Five years since the birth of Slow Food in the UK, 70 delegates from the four Nations assembled in London early in 2020.

We were joined by Paolo di Croce, Secretary General of Slow Food International, and Elisa Demichelis, our representative at Slow Food International.

A very stimulating and inspiring day provided a snapshot of where we are now as a movement, with presentations from the leaders of all four nations, and the International Councillor, highlighting the campaigns, actions and events of note, from Climate Change to children’s health, biodiversity to support for small-scale producers. And much more!

There were also excellent examples of Slow Food in action. For example, how Big Barn and Slow Food Birmingham have created a new supply eco-system, using digital technology to connect local ‘slow’ supplier with consumers.

Shane Holland from Slow Food England presented an innovative partnership that will ultimately integrate a supply of good, nutritious food into the NHS in a deprived area of London.

And the Congress took time to present the Slow Food Person of the Year Award for 2019 to Paolo Arrigo of Franchi Seeds, who built the silver medal-winning Ark of Taste Garden at Hampton Court Flower Show. He embeds Slow Food values in all he does, and is a huge supporter of school and community gardens.

Of course, we also heard about the many challenges for our ‘square pegs in round holes’ to confront in the future.

Paolo di Croce had a passionate challenge for the UK movement to ‘raise our eyes’ as we approach the critical International Congress in Turin in October.

We’re all part of a powerful, global network of people who share a vision, and with the right focus we can play a real role with others in confronting the realities of climate change.

As Slow Food moves towards the Slow Food Congress, Paolo also encouraged everyone to read the Slow Food ‘Urgent Call to Slow Down’ that will form Slow Food’s overall strategy for the future.

The conversation continued at the closing dinner at Slow Food Supporter restaurant, Petersham Nursery.