possibility of adding the Slow Food Presidium label to their bottles, follows very strict rules. Olive producers must have olive groves that are centuries old with varieties native to the area, and be managed without the use of chemical fertilizers or herbicides. To ensure the highest quality of a product with a Presidium label and out of respect for the sustainability of production, the harvest of the olives must not be done with the use of permanent nets but rather by hand or with the help of equipment that does not damage the integrity of the olives and that respects the vegetation of the plant.

All the information about the product, not only the variety of origin and details on processing, but also the crop year of reference and the name of the olive mill are included on the narrative label, which enables the producer to tell their story and see it properly valued.

At the heart of every new Presidium is the desire to educate consumers about taste and nutrition, to tell the stories of the product, and to promote the social and economic aspects of production, with constant attention given to the protection of the landscape and the territory. In a food system that offers largely undifferentiated products, the extra-virgin olive oil of the Presidium takes on special importance and value. This experience that begins today in Italy aims to be a model to export to other countries producing extra-virgin olive oil: It is the intention of Slow Food to protect and promote, in every corner of the world, local, small-scale production that respects the environment, expresses the culture of the territory and reaches high quality standards.

The new Presidium was presented on the final day of Slow Fish – the event dedicated to sustainable fishing and marine ecosystems that was held May 14 – 17 in Genoa.

For further information, please contact the Slow Food International Press Office:

Paola Nano, +39 329 8321285 [email protected]

Slow Food involves over a million of people dedicated to and passionate about good, clean and fair food. This includes chefs, youth, activists, farmers, fishers, experts and academics in over 158 countries; a network of around 100,000 Slow Food members linked to 1,500 local chapters worldwide (known as convivia), contributing through their membership fee, as well as the events and campaigns they organize; and over 2,500 Terra Madre food communities who practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality food around the world.

Slow Food Presidia are projects that support quality production at risk of extinction; protect unique regions and ecosystems; recover traditional processing methods; and safeguard native breeds and local plant varieties. Each project involves a community of small-scale producers and provides technical assistance to improve production quality, identify new market outlets and organize exchanges with producers internationally through the large Slow Food events.

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