Slow Food Dublin’s inaugural food festival, Slow in the City, took place recently in one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods – The Liberties. Dee Laffan reports on the highlights from the festival and the ethos at the heart of it.
What is Slow Food?
Slow Food Dublin is a member of Slow Food Ireland and one of 1,300 local chapters of the Slow Food food movement around the world. Slow Food is a non-profit, member-supported organisation founded in 1989 in Italy. It was set up to help counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.
Each chapter around the world focuses on their local food environment, in Dublin it brings together a community of like-minded people who champion the ethos of good, clean and fair food in Ireland’s capital, by hosting regular events highlighting food businesses and producers who honour these values, supporting food and community initiatives and celebrating great Irish food with our members and the public.
Highlighting a Community Project
The venue for the festival was Sophia Housing Association on Cork Street, Dublin 8. Sophia is a weaving of holistic support to enable people who are homeless to make positive differences in their lives by becoming more aware of their own strengths and potential.
As well as providing accommodation, Sophia will also offer a safe place where one can seek wisdom of mind, heart, soul and spirit. Sophia is an environment that welcomes people who want to step back from the many pressures of their daily lives.
Slow in the City picked this venue in order to highlight the work done by this charity and to raise awareness of an ongoing need to help those working to help the homeless in Dublin.
Comprising of talks, panel discussions, demos, tastings, workshops and a food hall with Dublin producers, Slow in the City highlighted the flourishing Dublin food scene collaborating with local producers, community gardens, restaurants and chefs all of who live and breathe the Slow Food ethos every day in their work.
Circling the theme of ‘The Health of Irish Soil’ this one-day family event promoted the values of Slow Food through various activities throughout the day. The festival could be broken into three main areas:
The Market: A beautiful old church was the venue for an indoor food hall showcasing the best of Dublin food and drink producers and businesses including: Camerino Bakery, L. Mulligan. Grocer, Clonanny Farm, The Bretzel Bakery, Klaw Dublin, This is Seaweed, Piglet Wine Bar, Jane Russell’s Handmade Sausages, Rifano’s Crepes & Waffles, Cloud Picker Coffee Roasters, Homespun Foods, The Dublin Cookie Company, King of Kefir, Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, Natasha’s Living Food, Teeling Whiskey Company, The Proper Chocolate Company, Olly’s Farm, Cornude Popcorn, One Water and Katie Sanderson’s White Mausu Peanut Rāyu and chef Trevis Gleason was selling and signing copies of his latest cookbook Dingle Dinners. Attendees were invited to taste, smell, explore and most importantly – eat!
The Workshop: In the intimate and chilled round room of The Workshop, a line-up of children’s and adults’ tutorials, demos and tastings took place throughout the day. Keeping it seasonal, kids were invited to attend two fun pumpkin workshops with Ali Dunworth and Taz Kelleher, where they got to get their hands dirty and clean out pumpkin seeds, decorate pumpkins, stencil faces for carving and taste roasted pumpkin seeds and soup. Other workshops included: a sourdough demo with master baker, Fabrice, from The Bretzel Bakery, an oyster masterclass with Niall Sabongi from Klaw Dublin, an informative and tasty chocolate workshop with The Proper Chocolate Company and a whiskey tasting and tutorial with Teeling Whiskey.
The Symposium: A thoughtful line-up of talks and panel discussions on a variety of topics relating to soil, growing and food production in Ireland including:
Urban Growing – A group of Dublin community gardeners from different corners of the city came together to chat about their own projects, the pains & gains of growing in an urban environment and how people can get involved;
Don’t Treat Soil Like Dirt – Aaron Jewell is a permaculture designer, teacher and consultant and in this talk he discussed the relationship between soil health and growing food and practical ways to do both, also giving an introduction to permaculture;
Growers Talk Dirty – Soil degradation is the physical, chemical and biological decline in soil quality. The causes include chemical-heavy farming techniques, deforestation and global warming. Good soil is essential for the growth of healthy food. Is organic farming the solution? What methods do we need to adopt to protect Irish soil? A conversation with David from Clonanny Farm and Aaron Jewell from People4Soil Campaign;
Soil + Health – Dave Beecher, soil expert and environmentalist, presented a talk aimed to spark a conversation about soil, creating the understanding that we need to regenerate it in order to regenerate our own health and the health of the planet; discussing the role agriculture plays in climates change and delving into to soil biological life, and discussing the issues with cheap food and our current economic model;
There’s Something About Raw Milk – an inspiring conversation with Finbar Deery and Emma Clarke from Sheridans Cheese about raw mlik and the production of raw milk cheese, including a tasting of their 15 Fields Cheddar;
Don’t Be A Waster! Ireland generates one million tonnes of food waste every year. Everyone contributes to this – 370,000 tonnes from commercial and distribution, 450,000 tonnes from factories and 300,000 from consumers. This costs one billion Euro every year. To tackle this problem, we need information, communication and collaboration and this panel discussion explored just how we can do that. Hosted by chef and author Trevis Gleason.
A Zero Waste Policy
Slow in the City incorporated an objective to have as little plastic or other non-degradable waste as possible at the festival. In The Market, they operated Food on Board, an experiment in sustainability and a zero-waste initiative from Body&Soul Festival, held annually in June in County Westmeath, who kindly allowed them to adopt the ethos for the first Slow in the City market.
This meant each vendor was given wooden boards to serve food on alleviating any packaging. Attendees were asked to drop their boards to the washing station when finished and use the food bins provided for any leftovers. All food waste collected was given to the local community gardens for compost. All drinks were served in compostable containers. Recycle bins were also on-site for any remaining plastic waste.
Get started with OpenTable for Restaurants
We love talking with customers about their unique businesses. Simply fill out the below form and we will call you right back.