In the past fifty years, food has become much more standardized than it was in the past. A Quebecer today eats more and more like an American, a Brazilian, or a French person does…without taking into consideration the specific foodways of their own region, due to increasing globalization.
This reality is, little by little, driving millions of consumers to feed themselves in a better, healthier, more responsible way. Some even feel that it is more important to eat local foods than it is to eat organic foods. These days, everyone wants to eat locally and in a more balanced way!
Now, after thirty years of existence, the Slow Food movement is continuing to go against the tide of globalization, and, as a result, is gaining more and more followers around the world. Ever since the company began, La Fourmi has always adhered to the Slow approach, which we will explain here.
The Slow Movement
What we observe in the food world is also present in many other areas. That’s why the Slow movement now has many different streams, including:
Slow life: recognizes the need to take time to be anchored in the present moment. Slow living encourages people to be in harmony with their own deeply-held values, while putting their goals front-and-centre and ensuring that they have time for their priorities. It’s essential to learn to savour simple pleasures.
Slow parenting: a movement that goes against the consequences of our fast-paced lives on children, suggesting alternatives that respect children’s identities. This includes, for example, not participating in as many extracurricular activities, valuing children’s autonomy, or even connection with nature.
Slow cities: this term refers to cities with fewer than 50,000 residents and centres slowing down through a list of fifty or so criteria: these include noise reduction, neighbours helping one another, etc.
- Slow tourism: involves connecting with the environment and fully experiencing the present moment. It invites travellers to be responsible, to contribute by consuming local products and taking the time to get to know a place during one visit rather than taking several trips.
La Fourmi agrees wholeheartedly with the Slow philosophy. Naturally, since the company was first created in 2002, we have supported the Slow Food movement and sought to live its values.
The Slow Food Movement
Slow Food is an international organization which is open to all. Its thousands of members participate in local associations called Convivium in order to promote eco-gastronomy.
Founded in the 1980s as a reaction to the explosive development of fast food and mass-produced junk food, the Slow Food movement exists to defend biodiversity in foodways and responsible food consumption centered on local products.
In other words, Slow Food values high-quality regional cuisine and the ingredients used to make it. Their numerous and varied priorities include:
- Fighting against the standardization of tastes and highlighting culinary traditions;
- Encouraging diversity and choosing local, healthy foods;
- Highlighting the pleasure and convivial atmosphere that comes with sharing a meal with others.
Local Slow Food associations organize food tastings, workshops, dinners, and presentations. They also organize visits to producers, encourage chefs to source their ingredients locally, and provide workshops for schools so that children can develop their tastebuds.
La Fourmi and eco-gastronomy
Our founder, Geneviève Gagnon, first got involved with the Slow Food movement as a volunteer in 2001, before La Fourmi was even created! Naturally, the values of eco-gastronomy are part of La Fourmi’s DNA.
Promoting our local terroir
We chose to manufacture our products ourselves in Montreal, not only so that we would have full quality control, but also to offer more affordable pricing for our clients. Employing Montrealers also allows us to participate in the development of our local economy. That’s why artisanal dimension of our brand.
We also promote local terroir through our products, which are probably the most local on the market! We use 11 ingredients from Canada, including a variety of grains, honey, maple syrup and cranberries… You can find them for sale on our online store with some recipe ideas to enjoy at home!
Paying a fair price
All of our ingredients are carefully chosen for their quality, even if this decreases our profit margins! We also care about rewarding our producers’ hard work by paying them a fair price. In this way, we were among the first in our market segment to source and include fairly-traded ingredients in our recipes.
Offering affordable prices
Our goal is to democratize access to local, organic and healthy food for as many people as possible, by offering the best value for money on the market. This means that we made the choice to reduce our profit margins by offering packaging that works for everyone, such as our family-size and bulk formats.
Being ecologically responsible
The Earth is at the heart of our preoccupations, which means that we always need to be questioning our practices and innovating to be as ecologically responsible as possible. This is why we package our products in recyclable bags, are mindful of our food waste, sort our garbage scrupulously, and carefully examine our energy consumption, among other practices.
Offering the highest quality and safety
Since we started La Fourmi, we haven’t stopped improving our practices, which has allowed us to earn the most demanding food certifications, including Ecocert, Gluten-Free, GFSI, Non-GMO Verified…and, soon, B Corp.