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Dr Simon Gwyn Roberts and Ian Rasmussen

During the global Terra Madre Festival of Good, Clean and Fair Food, Ian Rasmussen, and Dr Simon Gwyn Roberts, who are both Senior Lecturers in the Department of Music, Media and Performance, will be joining the panel discussion, which will air on Friday, October 9 at 8pm. Ian will be chairing the discussion, and Simon is one of the panellists.

Entitled Milltir Sgwar - COVID and the revival of Welsh Food Cultures, it is part of the Terra Madre Fringe festival, organised by Slow Food in the UK as its contribution to the global festival. The event itself is hosted by Slow Food Cymru Wales.

Lockdown has seen changes in the way people shop and eat; eat out; and interact with their neighbours. With this in mind, the organisation wanted to discuss whether these changes will be lasting and how they have impacted on Welsh food culture. The Welsh concept of Milltir Sgwar, square mile, promotes the ideology of belonging to and being immersed in a small community. This in turn could be interpreted as promoting the principles of returning to the benefits brought by a reduced supply chain. Local food supply and distribution saw a resurgence during lockdown that we haven’t seen since World War Two. Have these changes, whether they be seen as rediscoveries or reinventions, been enough to secure the future of Welsh food cultures or will we all return to our old ways once lockdown is lifted? These are the questions that the panel is aiming to discuss.

The panel also includes: Patrick Holden, CEO Sustainable Food Trust; Carolyn Steel, architect and author of Hungry City and Sitopia; Jane Powell, educator, writer and activist; Jenny Rathbone Member of Senedd Cardiff Central; Trine Hughes, Chair Slow Food Cymru Wales (and cofounder of Food in the Time of Lockdown); and Nia Williams, Moderator-Director of Slow Food for Wales.

Ian said: “Despite the many setbacks that have arisen due to COVID-19, we have seen some incredibly interesting and heartening reactions to the pandemic in relation to food. We now have a genuine opportunity to reassess Welsh food production and culture in ways that may benefit both the environment and society. Indeed, there may be a greater clamour than ever to make access to food fairer and its production kinder to livestock, wildlife and the land.”

Simon said: “Might the conditions now be ripe for a reinvention of regional food culture in Wales, simultaneously outward looking and inward looking? Might devolved Wales look overseas for inspiration? The Basque Country, Catalonia and the Italian regions are, or should be, obvious points of departure. At the same time, the reinvigoration of the old tradition of the Milltir Sgwar sees us seeking solutions in locally produced food and businesses.”

Trine Hughes.jpg

Trine Hughes
Trine Hughes

Trine Hughes added: “I am looking forward to being part of this virtual debate, which I am sure will be engaging and inspiring. Community and food have been the local saviours of our sanity during lockdown. We are hoping that as ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ this heady mix of need and local production stepping up to the plate, will bring about a food revolution that is long overdue.”

The event will be live on Friday October 9 at 8pm and will also include an opportunity to interact with the panel via the Zoom webinar format during the event.

To book a ticket to the free event, and to find out more about the Festival, please visit:


Notes to Editors

About the Department of Music, Media and Performance at the University of Chester:

The Department of Music, Media and Performance (MMP) is a large, multidisciplinary department teaching across a vast range of communication and performance subjects.  It has a strongly interdisciplinary structure, which is reflected in its notably diverse undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and research culture.

About Slow Food

Slow Food is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment. We are a not–for–profit organisation, founded in Italy.

Grassroots is the key phrase, each convivium represents the area within which it is located, engaging all those around us to think differently about the protection of our edible biodiversity. Encouraging all to engage with their food supply system and to really change the way we think about what we eat.

North Wales, with its diverse food producing economy, boasts a strong and active group. Our ethos is good clean fair food for all. Voting with our fork and advocating on behalf of the wonderful food that is produced in our area. We want our members to reconnect to where their food comes from and understand, and link the pleasure of good food to a commitment to the local community and the environment. Our aim is the promotion and preservation of tradition, biodiversity and food heritage for generations to come.

Being part of Slow Food Cymru Wales we are engaged with Wales as a whole. Renowned from land to sea, Welsh products are highly sought after and worth fighting for. 


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