General Reading Practice Test 2.3


You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 28-40, which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.


Slow Food


A. Slow Food is an international grassroots movement dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of good food. It started as a humorous protest against the spread of fast food around the world and has developed into a major advocate for the world’s unique food products. [Crack IELTS with Rob] The movement’s logo is a snail. Since being founded in 1986 the Slow Food snail has crept from its home in Italy to 45 other countries around the world and now boasts over members. The movement challenges the loss of flavour resulting from the industrialisation of food and agriculture. Its approach is ‘eco-gastronomic’. Slow Food is committed to compiling and distributing information about local foods, drink and culture. Its purpose is to preserve endangered foods, encourage biodiversity, and support small-scale producers of ethnic and local products around the world.


B. Modern agri-business has given the world cheap food with little taste, produced at a high cost to the environment. Slow Food has been instrumental in developing initiatives to revive products that take time and craftsmanship to create and which are threatened by global corporate practices. Protecting traditional local also means safeguarding the people and ecosystems involved in their manufacture. [Crack IELTS with Rob] It also provides incentives for the pursuit of production methods which are healthier for taste, the environment and the agricultural economy.


C. Statistics on the loss of biodiversity in our food chain are alarming. In less than a century over 300 plant species have disappeared — one plant species disappears every six hours. Today less than 30 varieties of plant feed 95% of the world’s population, In Europe, half the breeds of domestic livestock became extinct during the course of the twentieth century. [Crack IELTS with Rob] The crisis over mad cow disease and the ongoing debate over genetically modified food has given Slow Food, with its on organic methods, unexpected political influence.


D. In the space of a few years, Slow Food has become a major lobbying force in the European Union on agriculture and trade policy. Agri-business practices that have become dominant are geared to produce in quantity. This is a carryover from agricultural policies set in the 1950s in Europe when hunger from tlE war was still a vivid memory. At that åme, when the goal was self-sufficiency, farmers received subsidies to the amounts they produced. There was and Still is no reward for quality. Two generations ago, the average European family spent about one-half of its income on food. Today it spends about 15 percent. [Crack IELTS with Rob] Surveys conducted by Slow Food show that a large majority of Italialu would be willing to pay up to 20 percent more for food in order to guarantee its quality, especially given recent food scares and scandals.


E. As national boundaries disappear in Europe and become more open around the world, food has emerged as an important source of identity. Slow Food’s position on globalisation is that it has the potential to help as well as harm the small food producer. On the one hand, globalisation has allowed multinational corporations to extend their reach to virtually every corner of the world. [Crack IELTS with Rob] However, rather than being afraid of the fast-food giants, Slow Food is attempting to offer an alternative choice of ‘virtuous globalisation’ by choosing to focus on quality and helping the small local producer to access the global market.


F. The Slow Food organisation has to find ways to ensure its own economic viability. An initial strategy to generate income through publishing led to a number of food guides that were quickly successful. Some of the most popular of these feature restaurants serving authentic, local foods at local prices. Numerous and varied initiatives have sprung around the world. Italy’s largest food show, the ‘Salon de Gusto’, sponsored by the Slow Food movement, provides an international market to hundreds of small producers whose goods, until recently, rarely left their village or region. Now there is even ‘slow travel’. [Crack IELTS with Rob] A growing number of tour operators in Italy, France, Australia and India subscribe to the movement, promoting ‘cultural and educational journeys using food and the people that produce it as the learning medium’. ‘Slow cities’ are entire communities dedicated to improving the quality of life for their citizens through environmentally sound, culturally aware, eco-gastronomic policies and activities.


G. Another significant initiative of Slow Food is the Ark of Tate, a database of endangered species of edible plants and domestic animals worldwide. Commissions have been set up in many countries to seek out and catalogue new products. So far, 800 products from 26 countries have been figuratively brought on board the Ark in the attempt to save them. [Crack IELTS with Rob] The Ark of Taste has become an international project and a resource for agricultural biodiversity around the world.


H. So, a movement that began as a humorous protest against fast food has in its own organic way, evolved into a versatile and intelligent advocate for the protection of the environment. The best response to a global force challenging the ability to enjoy our food and our lives begin, according to the Slow Food movement, ‘at the table’. We are invited to slow down, appreciate the flavours of food and drink, and cultivate the art of living. Fast food isn’t likely to disappear, but Slow Food seems to be here to stay as well. Its message is getting through – encouraging pleasure-loving environmentalism as an alternative to the high-speed pace of the fast-food world. [Crack IELTS with Rob] From its humble beginnings, Slow Food now includes a global network of people capable of generating ideas, and programs to defend the right to a responsible form of pleasure, respectful of cultural diversity and available to all.


Questions 28 - 31

Matching the following information.

The Passage 3 has eight paragraphs (A-H).

In which paragraph can the information below be found?


  • 28.  a catalogue of domestic animal* at risk of disappearing

  • 29.  statistics on the loss of variety in agricultural species

  • 30.  initiatives to ensure the financial survival of the organisation

  • 31.  information on the food budget of an average family


Questions 32 - 33

Choose TWO letters, A-E.

Which TWO of the following statements does the Slow Food Movement NOT promote?


  • rare local domestic animals
  • genetically modified foods
  • organic methods of production


  • high yield industrial fanning
  • the enjoyment of good food and drink

Questions 34 - 38

Matching the following expressions based on the information in Passage 3.

Choose ONE phrase from the list (A-H) that matches each of the expressions below.


NB    There are more phrases than expressions so you will not use all of them. 


List of Phrases
A      a resource for agricultural biodiversity
B      a showcase for Italian food products
C      a database of Slow Food members
D ‘    helping local producers compete in the international market
E      published four times a year
F      operates in Europe, Asia and Australia
G      promotes the protection of the environment and good eating
H      produces food using industrial methods



  • 34. slow travel: 

  • 35. Ark of Taste: 

  • 36. virtuous globalisation: 

  • 37. Salon de Gusto: 

  • 38. agri-business: 


Questions 39 - 40

Answer the questions below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from Reading Passage 3.


  • 39. Following which crisis did the Slow Food movement become a political force? 

  • 40. This movement was started as a reaction against what? 



Result: / Exit

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