photo courtesy www.northeastorganic.org
Organic food producers from across the North East are set to showcase
the delicacies they offer at a special Slow Food Lunch this month
Organised by the North East Organic Programme, which was established
by the Soil Association with the support of Defra's Rural Enterprise
Scheme (RES), and the Slow Food Association the lunch aims to raise
awareness and promote the wide variety of organic produce to the
The Slow Food Lunch, in the Banqueting Hall, at Newcastle Civic
Centre on Monday, 21 November, from noon, will bring together catering
managers from the region's local authorities, schools, NHS trusts
and the universities, Councillor Peter Arnold (Newcastle City Council
leader), representatives from the North East Organic Programme
Steering Group, Joseph De Giorgi (Slow Food Newcastle's Convivium
Leader), Sure Start Programme managers, members of the Sustainable
Food and Farming Strategy Group, the Northern Rock Foundation and
local community food projects including allotments, community cafes
and food co-operatives.
Alex Rogerson, North East Organic Development Officer, explained:
"The North East Organic Programme provides a service to all
within the region's organic sector and one of the areas we would
like to stimulate is the promotion and development of local organic
produce within public procurement - introducing it to our local
hospitals, schools and others.
"Councillor Arnold very kindly invited us to host the lunch
at the Civic Centre and the event will provide an ideal opportunity
for us to introduce local organic producers to some of the key
decision-makers in the area of public procurement.
"The Slow Food movement was launched in Italy in 1986 to
promote and enhance people's knowledge and enjoyment of local foods,
combining good food with good company and we hope this collaboration
will help stimulate business for the region's organic producers."
Joseph De Giorgi, who is the owner of several nationally recognised
restaurants and bars in Newcastle including Secco and Popolo, said:
"This Convivial meal is the perfect opportunity for concerned
organisations, official bodies and individuals to embrace the philosophy
of Slow. Thorough the exchange of experiences and ideas we can
further the aim of improving sustainable farming methods, protecting
food cultures and giving value to the culture of gastronomy."
Adrian Vass, an adviser at the Rural Development Service in the
North East, said:
"This is a great opportunity for our organic producers to
showcase the wide variety of products they can offer to those in
the public sector. Organic produce is growing in popularity with
consumers generally and there's no reason why that trend should
not continue in the public sector.
"This is one of many initiatives and events that the North
East Organic Programme will be organising to help develop the region's
organic sector and we're delighted to be supporting them."
Councillor Peter Arnold said:
"We welcome the Slow Food Lunch and its important contribution
to the organic food movement, good health and well being. I hope
that those invited will take the opportunity to look at how they
can change their procurement policies to take advantage of this
* The North East Organic Programme was launched by the Soil Association
in December last year with the support of funding from Defra's
Rural Enterprise Scheme. The Soil Association is the UK's leading
charity promoting organic food and farming. The North East Organic
Programme aims to provide information and support to all organic
farmers and businesses in Northumberland, County Durham, Tyne & Wear
and the Tees Valley. It aims to expand and develop the North East
organic food and farming sector by offering technical and marketing
advice, training and by organising events to bring together those
within the sector and promote organic produce.
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