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Slow Food Movement founder to speak, May 17

Carlo Petrini, founder and president of the Slow Food Movement, will deliver a lecture titled "Slow Food Nation" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 17, in McCosh 50.

Petrini founded the Slow Food Movement, a nonprofit organization, in Italy in 1996, as a response to the opening of a McDonald's in the Piazza di Spagna in Rome. The movement was founded to counteract the increase in fast food and the decrease in traditional local foods as well as to raise awareness about food choices from environmental and economic perspectives. It is now active in more than 100 countries.

Petrini also is the founder of the University of Gastronomic Sciences, with campuses in the Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna regions of Italy, and a professor of sociology at the University of Trento.

Petrini's book, "Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean and Fair," will be released in the United States in June. He has been the recipient of many international awards and in 2004 was named a "great innovator" in Time Magazine's list of "European Heroes."

The lecture, which is sponsored by the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) and the Program in Italian Studies, will be translated from Italian. It follows a PEI-sponsored conference in November, titled "Food, Ethics and the Environment," that drew more than 1,000 people from scientific and agricultural organizations, government agencies, advocacy groups, the media and academic communities.

"We are very excited to have the opportunity to host Carlo Petrini at Princeton," said Kathy Hackett, associate director of PEI. "Petrini's work is significant, and by bringing him to Princeton we hope to further educate and inspire our students, while informing their participation in the growing international dialogue regarding food choices."

Pietro Frassica, a Princeton professor of Italian and friend of Petrini, noted that the Slow Food founder's visit to Princeton follows a growing interest by students in understanding the connections between food production and consumption and the environment. For several years, Frassica has led a course entitled "Literature of Gastronomy," which originally was taught in Italian and later revised for teaching in English to make it accessible to more students.

"After seeing how diligent my students are in my courses, I can say that gastronomy is recognized as a serious discipline," Frassica said. "Petrini's appearance on campus coincides with the extraordinary interest in the serious study of food, which offers insights into the development of culture and the complexity of civilization."

A reception for students and other University ID holders will follow the lecture. Petrini also will sign copies of his book prior to the talk, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

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