I have seen the future of food and it is in Italy at a grocery chain called Conad, which launched a locavore-focused brand called Sapori & Dintorni. Here in Florence, Italy, where I’m spending a week’s holiday with my family, we stay in an apartment in the Oltrarno – just south of the Arno River, up a short hill from the southern tip of the Ponte Vecchio, the old bridge known for its gold and silver jewelry.
But the real gem in this neighborhood is that grocery store, whose Sapori & Dintorni label represents food sourced from Italy’s great food regions – from Emiglia-Romagna’s famed cured meats and arugula and greens grown in the farms throughout the Veneto region, to cremerias with happy cows channeling beautiful milk-based products. This category includes, of course, Italy’s miracle foodstuff called gelato, of which even this health-fixated foodie must partake on a daily basis (in moderation, that’s Vitamin G in Casa Kahn).
The new-new thing (going back to 2009 from what my research can tell) is “zero kilometre” food – that is, sourcing food as near as possible to where you are. The abbreviation for this concept is km zero.
“What Slow Food did for restaurants, kilometre zero is trying to do for farms. Kilometre zero is the Slow Food concept taken to the market,” Mario Piccinin, a sommelier and cheesemaker from the Veneto, is quoted as saying in the Papa’s Planet blog.
And don’t think that the locavore-zero kilometre movement isn’t consistent with leveraging technology. Al contrario! Building the supply chain for sourcing natural foods nationally requires a well-designed, smart and nimble infrastructure. For the consumer, the Conad chain also offers a mobile app that’s been making my shopping in Florence even more organized, fun and fruitful.
The store’s reviews on Yelp! and other online ratings sites are raves. So good food, local food and good value can go hand-in-hand-in hand.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: I’m a long-time member of the Slow Food organization (globally and locally). In terms of km zero, for me at home in suburban Philadelphia, zero kilometres + food translates into being a member of the Kimberton CSA – my nearest community supported agricultural coop. I’m also fortunate to live within minutes of four Wegmans stores, the Rochester, NY-based food chain that emphasizes fresh, local, value, and healthy, connecting dots between the store’s healthy products, nutrition, and its pharmacy.
If you can grow food at home, so much the better: the closer to the ground, the more in-control of chemicals and growing processes you are, the healthier your food and life can be. Your local farmer’s market – however ‘local’ they may be – gives you the gift of eating local, as well. There’s a growing movement, too, of minding your GMOs – genetically modified foods.
The DIY’ing of food – growing, buying more local and close to home, cooking from scratch, eating at home – feeds your health, as well.
Think about local and zero kilometers when you think about your relationship with food. Every food choice you can make that’s closer to home is a good thing. Ciao amici! A votre sante!