Monday, 24 May 2010

September 18th - October 3rd 2010

You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use, to bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden the human heart, oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart.’ Psalm 104, 14-15

 Taking place alongside traditional Harvest festivities British Food Fortnight kicks off this year from 18 September to 3 October 2010. Already it looks set to be the biggest yet. The aim is to make the public – and in particular young people – aware of the diverse and delicious food that Britain produces and to increase awareness of the health benefits and pleasures of eating quality, fresh, seasonal and regional produce.

Historically the Church has played a key role in reinforcing the connection between people, the land and the food it produces through Rogation and Harvest Festival. Harvest Festival is second to Christmas as the most popular time for ‘going to church’. This gives a good opportunity to use Harvest Festival to make a connection between local people and the food that is grown or produced locally.

There is a growing interest in food production and cooking. Fair trade is very important in developing world countries and many congregations have pledged to use only fairly-traded tea, coffee and chocolate. Harvest Festival gives a great opportunity to build on this by highlighting the additional value of using seasonal British and local produce wherever possible. This year encourage your congregation to think seriously about buying local, regional or British food regularly throughout the year. And use British Food Fortnight to reinvigorate your Harvest festivities and to involve people from your community who would not normally attend church services!

Among the possibilities you may consider:

• Link with other people who may be doing something in British Food Fortnight, eg. local shops, pubs, farms, markets, restaurants, hotels & schools. provides details of events taking place and who is taking part.
• Contact your local school and offer to help them celebrate British food and farming as well as harvest festival.
• Offer space in church literature, parish magazine, community newsletters for mention of what others are planning or doing for British Food Fortnight and flag worship as being part of the national event.
• Add elements to your harvest thanksgiving that will make it even more appealing to those who do not normally come – the young, shop workers, migrant workers, cooks/chefs, food processors, retailers, farmers. This is an opportunity to give out personal invitations and hear their story as part of the service event.
• Explore how raw materials turn into the finished product – cooking utensils, shopping trolleys, tasting opportunities as well as a procession raw materials and finished products.
• If others are holding events talk to them and offer a small additional worship element, even just an opening prayer and an easy to sing item.
• Arrange a Harvest Supper on a farm with local food and drink, a short act of worship in a barn and finish with a barn dance or similar.
• Ensure that any church catering, particularly during this fortnight (and also for the rest of the year!), uses local food and drink and Fair Trade products.
• Contact local organisations that have a meal as part of their life eg Schools, Rotary, Lunch Clubs, Old People’s Homes and suggest they organise a special BFF meal and offer someone from the church as a speaker.

Crick Harvest
Robert Barlow,  recalls when he was Rector of Crick,: “In addition to our ordinary services, we held a farm walk and sheep roast. Members of a suburban church from Northampton joined us and together we visited a farm and learnt something of what life is like for those in agriculture today. The sheep roast was washed down with excellent Northamptonshire wine. The event was a great success in building links between suburbs and country as well as between consumers and agriculture.”
Bury-St-Edmunds, Suffolk
Revd Canon Sally Fogden has organised two events: “We held a British sausage festival with everyone’s favourite type of sausage provided by local producers and butchers. We served mash made from British potatoes with local cream, salads and some kind people produced puddings. A folk group sang and a farmer who is diversifying as a part-time comic told Suffolk tales - a very popular evening, we shall do it again.”“Our Harvest Supper is always a good occasion and an opportunity to promote British food and farming. The sermon was about being proud of our farmers. And afterwards we had a feast of wonderful British home-cooked ham, beef, jacket potatoes and salads followed by home made apple pies (British apples of course!).”
Riverford Visit
Nick Pearkes Rector of five parishes near Totnes in Devon, arranged for harvest festival at Riverford Organics, which produces food boxes. It included a tour of the Riverford site, followed by a short service and lunch in the Restaurant.
Harvest of the Mearns, Aberdeenshire
Laurencekirk, in the heart of rich farming country in the north-east of Scotland, has seen the decline in agriculture break the connection between people and the land. The church ran a local food event on a Saturday during British Food Fortnight reflecting each part of the food chain in the area, with a simple soup and roll lunch provided by the congregation. “Harvest of the Mearns” included fruit and vegetable growers, a grain merchant, whisky distillery, beef producer, preserve manufacturer and bakery supplier. Over 300 people visited the event and the attendance at Harvest Festival the following day doubled.

And in Westminster …religious leaders from the nine major faiths in the UK gathered for lunch during British Food Fortnight 2004 to discuss food as a means of improving inter faith understanding.

If you would like ‘Love British Food’ posters to support your activities please contact Email: or Tel: 020 7840 9292. We also have exciting resources for shops, pubs and restaurants and wonderful competitions for school children of all ages so please ask if you would like further information.

You can register details of your British Food Fortnight harvest festival activities directly on to the event’s website, see:

Contact Alexia or Danielle on
Tel: 020 7840 9292

_____posted May 24th 2010_____

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