Plan unveiled for farm extravaganza for London

Plans to attract a million people to the capital to showcase the best of the nation’s food, farming and the countryside have been put forward at NFU Council.

The idea is to hold a four-day event in London’s Hyde Park in September 2013 in a bid to promote agriculture to urban communities.

NFU council member Guy Smith, one of several farmers behind the proposal, said he wanted to recreate the success of the last food and farming show, which was held in Hyde Park in 1989, which saw a million people attend.

He said he wanted the free show, which is planned to run from 26-29 September, to fill the gap left by the demise of the Royal Show.

“We need a national showcase for the country’s most important industry,” Mr Smith told an NFU council meeting at Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, on Tuesday (28 June).

“The Welsh and Scots do well with their shows and it’s a gap in English agriculture. We should try to do something to correct that.”

Mr Smith said the Greater London Authority, Westminster Council and the Royal Parks Authority were all enthusiastic about the idea for the show and he wanted farmers to help make it a success. “I would like to challenge every council to bring to Hyde Park an exhibition that celebrates the best of food and farming and create a mini Britain to celebrate the best of food and the countryside.”

The industry had been proactive in promoting farming to rural communities over the past decade, but more could be done to educate people who live in cities, he added.

“Let’s not underestimate London’s importance,” he said. “It’s home to six million people who often don’t get out into the countryside. A London event could mark the start of a series of farming events in metropolitan areas and help bring farming to cities.”

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