THE organisers of a Festival of Food and Farming to be held in Hyde Park, London in September 2013, are looking to raise £3 million to stage the event. The Duke of Edinburgh officially launches the event on 14 December 2011 at a reception for 100 leading figures from food, agriculture and countryside.
The farmers behind the project have formed a limited company, Farming in the Park, and are pushing ahead with plans to stage what would be farming’s biggest showcase since similar events in 1989 and 1992 attracted nearly one million people to the iconic central London park.
The intention is to stage a four-day event from September 26-29, 2013. Essex farmer Guy Smith, company secretary, said the basic concept was to ‘challenge every county in Britain to bring to Hyde Park an acre’s worth of exhibits that will exemplify the best of food, farming and countryside in their patch’.
In a brochure sent to prospective supporters of the event, the Duke of Edinburgh writes: “The last time the Festival of Food and Farming was organised in London was in 1989, and it was a huge success. “Now, over twenty years later, it would seem about time to repeat such a venture for the benefit of a whole new generation of urban consumers.”
The project has also received the ‘full support’ of farming education charity FACE, whose director Bill Graham said it would give children from London’s 2,250 schools a rare opportunity ‘to see the food and farming story live and close up’.
The organisers have commissioned Mantaplan, which organised the 1989 and 1992 festivals, to produce a feasibility study. It has had ‘enthusiastic’ feedback from the Royal Parks and Westminster City Council, whose permission would be required to stage the event. The next task is to raise funds and garner wider support for an event that will cost an estimated £2.75m-£3.1m to stage.
The 1989 and 92 events were sponsored by Asda. The organisers are speaking to large companies of a similar stature to try and secure support for the 2013 version.
“The proposal has been warmly received across the farming scene. If we could stage this event on the basis of good will and enthusiasm we could do it tomorrow. However, we do need some firm introductions to major sponsors to make it happen,” Mr Smith said.
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