Italy seems to be going through some sort of vegetable moment right now. Last week, an Italian lawmaker proposed banning vegetarianism for kids (and only kids) throughout the country. And this week, Italian city Turin just became the first city in Europe to launch a formal, government-sponsored initiative to bill itself as a vegetarian and vegan-friendly city.
Turin, which recently elected its first female mayor Chiara Appendino, is home to 133 vegetarian-friendly, if not outright vegetarian or vegan, restaurants. This perhaps seems unremarkable on its own, until you realize that in a city like Rome, which is almost three times larger than Turin, only has 150. One would imagine that even those numbers are high in Italy, as so much of the region’s cuisine is based in and heavily features meat and dairy products.
But for Appendino, Turin’s vegetarian bent is a natural platform for city marketing, and she wants tourists from other parts of Italy, Europe, and the rest of the world alike to know the city for its plant-heavy cuisine. And as GOOD Magazine points out, there’s precedent for Turin especially to challenge existing modes and models of food consumption — Piedmont, the region of which Turin is capital, was the birth of the Slow Food movement, which prioritized notions like local, regional eating in the ’80s; long before those ideas would be picked up by food world behemoths like McDonald’s.
Will Turin’s vegetarian agenda take hold? As it’s a government campaign versus a government mandate, we’re curious as to how city residents will actually take to it. But in a way, they’ve already chosen a side, having had that many veggie-centric restaurants there in the first place. Between this and the proposed children’s vegetarianism ban, it’s clear veggies are on lawmakers’ minds.