Press Release: Introducing the UKs Harvest Heroes!
A small coastal community and a Newcastle primary school are the winners of the Love British Food 2014 Community Harvest Heroes which is sponsored by Tesco and run in conjunction with The Telegraph.
The competition, now in its second year, acknowledges the people who organise the most imaginative and inclusive harvest celebrations; people who keep alive in their communities the great British tradition of celebrating the harvest. Entries were received from across the country – people old and young – who did great things to get their communities buzzing. Harvest services, apple days, bake offs and pie offs, cooking master classes, community lunches, and school enterprise food and plant stalls were among the activities taking place.
The winners were chosen by a panel of judges led by: The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; David Wood, Group Managing Director, Health & Wellness Division, Tesco; Raymond Blanc; Adam Henson and Blue Peter Gardener, Chris Collins.
Together they were looking for events that strengthened the local community, educated people about British food and eating locally, and supported the economy.
The small coastal town of Emsworth was the unanimous winner. Emsworth’s outstanding effort saw a series of events spread across the two weeks with two local producer markets, foraging walks, themed lunches, films about the town’s oyster heritage and tastings. Students from the nearby colleges took over the Brookfield Hotel to prepare a three course Great British Menu and a food mountain was built, with the goods donated to the Beacon Food Bank.
David Woods commented on the broad appeal of what took place and the fact the campaign involved so many aspects of the community. Adam Henson thought that Emsworth fulfilled all of the judging criteria brilliantly.
Alistair Gibson, Organiser of Emsworth Food Fortnight, said, "Winning this competition is a wonderful recognition for a fortnight that grew into a true community event, encompassing so many people from young to old. As a result it will highlight Emsworth as a real food destination as well as reminding the local population that we need to support both our local business and community. It has already seen the establishment of a permanent, once monthly food bank collection point to coincide with Emsworth's monthly market day."
The first runner up was #Harvestfever in Somerset. The organisers hosted a series of events to showcase the wealth of local food and drink products to the local community, such as a pop-up farmers market at a school. The other finalists in this category included a Nepali Elders Community Bake in Hampshire, an on-Farm Harvest Festival in Leicestershire and Weston Super Food Festival in Somerset.
Beech Hill Primary School, Newcastle, were eventual winners of the tightly contested young people’s category. They tied their harvest activities to their studies on World War One, researching the food grown in allotments across the country and visiting a local residential home to listen to the resident’s memories of food and life during the War. An afternoon was held where the residents were invited to enjoy a meal using produce grown on the school’s allotment and recipes researched by the children. A market was held to sell the pupils harvest goods and Year Three had a special day taking part in Tesco’s Farm to Fork project, sampling a variety of fruit and cheese and watching a salmon fileting demonstration.
Raymond Blanc thought it was important that the school crossed the generational boundaries with their activities and was impressed that they embraced all aspects of harvest: farming, cooking, art, craft and community.
Diane Morren, Teacher at Beech Hill Primary, said, “We are thrilled to have won the competition. The children enjoyed doing a range of exciting harvest activities from visiting Tesco's 'Farm to Fork' trail, along with growing a range of vegetables, from seed, in our gardens. Developing a friendship with the residents from our local old folks home had a huge impact and all of these activities together have helped us to promote British values of respect, friendship, acceptance, tolerance and understanding of others throughout the school.”
The first runner up was Abbeys Primary School in Milton Keynes who organised a special harvest day at school that the whole school took part in with different activities for different classes. The other finalists in this category included Copleston High School in Ipswich, St Francis Primary & Nursery School in Bournville and the Oval Primary School in Birmingham.
Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said, “This competition goes to show harvest time is not just important for farmers but also for communities and families all over the country. This year’s Harvest Heroes are shining examples of how people are choosing to connect with their seasonal, locally grown and reared produce, celebrating all that is great about our wonderful food and drink. The entries were truly inspiring and I’d like to thank and congratulate everyone who took part.”
Elizabeth Truss will be presenting the winners with special handcrafted awards, made by talented letter carver, Tom Sargeant and fashioned from oak collected from the Duchy Estate.
The champions of the Community Category will be treated to behind-the-scenes tour of the Michelin Starred Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons gardens, where a member of the expert team will reveal more about Raymond Blanc's new National Heritage Garden over a delicious breakfast.
The winners of the Young People’s category will receive an action-packed gardening workshop with Blue Peter Gardener Chris Collins, plus cookery equipment kindly donated from the Tesco Home Range. Teacher Diane Morren said, “The equipment will transform our cookery lessons, and the children are going to be unbelievably excited to have Blue Peter gardener, Chris Collins in school.”
Notes to Editors:
For further press information and images please contact Love British Food on
British Food Fortnight is the annual celebration of the diverse and delicious food that Britain produces. It was founded thirteen years ago in response to the foot and mouth crisis in order to encourage the public to support British farmers and food producers. Hundreds of shops, pubs, and restaurants take part every year with special menus and promotions. The event is also an established date on the school calendar, with many schools using it as an opportunity to teach children about food. It is organised by Love British Food, a small independent organisation that educates consumers, retailers and caterers about the benefits of buying British.
Bring Home the Harvest is kindly sponsored by Tesco.
British Food Fortnight is sponsored by ARAMARK and a large family of organisations led by Centreplate, Hallmark Care Homes, Cucina Restaurants and Whiting and Hammond.
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