Press release: British Food Fortnight sowing the seeds of change
British Food Fortnight sowing the seeds of change
Home produced food has never tasted so good.So say the thousands of supporters behind British Food Fortnight, the thriving national celebration of our great food heritage
Now in its 16th year British Food Fortnight, runs from 22 Sept-7 Oct 2018.It’s grown from the grassroots with communities remaining at its heart.This year the Fortnight is poised to garner even greater support as hundreds of events in towns and villages, schools, shops, pubs, restaurants, hospitals and communities all unite under the common theme.Over 1,000 schools will be serving British Food Fortnight menus made with British ingredients thanks to backing from LACA (Local Authority Catering Association) and school catering organisations such as Cucina. Hundreds of care homes will be putting British ingredients on their menus with British food being a central focus of the annual conference of the National Association of Care Catering that takes place during the Fortnight.And the event is joining the NHS’s 70th birthday celebrations by championing the hospital caterers that go the extra mile to put local, healthy, seasonal food on patient menus.
While the Fortnight is an important focal point for British food producers, work behind the scenes is year-round for organisers Love British Food.With backing from official sponsors, the Co-op and a number of high-profile celebrities such as leading chef Raymond Blanc, Liz Earle and Candice Brown; and with nationally recognised organisations like the National Trust and Women’s Institute on board, the campaign for British food has a strong network of big influencers. The Co-op leads the celebrations around the country with its 100% British sourcing commitment making the best of British food easily accessible to everyone whether they live in cities or the countryside.
This year’s British Food Fortnight shines a light on the NHS and the hospitals who continue to buy and serve British, local and seasonal food.According to the Hospital Caterers Association in excess of £200m is spent annually on food for patients with British food accounting for roughly 75% of the budget.
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the NHS all members of the Hospital Caterers Association serving British food have been offered a specially designed Love British Food/NHS logo in recognition of their support.
“The NHS is one of British farming’s biggest customers.During this year’s British Food Fortnight, we want to pay tribute to those hospital caterers who strive to serve the very best British ingredients in healthy meals to patients.There are many wonderful examples across the country and we want to shine the light on them and, in doing so, to inspire others,” says Alexia Robinson, founder of Love British Food and British Food Fortnight.
Young farmers are coming out in force during the Fortnight to promote the Love British Food message. The National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs is challenging members to do ONE thing during British Food Fortnight to promote British food.This could be as simple as posting a tweet or displaying a #BritishFoodisGreat foam sign or banner at farm gate; or, for the more ambitious, visiting their local school to give a talk; or helping a local establishment, such as their local pub, set up a new British supply chain.
“Collaborating with the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs makes so much sense.We are so lucky as an industry to have so many inspirational young farmers who are the very best advocates for British food, says Ms Robinson”
Raymond Blanc has been a strong supporter of British Food Fortnight since it was founded back in 2002.He is joined by a long list of advocates including wellbeing writer and organic farmer, Liz Earle and new ambassadors, Great British Bake-Off winner, Candice Brown and Phil Howard, Michelin-starred chef from Elystan Street Restaurant in London. Raymond and the team will be leading the search for the most imaginative celebrations of British food taking place during the Fortnight. Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Michael Gove, who presented the winning trophy this year has been asked to be on an esteemed panel of judges to choose this year’s winner.Entries are expected from the towns and villages, many of which are staging their very own food festival and giving a platform to the growing number of new artisan producers.
A highlight of the Fortnight is the Love British Food Harvest Torch which continues its journey around the country and this year will have travelled from St. David’s Cathedral in Pembrokeshire to the Dioceses of Chelmsford and Ely which are jointly hosting this year’s National Harvest Service.
The Harvest Torch is a symbol of thanksgiving for our home-grown food and over 400 Harvest events will be taking place across the UK. A huge fan of the traditional harvest, Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall has sent words of support to open the National Harvest Service.She said, “Years ago, in Britain, Harvest Festival was almost as important as Christmas and Easter so I am pleased that the team behind British Food Fortnight is maintaining it as an important part of the nation’s year.”
Chelmsford and Ely hold their National Harvest Service on the 30th September and 14 October, respectively.
“British Food Fortnight has been so powerful in inspiring people around the country, whether big cities like Bath and Peterborough or individual schools, care homes, communities and most importantly increasing the amount of British food served in the public sector,” says Ms Robinson.
If you would like to get involved visit www.lovebritishfood.co.uk