Illawarra and Shoalhaven producers are prominent in a global network of volunteers trying to preserve food biodiversity in regional communities.
When combined Slow Food South Coast and Slow Food Saddleback boast the highest concentration of members in Australia.
They are not only strong in numbers but passionate about linking good food with a commitment to protecting local produce and traditions.
The Slow Food movement provides communities more chances to shop local and support farmers, growers and fishermen.
It wants everyone to have access to good, clean and fair food.
Local members are proactively involved in initiatives to ensure local produce and food is tasty, seasonal, fresh, wholesome and linked to the region's culture and seasons.
They provide food in ways that preserve biodiversity and don't harm the environment.
The aim is for it to be affordable while maintaining good conditions and fair pay for producers.
Rosie Cupitt, of Cupitt's Winery, is among the drivers of Slow Food South Coast and was proud of the "turnout" for the annual awards night just prior to Christmas. Such events help ensure the region's reputation as a foodie haven is not kept a secret.
There are more than 400 Slow Food members in the Illawarra and South Coast.
During the evening grants were awarded to Coopers Growing, The Lost Plot, The Soul Patch and Milton Farm Shop and 28 local food heroes were recognised with a 2020 Snail of Approval for good, clean and fair food producing practices.
Member for Gilmore Fiona Phillips said such producers were the reason why the region was now on the national foodie map.
She said the Slow Food community is made up of people with a wonderful spirit who take time out of their own busy lives to help each other through the tough times.
And the movement hosts community fundraisers to help local growers, fishers and producers can get some help to achieve their goals of producing good, clean, fair food.
Mrs Phillips said initiatives such as the Snail of Approval and Chef's Alliance recognised, celebrated and encouraged the partnership of producers and suppliers. And acknowledged the important role that chefs, restaurants and shops play in preparing and selling wholesome, sustainable local food.
The Slow Food movement is also about protecting local native food for future generations.
"It is inspiring to see Slow Food South Coast partnering with the local indigenous community to identify potentially native endangered foods from our region," Mrs Phillips said.
"Slow Food South Coast is doing so much to educate, celebrate and support our community"
Mrs Phillips said the drought was showing how being a food producer can be a difficult task.
"There are so many external factors that impact on whether you have a good season or a bad season. It is tough work and sometimes farming can be a lonely job. But having a strong community like Slow Food South Coast can make the world of difference".
Mrs Phillips said the region boasted a large farming community producing quality food and produce such as milk, cheese, wine, berries, olives, mushrooms, peaches, honey, beef and oysters.
It is also supported by a growing tourism industry with visitors wanting more from their holidays. And that is being catered for in the culinary scene by many talented chefs and progressive restauranters.