A year of celebration lies ahead for Slow Food Aylsham as it marks its 15th birthday, members were told at the annual general meeting.
Chairman Patrick Prekopp said the group faced a packed programme of events, promotions and new ventures as the town looked forward to Slow Food delegates from across the UK coming to Aylsham for their national meeting.
It was an opportunity for SFA to raise its profile in the community and face the challenges a renewed interest in the environment and healthy living has created.
He welcomed three new members to the group at the agm held at its traditional venue, the Saracen’s Head, Wolterton, on Monday 20 January 2020. They were in addition to three other newcomers earlier the previous year.
However, membership was at a “critical” level following the departure of four older members, and left the total at 21 – just above the 20 threshold required for the group to retain its Slow Food status.
Patrick reported that 2019 had been a year of adjustment following the loss of these members as it meant there were fewer volunteers to help at the group’s annual events.
Burns Night and the cookery workshops at the Family Learning Day and a couple of cookery demos at the monthly Farmers’ Markets had had to be cancelled while the cider event in September was a “washout”.
The good news was that new ventures like joining the Big Norfolk Sausage Bash, teaming up with the Food Bank at Cromer and revising the Slow Food Recipe Book, had raised the group’s profile within the community. This was particularly marked by better promotion through social media where SFA had an active presence on five Aylsham Facebook sites and had attracted more than 150 followers on Twitter.
The group had also had its first outing for several years when members dined out at the Indian On The Cliff restaurant at Cromer.
Treasurer Roger Willis confirmed that, financially, the year had not been as good as previously. The accounts, while still healthy, had seen a small deficit compared to 2019.
At the formal session of the meeting, Patrick was re-elected as chair for 2020 along with David Harper, Secretary, and Roger Willis, Treasurer.
Patrick welcomed new members Ian and Becky Gravenell, Robert and Sue Bilbie, and Becky Rolf and thanked the membership for their continued support, particularly Mo Anderson-Dungar and Roger Willis for the efforts with the management of the group – “over and above expectations”, and Giles Margarson for his “continued individual and selfless assistance with the staging of events”.
Special thanks also went to Claudia Pim, Maureen Harper and Lesley Prekopp – and their “blokes” – for their work with the Food Bank and recipe book.
After the meeting, 17 members sat down to enjoy a winter-warming three-course meal prepared by chef Mark Sayers, using the best local produce, including pheasant terrine, venison cottage pie and an East Anglian cheeseboard.