The unanimous vote during the recent Slow Food UK AGM meeting that created separate regional bodies to represent Scotland, England and Wales is a clear indication that the changes called for by grassroots supporters have been firmly put in place in the UK.
Following a three-month consultation, in which the views of Slow Food UK’s members were canvassed about the best way forward for the organisation, a road map for change will see these new bodies play a much more influential role in delivering programmes, campaigns and actions that respond to local issues and conditions.
The existing office in London will continue, but playing a supportive role, freeing the regions and convivia to plot their own paths.
Successful UK-wide programmes such as the Chef Alliance, with its 111 members, and the UK Ark of Taste will continue to be administered centrally, but with greater involvement and delivery from the regions.
For Scotland, Wales and England, there will be a much-needed opportunity to respond to what matters to very different parts of the UK.
“In so many ways, Scotland has a very different food culture to the rest of the UK, and this gives us an opportunity to recognise that and help build convivia that really respond to what’s going on across the country”, remarked John Cooke, newly elected UK board member representing Scotland. And the same is certainly true of England and Wales, as they prepare their own plans and campaigns.
For the UK’s small producers and chefs who are actively bringing Ark of Taste foods to the attention of the public, the changes will mean more local energy and involvement to add to the central office’s support.
“The passionate connections developed between local groups, producers and chefs means that more people than ever are able to find a way of enjoying the sublime fruits of the Perry pear, for instance”, according to Tom Oliver of Oliver’s Cider and Perry Ltd, producer of the UK Ark of Taste’s Three Counties Perry.
One of the UK’s 111 Chef Alliance members, Bryan Webb, Chef at Tyddynllan, North Wales, agrees: “Interest in foods that have been overlooked is another element of Slow Food that’s close to my heart.”
Find out more about Slow Food UK here: www.slowfood.org.uk