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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 February 2006, 07:00 GMT
Town joins 'slow food' campaign
Llandeilo seems to prefer life to proceed at a more comfortable pace
The easy-going town of Llandeilo is hoping to become the Welsh capital of the slow food movement.

Its population of just under 3,000 may find themselves leading the Welsh arm of an international campaign trying to combat fast food culture.

Local group leader Margaret Rees said the Carmarthenshire town had many of the basic requirements - including no fast food outlets.

Supporters will meet on Thursday night to rally the campaign.

Desirable food shops, cafes, restaurants, hotels and shops
Margaret Rees on Llandeilo

The first Slow Food association was founded in the mid-80s in Piedmont, Italy, to express concern about the spread of fast food outlets.

Its website says it "opposes the standardisation of taste, defends the need for consumer information, protects cultural identities tied to food and gastronomic traditions, safeguards foods and cultivation and processing techniques inherited from tradition and defend domestic and wild animal and vegetable species".

Llandeilo chip shop
A fish and chip shop, but Llandeilo's version serves 'traditional' fare
The group says it has 80,000 members in more than 100 countries, and some areas have been designated a "cittaslow", which translates literally as slow town, but the term "slow city" is used in English.

The Shropshire town of Ludlow was the UK's first cittaslow, and Ms Rees, a food consultant, hopes Llandeilo has the attributes to follow suit.

Clean environment

She said these included "ancient history, a folk and music culture, desirable food shops, cafes, restaurants, hotels and shops."

Its other attractions include a clean environment, an active recycling programme, combined with the traditional and bio-diverse agricultural, artisan food producers, top tourist locations, and open spaces.

Llandeilo restaurant
What could be more relaxed than a leisurely lunch or afternoon tea?
The campaign will need support from local authorities, but she believes gaining the status would also help the economy.

"The main thing is to increase awareness of the natural environment and also increase the economic growth of Llandeilo," she said.

On a visit to Llandeilo, the BBC Wales News website found nothing to suggest it would appeal to the McBurger brigade.

It basically has one main shopping street that runs the length of the town.

During the day, visitors can take their pick from a number of olde worlde tea rooms, an ice-cream parlour or one the pubs that serve food.

Admittedly, there is an Indian take-away, and directly opposite a chip shop - but The Chippery is defended by Ms Rees as a traditional establishment distant from the world of fast food. There is nothing more and it would appear that is how the locals like it.

Llandeilo at night
The only glare is from a belisha beacon or a passing car
Unlike many even smaller towns these days, there are no glaring neon signs.

The lack of takeaways is matched by the absence of the sort of litter usually associated with them.

And the double yellow lines down both sides of the narrow high street mean cars could not park even if there was a burger bar to dash into.

Ms Rees estimates it could take a number of years for Llandeilo to become a cittaslow. But like everyone else in the slow food movement, she is prepared to wait.

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