Supporting Healthy Eating
The Festival’s information partners, Miller Research, see it as part of their mission to support initiatives promoting local food and healthy eating, especially in more challenged communities. Each year they organise the AFF Food Conference, which discusses issues such as food production, food tourism, food as a mechanism for regeneration or food sustainability – and any profits they make are ploughed back into the community, or into future events.
One of their current clients is Organic Centre Wales (also the sponsor of the AFF Children’s Food Academy), who have been working in partnership with schools and community groups in a number of areas of Wales on the Sustainable Food Communities project. This project takes a flexible approach, working at a local level on activities which are appropriate to the audience, to provide food education combined with fun events to try and influence behaviour change in food culture.
Miller Research is a big fan of community meals, especially since taking part in the only UK event held by the iconic Outstanding in the Field, at Trealy Farm, Monmouth in 2012. On that occasion they supplied organic lamb from the farm on which they are based, prepared in excellent fashion by Stephen Terry of the Hardwick restaurant.
The team then heard that the Sustainable Food Communities project was working with Deri View School in Abergavenny on plans for a large community meal at the school. They offered to help. In association with the Food Festival, they provided lamb and sausages for more than 100 people, from local supplier Beavan Family Butchers.
The meat formed the centrepiece of a fantastic dinner prepared by school chefs Diane and Steph and was enjoyed by parents, friends and residents of North Abergavenny for just £1 per head.
All organisers / partners acknowledge that you can’t change attitudes to food overnight, but events like this can help to remind people of the value of eating good food in convivial surroundings with people they see every day, but don”t always have time to stop and talk to.
We should do more of this.