Worth waiting for? Slow Food revolution finally hits Britain

Slow Food, the Italian-born movement dedicated to eco-gastronomy and the battle against the relentless march of the international food giants, is to set up shop in Britain next week.

It has chosen as its headquarters the Shropshire market town of Ludlow, a place that has successfully reinvented itself from the haunt of weekend antique collectors to a foodie Mecca bedecked with Michelin-starred restaurants.

The organisation was founded by the Italian journalist Carlo Petrini 20 years after he noticed a McDonald's restaurant near the Spanish Steps in Rome. It now has 83,000 members around the world and a manifesto dedicated to the pleasures of eating "real" rather than mass-produced food.

Slow Food UK is the seventh national association after Italy, Germany, the US, Switzerland, France and Japan, and boasts 2,000 members in 41 groups.

Its chairwoman, Sue Miller, said Britain was now a nation divided by its attitude to food. "Our food culture is one of extremes - food tends to be either fast, low-grade fuel or an elitist lifestyle pursuit for the affluent," she said.

"Slow Food UK aspires to encourage and support a food culture where quality, delicious food, produced by environmentally sympathetic and economically sustainable methods, is the norm and accessible to all."

The Conservative leader, David Cameron, and the editor of The Ecologist, Zac Goldsmith, joined Mr Petrini at a meeting of movement members in London's Borough Market yesterday.

Britain had created a "junk food society", he said, and it was a "social responsibility"to produce and eat good food . "Too often we just treat it like fuel, shovelling any old food down, any time, any place, anywhere," he said. Cheap food was a false economy. "There is a price to be paid for it in our health, our environment and our culture," he said.

The Slow Food movement in Britain, which administers the UK's five Presidia - traditional products threatened by industrial standardisation, hygiene laws and environmental damage - for its international Ark of Taste scheme, was previously run from the international headquarters in Bra, Italy. Ludlow was the first British town to be awarded Cittaslow or "slow city" status. The Norfolk towns of Aylsham and Diss have also been awarded the title in honour of their determination to hold on to their traditional ways of living, shopping and farming.

Ludlow has established itself as a prime destination on a gastronomic tour of the Britain. As well as two Michelin-starred restaurants - Shaun Hill's Merchant House and Claude Bosi's Hibiscus - the town has a thriving food and drink festival.

Slow Food is organised into Conviviums, local organisations which organise food tastings and other events. It has also established a University of Food to educate shoppers into the way of laid-back eating.

Real British food

* Cornish sardines (pilchards):Only one factory still uses the traditional methods of salting the fish that have been employed for 400 years. It survives as a working museum

* Single and Double Gloucester cheeses: Using the milk of Old Gloucester cows, the region has been producing raw milk cheese by traditional methods since 1500

* Three Counties Perry: The product once commanded the respect accorded to champagne, but perry-makers rapidly disappeared from the west midlands during the last century

* Gloucester beef: By 1972, only one viable herd remained of the once commonplace Old Gloucester breed, but local farmers brought it back from the verge of disappearance

peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
Life and Style

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

    The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album