London farming to food show preview

The countryside will be coming to London later this month as almost 50 organisations and exhibitors set up shop for the Farming to Food Show in the shadow of City Hall and Tower Bridge.

Brainchild of West Sussex smallholder Jane O’Neill, this free show aims to give Londoners an insight into how their food is grown and to explain how farming has responded over the years to ensure everybody has enough to eat.

City Hall

 The Farming to Food Show will take place at Potters Field from 27-29 September in the shadow of City Hall and Tower Bridge.

The Farming to Food Show, from 27-29 September, also marks the London launch of the Year of Food and Farming, which is all about breaking down the barriers between town and country and helping young people in particular understand the crucial role farming plays in the economy and society at large.

The show will have a theatrical opening, with sheep, geese and black turkeys driven on to the showground at Potters Field, on the south bank of the river Thames, as part of the celebration of food.

Parked by one of the main entrances will be the Valtra tractor carrying a livery designed by 11-year-old Jack Roebuck, winner of the Kids Connect Campaign “design a tractor” competition. The NFU Roadshow, with Johnny Ball, will also be putting in an appearance, while Sussex Police will be profiling their FarmWatch scheme.

Once on the showground there will be three main zones (see plan).

  • The Farming Zone will include a sheep show, a milking demonstration, beef cattle, crop growing, poultry and goat exhibits.
  • The Village Zone will demonstrate traditional butchery, breadmaking, fish displays, cheesemaking and a wide range of traditional British fruit and vegetables.
  • The Cooking Zone will include demonstrations by celebrity chefs of how to make the best of home-produced ingredients using simple recipes.

Over 3000 schoolchildren, as well as many thousands of Londoners, will be attending over the three days, getting up close to the livestock and tasting some great British food.

Kids connect logoBut Mrs O’Neill is keen that farmers and their families also make the trip to London, to mingle with the crowds and help spread the word about British farming and all it has to offer.

“It is hugely important that farmers get involved, not only to support this show, but to support the Year of Food and Farming more generally,” she says. “There are so many misconceptions about food and farming. This is a huge opportunity to start dispelling them.

“Even if it’s just to come and chat to people as they walk around, or maybe join one of the exhibitors on a stand in the Farming Zone, it will help deliver a really positive message that people can take away with them.”

  • The organisers wish to extend a particular thanks to Hanco Flooring and Batemans Agricultural Supplies, who have helped make the Farming to Food Show possible.

Jane O’Neill says she wants farmers to also make the trip to Potters Field in London, to help spread the farming message.

City Hall


Farming Zone

The Sheep Show – shearing and handling sheep

Hurdlebrook Farm, Somerset – milking demonstrations and drinking yoghurts

Kingswood Farm, East Sussex – grinding wheat to make flour

Peels of Norfolk – black turkeys

Jane O’Neill – Meet Mr T the official show goat

Faringtons – oilseed rape exhibits

The Uplands Initiative – photo exhibition of life in the uplands

David Bright Seeds – seed merchants

Bateman’s Agricultural Supplies

Village Zone

Greenaway – East Sussex fruit growers

Clara Pepper Pots – Jamaican food

Staffordshire Scotch Eggs

Anila’s Indian Sauces

London Road Bakehouse – tradtional breadmaking demonstration

Hampshire Game

SS Patisserie

Moat House – teas and coffees

Old Granary Fudge

Kims Bookshop

Sussex Police – FarmWatch

Sedlescombe Organic Vineyard

Hampshire Cider

Quiche Supreme

Herbal Heaven

Mark Gilchrist – game supplier

Soil Association

NFU Road Show

Saffron Brewery

BeesKnees Photography

Peak Buffalo

Country Channel TV

Cooking Zone

Ross Burden

Adam Grey

Fiona Bird