The first Presidia were created in Italy in 1999. After cataloguing hundreds of products at risk of extinction through the Ark of Taste, Slow Food decided to take a step forward by engaging concretely with the world of production, getting to know the places, meet the producers and promote their products, their work and their wisdom.
Slow Food presented the first 90 Italian Presidia at the 2000 Salone del Gusto, and they proved immediately successful in terms of both sales and media interest. The project continued to grow in the following years, not just in Italy but also in other countries around the world. The first 19 international Presidia took part in the 2002 Salone del Gusto. Some followed the model of the Italian Presidia, while others inaugurated new forms of intervention.
The first Presidia in the Global South, in Africa, South America and Asia, soon followed. As the project adapted to hugely diverse contexts, it showed that it could be effective even in socially and economically complex situations. In many cases the attention paid to social aspects, such as the involvement of women or the literacy of producers, proved crucial to the project's success. Additionally Slow Food provides food producers in the Global South with technical assistance, training and equipment.
Over the years the Presidia project has become one of the most effective tools for putting into practice and exemplifying Slow Food's policy on agriculture and biodiversity.