Dusty Knuckle founder trades his way to Naples to raise money for Slow Food education

The founder of one of Cardiff’s homegrown food pop-ups, Dusty Knuckle, will be trading his way to the home of pizza in Naples to raise money for not-for-profit food education organisation Slow Food International.

Phill Lewis, who started the wood-fire pizza company in 2014, will start his journey from Cardiff to Naples in southern Italy with a launch event at the Printhaus in Canton on Wednesday February 1.

Starting off with just one sack of flour, a case of tomatoes, and a box of cheese, he will then use the pizza sales from each day to progress to the next location and add any profit to the final total.

The route, which will take around three weeks to complete and cover approximately 2,000 miles, will take him from Cardiff, to Bristol and Oxford, before moving down through London to Brighton and up to Dover, crossing over to Calais. He will then travel through Amiens, Paris, Lyon, and Chamonix, before entering Italy via the Alps and travelling south through Turin, the birthplace of Slow Food, and down the East coast across to Rome, finishing in Naples.

Phill, who is already a member of Slow Food, will visit various local suppliers along the route, to see how they produce their products and pick up different ingredients for the pizzas during the journey.

Phill said: “I’ve been a member of Slow food for only about six months, but their food ethos and their message is exactly what we like to promote at Dusty Knuckle, in that we are passionate about local produce and good quality food, encouraging customers to ask us questions and scrutinise our ingredients. We want people to be curious and care about where their food comes from, how it was made and who made it.

“I feel like an increasing number of people are losing their connection with food, and don’t understand where produce comes from and how it’s made, which can have a detrimental effect on people’s health and on our environment, as there’s more focus on large companies and less on smaller local suppliers.

“This is why it’s so important to educate communities, especially young people, about food so they understand what their choices are and the impact they have. There are Slow Food groups all over the world, including here in Wales, and the money we raise will be ring-fenced by Slow Food International for food education projects such as school gardens in the countries that we visit.

“We’ll be towing a pizza oven on a trailer all the way to Naples. We’ll also be visiting other Slow Food members and local suppliers along the route to speak to them about their produce and how they make it, and will be filming video diaries of each day about where we’ve been, who we’ve met, and how many pizzas we’ve sold so we can keep everyone updated on the Dusty Knuckle social media channels.”

Founded it Italy in 1989, Slow Food International is a global grassroutes movement which works with local suppliers and communities to help them make informed choices about their food and its production. In Wales, the organization focuses on local educational projects to help individuals and communities make informed choices about their food and its production.

Mark Adams, Chair of Slow Food SE Wales, said: “It’s wonderful to see one of our members embarking on this inspirational journey to help people reconnect with their food origins. I am so pleased to see Phill so wholly embrace the ethos of Slow Food.”

To coincide with the journey, Dusty Knuckle is also launching its own community initiative, where staff will go into schools and local community groups at least once a month using the process of making pizza to engage people in food education, promoting the benefits of understanding food provenance and supporting smaller producers.

Phill continued: “When we started Dusty Knuckle it was really important to me that we gave back to the local community. I think that every business, big or small, has a social responsibility, and by going out to young people and helping them to learn more about their food, the hope is that we can make them more aware of their choices and teach them something that will benefit them and their local communities.”

Dusty Knuckle will be open as usual on Fridays and Saturdays throughout January. For social media and video updates on Phill’s journey, visit Dusty Knuckle on Facebook or on Twitter @dusty_knuckle.

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