By Jon Clarke
IT is the fastest way to help the local agricultural economy.
Backing the Slow Food Movement’s plea for restaurants and hotels to use JUST local produce could protect jobs and hugely boost the region’s producers.
The call comes as the global food organisation finally opened a branch along the Costa del Sol… the first in Malaga.
Set up by four individuals passionate about food, it also aims to cut down on air miles and promote organic agriculture.
Under the heading ‘KM 0’, the Slow Food Movement wants to encourage chefs and restaurateurs to buy locally within 100 kilometres of their town or village if possible.
“This could be bread, cheese or vegetable growers,” explained director Evelyne Ramelet.
“We just need to help producers right now… life is hard and we need to help them by using their products.”
The French journalist, who has written five books on food, started the process of setting up her so-called Slow Food ‘convivium’ last year.
“It is the first in Malaga province and will take in Marbella and the whole Costa del Sol,” she added.
Now linking to two more groups in Granada and Sevilla, it can already count on one big name, chef Diego del Rio, from Michelin-starred restaurant El Lago, in Marbella.
The first chef in Malaga to be awarded the ‘KM 0’ title (there are three more in Andalucia: Tribeca, Gaia and Cortijo Vistalegre, all in Sevilla), he has thrown his weight behind the campaign.
“Let’s face it you don’t need to look outside Andalucia for produce,” explained the chef, who has worked in Paris and London.
“We have fantastic sea food, while the Guadalhorce valley, the Axarquia and Ronda have the most incredible ingredients.
“In particular we get goat from the Montes de Malaga and bread from the Colmenero cooperative in Alhaurin.
“We have the perfect climate to grow food and are always looking for good local producers.
“I really hope we can encourage many other restaurants to join and participate.”
The Slow Food Movement originated in Italy in 1986 as an antidote to McDonalds-style fast food and now has 100,000 members globally.
It came after Italian journalist Carlos Petrini started a wave of protests against the opening of a McDonalds in Rome.
There are now 1300 groups spread across 103 countries.
Visit the Olive Press Green Guide at www.greenguide spain.com for more information on organic agriculture and the Slow Food Movement