Only recently has the term slow food entered my foodie vocabulary. I’d heard it mentioned but never knew much about it, didn’t really know what it meant and it was only when one of my supper club guests Mari asked me if I knew about the slow food network in Wales, that I thought it was time I did a bit more research.
The Slow Food network is a relatively new movement, but actually not as new as I’d envisaged. It started in Italy back in 1986, spearheaded by Italian food activist Carlo Petrini. The aim of the organisation was to support and promote the love of good fresh food, an enjoyment of eating and ‘a slow pace of life’ something we really know about living in Wales, but which has slowly been eroded in most major cities. Slow food I guess is the antithesis of fast food and i guess it’s no surprise that the network started at a time when fast food was taking over. Another aim is to help people connect with where their food comes from, to understand how it’s produced and why it is better to go for quality, even if the price is a little higher.
Over the years the remit of the network broadened ‘to encompass a wider quality of life and sustainability and environmental issues’ and in doing this it promotes the buying of sustainable local produce and going with the seasonal flow, something which is close to my heart.
Since its conception the movement and its ethos has spread worldwide and now there are more than 100,000 members in 150 countries. Supporters include a growing number of chefs including Richard Corrigan, a renowned lover of no fuss, good old-fashioned British food.
Growth of the movement is timely since there is increasing awareness of the need to return to a simpler way of life and more and more people are rejecting supermarket mass marketing as they rediscover small producers and what is available on their own doorstep. It’s not just the older generation who remember what its like to grow their own and buy locally. I remember very well the veg patch in my grandparents and mothers garden. We grew potatoes by the sack full, had fruit trees
The closest group to us in North Wales is Dros-y-Fenai. Set up by David and Alison Lea-Wilson (of Halen Mon salt) they host regular networking events where avid food lovers get to celebrate the seasonal treasures we produce in Wales. For more information about the group or future events email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m looking forward to their apple day next weekend!