Case Study: Burnham on Sea Food Festival
The organisers of Burnham on Sea Food and Drink Festival set out to celebrate the harvest festival in & around Somerset by taking fresh food and drink into the community.
We hosted a series of three new events during British Food Fortnight to showcase the wealth of local food and drink products to the local community. We targeted different ages, in unusual settings, with an educational angle, working with local producers and leaving a legacy to enable the events to be repeated.
We hosted a pop-up farmers' market at a school, held a cooking demo at a farmers' market and brought food and drink to an event that didn't normally include this. We wanted to light a spark in these communities by tapping into people's senses through great looking, tasting, smelling and feeling food!
The idea of eating together was central to our ideas and we encouraged people to sample, taste and try lots of different things. We worked with 20 local primary producers, the market manager, a school and a music event. By using demo chefs we created great smells & tastes and showcased what could be done with the products. We advertised the events widely to maximize the footfall using social media, leaflet drops in school bags, posters, press releases and leaflet drops at the local care homes and sheltered housing apartments.
The traders were all primary Somerset producers who were able to explain and entice people to try new things. They all either supplied someone locally, were part of a box delivery scheme, traded at a local market or did their own online/telephone sales. The events gave the traders the opportunity to build their businesses by gaining new customers, thus improving their business sustainability.
The tradition of harvest festivals in Somerset is a long one with village Harvest Home suppers still popular, but these do not exist in the larger conurbations and towns. We wanted to start to change that. We shared our "how to" guides, policies etc. with attendees so that they can repeat what we did in the future. We also engaged with local businesses, inviting them to trade or provide produce for the demos. Around 100 came to the school, 600 to the farmers market and 800 to the music event.
"A great idea and event that really brought different people to the market and galvanized the traders too" Sharon Newton, Trader at the farmers market "Bringing such a great range of products into the park created a really different dynamic to the event - a great improvement and something we want to do again" Jacqui Strong, community leader