Francis said to call slow food movement founder, offering support

Slow Food group founder claims Pope Francis called him and offered his support to community food growers with an environmental edge, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

Carlo Petrini, founder of the International Slow Food movement, says he sent Francis a copy of his book, Terra Madre, a tribute to small farmers around the world. 

Writing on the Slow Food International blog, Petrini says: "Around 7 pm I saw that I had a phone call from a blocked number. I answered, curious; and on the other end of the line I heard a by-now familiar voice saying: 'This is Pope Francis. I received your book and your letter, and I wanted to thank you.' I was amazed and delighted by a subsequent conversation with someone who felt like a friend."

According to its website, Slow Food International is "a global, grassroots organization with supporters in 150 countries around the world who are linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment." Petrini founded the group in 1986 to protest the opening of a McDonald's restaurant near Rome's Spanish Steps.

"My parents moved to Turin from the countryside around Asti, opening a small café in a building on the corner of Via Garibaldi," he quoted Francis as saying, before they emigrated to Argentina. "My father was supposed to board the Mafalda, but then, because of some problems, he had to postpone his departure for a year." The ocean liner Principessa Mafalda was sailing to Buenos Aires when it sank off the coast of Brazil on Oct. 25, 1927. Hundreds of migrants drowned in the ocean waves.

Petrini said he and the pope also talked about the farming world.

"Pope Francis wanted to emphasize how precious the good practices of rural communities are to the world's destiny. On this subject in particular, the pope had strong words: 'The work of these people is extraordinary,' he said. 'Accumulating money must not be the primary goal. My grandmother used to tell me that when you die, your shroud has no pockets for money.'"

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