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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 March 2006, 10:10 GMT
Towns amble toward slow food race
Top to bottom: Machynlleth, Llandeilo and Mold
Machynlleth, Llandeilo or Mold: which will be first past the post?
Three towns have entered the race - or at least, competitive crawl - to be the first in Wales officially welcomed into the Slow Food movement.

Llandeilo, Machynlleth and Mold all hope to join the international campaign to promote local produce and combat fast food culture.

Open meetings have been held and food festivals planned to boost the bids.

Supporters hope by becoming an official "cittaslow" - Italian for slow city - they will boost tourism in their area.

On Monday a delegation from Machynlleth will travel to Ludlow, Shropshire, the first cittaslow in the UK, to see at first hand how the concept works.

On the same day Llandeilo's action group holds its first meeting.

But Mold may have already stolen a march with the formation of a hotel and restaurant association and plans for its first food festival at the end of September.

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

If it is a race, it's a very slow race
Andrea Mearns

The group says it has 80,000 members in more than 100 countries.

Graeme Kidd, president of the Cittaslow movement in the UK, said: "If you like, the race is on to see which Welsh town will be first to apply for membership - although we don't really race in the Slow movement.

"It is all about improving quality of life in your town and celebrating the differences that make it special."

Attributes needed by an aspiring slow town include a lack of fast food outlets, a long history, a thriving arts culture and a good range of quality cafes, restaurants, hotels and shops.

"It's not too daunting a task - indeed, most towns will find they are already on the way in terms of meeting the application requirements," added Mr Kidd.

Andrea Mearns, who is working on Mold's bid, said: "Mold is a food town but Cittaslow is not just about food, it's about the infrastructure, the environment, hospitality and all sorts of goals which we are keen on."

She said the bid was already helping community spirit and reinforcing pride in the town.

"It would be nice to be the first in Wales, but it's not really a race. If it is a race, it's a very slow race."


SEE ALSO:
Town joins 'slow food' campaign
09 Feb 06 |  South West Wales
Easy living in Slow capital
31 Jul 01 |  Europe
Italy celebrates 'slow food'
25 Oct 00 |  Europe


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