Case Study: RABI On Farm Harvest Festival
The Leicestershire branch of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution hosted a harvest festival with a difference to encourage urban/city children to join in and celebrate the harvest celebrations on-farm.Hosted by Anthony and Sandra Herbert of Whetstone Pastures Farm, (between Leicester and Lutterworth) on a soft fruit farm, those who attended were suitably seated on straw bales in the barn surrounded by local produce, sheep and a tractor whilst singing hymns including we plough the fields with tractors.
The sermon was delivered by Rev Peter Hooper, Rural officer for the Diocese and host Sandra Herbert explained to the children about where eggs came from and with using an apple explained how precious the Earth's resources are with little space to grow our food.
The service was family friendly and with such warm weather all 75 guests could enjoy the sunshine and celebrate together in such different surroundings to what they are used to normally. Whetstone Church brigade band accompanied the hymns and a procession of harvest produce was blessed.
Milly Wastie, R.A.B.I. regional manager commented 'It was a great opportunity to be able to promote the hard work that the farming community undertake in bringing home the harvest'. It's fantastic that those who attended could understand better about where food comes from and how it is produced. It was also rewarding that the interview I conducted on BBC radio Leicester earlier that day encouraged more people to attend and join in with us!'
Veronica Sutton, Leicestershire R.A.B.I. chairman commented 'It has been such a team effort to ensure we could pull off another successful outdoor harvest service and we are grateful to our hosts and all that came along and supported us'. 'The collection has also raised nearly 200.'
Mayor of Lutterworth Cllr Philip Toye gave a reading at the service and concluded that he hoped that this type of event could be replicated across the county as it is so important that children from a young age have the opportunity to be exposed to nature and what is happening within a few miles of their doorstep.
The purpose of the service was to:
- Encourage more non-country dwellers (especially children) to join in with a harvest festival service
- Break down the barriers of holding the service in a church by holding the service on-farm and bringing everyone closer to the farm roots
- Bring a better understanding to how and where food is produced
- Bring different groups of people together to celebrate
- Raise awareness of the work of farming charities especially R.A.B.I.
- Highlight the importance of buying British and supporting local farmers especially what affect this has on the local economy / commodity prices etc