The Terra Madre regional meetings which began this morning, have been an opportunity for Slow Food representatives and Terra Madre delegates visiting from all over the world to reflect on and discuss the food and agriculture issues concerning their local communities.
Opening the UK regional meeting in the Oval arena, Chair of Slow Food UK Silvija Davidson highlighted the importance of uniting small scale artisan producers, in the midst of a “triple F – financial, food and fuel crisis”, to help counter the negative effects of the rise in supermarkets and obesity levels across the UK.
Addressing around 250 people, Davidson outlined how Slow Food UK is currently undergoing a structural change to fortify its local chapters, increase membership nationwide and raise awareness of good, clean and fair food production.
Paolo di Croce, secretary of Slow Food International, spoke next, expressing his support of Slow Food UK and said ‘it was a great moment for SFUK to make its impact in the UK’.
Regional chef representatives, Arthur Potts Dawson (UK), Andrew Radford (Scotland), Gareth Johns (Wales) and Nick Price (Northern Ireland) were on hand to talk about the new Slow Chef Manifesto –collaborating with producers and preserving cultural traditions – the importance of training the youth in food education and the problem of food waste and packaging in the catering sector.
With the participation of UK Youth Food Movement Coordinator, Katy Davidson, and the 25 youth delegates, there was a particularly strong focus on involving younger generations to help transform the current globalized food system and the need to involve local primary schools and children in cooking and sensory education projects.
Addressing the issue of politics and food, Geoff Andrews, author of The Slow Food Story – Politics and Pleasure, said ‘Slow Food UK needs to raise its public profile and attract younger members to widen its appeal’. He called for a Terra Madre-like event in the UK in 2010.
Furthermore, the meeting saw the launch of the Slow Food Bread campaign fronted by Suzanne Wynn, whilst Sue Miller detailed the projects of the Orchard Campaign. It ended with a performance from Camus Cross Crofters musicians from Scotland.
Slow Food UK will have its new website up and running in the coming weeks.