How Faith Leaders can take part
Food, and giving thanks for it is an important part of so many faiths and cultures, so naturally there is a multitude of ways in which Faith establishments can take part in British Food Fortnight.
See the ideas below for information on how you can celebrate the harvest and British food in your community - you can encourage your local school, local shops, pubs and restaurants to all join in with community activities.
Church of England - register your Harvest event
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.
If you are a Church leader you can register your harvest event on www.aharvestnearyou.com This special website, set up by the Church of England, allows visitors to search for harvest services and events near them and allows service organisers to add their own events. There are also plenty of ideas for Harvest themed praise here.
All faiths can celebrate the harvest, and it is a great time to reach out and really get your community together. Fair trade is very important in developing world countries and many groups have pledged to use only fairly-traded tea, coffee and chocolate during harvest time. 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, why not encourage your congregation to think seriously about buying local, regional or British food regularly throughout the year? Use British Food Fortnight to reinvigorate your Harvest festivities and to involve people from your community who would not normally be at the centre of activity.
Our About the Harvest pages hold lots of extra information about the history of the harvest and suggestions for harvest activities.
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.
- 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.
- Encourage donations to your local foodbank. Many are organised by the Trussell Trust and can be found on their website.
- 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 or community centre 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, care homes, and suggest they organise a special
British Food Fortnight meal and offer someone from the church as a speaker.