First year of Slow Food in Birmingham

16th May 2019

Our Review of a Slow 2018

What was I thinking …. on a cold wet night in January 2018 I arranged to screen a film called Sustainable upstairs at 1000 Trades to introduce the idea of Slow Food to Birmingham.

I hoped that about 25 – 30 people would attend – instead we (over) filled the room!

Brad Carter from Carters of Moseley (member of the Slow Food Cooks Alliance), Jayne Bradley Ghosh from Kitchen School and John Stapleton from 1000 Trades were already on board. Shane Holland, chair of Slow Food in the UK came to introduce Birmingham to what Slow Food thinking is all about. Over this last year not only has individual membership to Slow Food Birmingham grown faster than we could have imagined, we also have the support of several local food businesses who work in alignment with the ideals of Slow Food. I would like to thank – Kitchen School, Wine Freedom, 1000 Trades, BigBarn’s Local Food Map, Churchfields Dairy and Saltworks, and Hampton Manor for their ongoing support of Slow Food.

Locally in our first year (thanks to the huge support from you attending our events) Slow Food has been able to financially support two new Urban food projects. We backed The Clean Kilo’s kickstarter, helped out with introductions to local suppliers and some mentoring. They are now the largest packaging free supermarket in the UK and in turn, their support of local and seasonal produce is changing the way other zero waste shops think globally. We have also helped fund the R&D for Fungi Feast, one of Zero Waste in the Community’s first projects. Their aim is to take spent coffee grounds from cafes and grow mushrooms to be sold at markets and to restaurants. In 2019, we hope you will continue to attend our events so we can continue to support the development of local businesses and other projects that bring Good, Clean and Fair food into our city.

Our first meeting was a Taste Education workshop; where Chef Brad Carter talked about why he strives to use only food grown in the UK and we also met and tasted a few local products. Our next Taste Education workshop is on Jan 16th, click here for more details. 

In April we teamed up with The Real Junk Food Project Birmingham to run one of 100 Disco Soups around the world; designed to raise awareness of the huge amount of good food that never makes it to our tables. We would really like to thank Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen for hosting our event and the 70 plus attendees. We look forward to more people joining in this year’s event.

We hosted a week of Zero Waste dining at 1000 trades in September with the help of Kitchen School’s seasonal pop-up, Artisan Epicurean, The Real Junk Food Project Brum’s Community Kitchen, Change Kitchen and Ox&Origin. It was fantastic to chat with so many people about this important issue. We look forward to expanding the idea this year.

September also saw several members of SFBrum along with tens of thousands of Slow Food activists and producers from around the world attend the biannual Terra Madre Salon del Gusto in Turin, Italy.

Our group was given two delegate places, these were awarded to Charlotte Watkivs and Tom Pell. The event is huge and inspirational. It is overwhelming and empowering.

I can only encourage you to start planning a visit in 2020.

October was a busy month, as well as continuing the work many members are doing as part of the Green Games coalition to see the Commonwealth Games in 2022 run as environmentally friendly as possible, our group hosted the Slow Food England AGM that concluded by visiting The Clean Kilo.

We held our first Food for Thought night; where Brazilian, Claudio Oliver talked to us about how food can be the central player to transforming a community. This would not have been possible without the collaboration of USE-It and the hard work of SF Brum member Sam Ewell. Here is a link to the talk. 

We took part in a discussion at Grand Union, Digbeth about how people living in an urban environment can access locally grown, seasonal fresh food. We will keep you up to date as we work with others to bring better access to fresh local food in our city.

And to finish off our year Hampton Manor hosted the inaugural industry led day that focused on the themes of Slow Food. I am sure I can speak for everyone who attended or took part when I say this was an outstanding event, and we look forward to seeing it grow. I would personally like to thank James and Fjona Hill for their amazing hospitality and all the work their team put into hosting this event.

The only other thing I can add to our year in review is that with your help 2019 will also be a year when more people in Birmingham will learn about or have access to Good Clean and Fair Food.


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