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Harvest Thanksgiving should remind us of food security issues

[Monday 4 October 2010]

The CLA in the North is disappointed by findings that less than 20% of people in the UK still celebrate at a Harvest Festival.

Douglas Chalmers, Director CLA North, said: “Although modern practice is to immediately replant for next season, autumn is still the time we gather crops and so is traditionally the end of the farming year. Originally, farmers repaid their workers with food, drink and entertainment, but over the years it evolved into giving thanks and distributing surpluses to the less fortunate.

“Now, most people ignore the event and, of those who do participate, more than half take tinned or dried foods to their church or school. Admittedly, this may make redistribution easier, but it is disappointing that we seem to have forgotten this great community celebration.

“Here we are, with a greater appreciation of locally produced food than for many years, so now is the perfect opportunity to connect food to the farmers who produce it.

“Despite politicians and economists having real fears about our being able to feed ourselves in the future, many people still take food for granted and assume that supermarket shelves will remain stacked.

“Harvests must be won, by farmers and land managers who have to cope with extremes of climatic, economic and political conditions. Harvest Festivals allow us to give thanks, including to those who produce our food, and are an ideal way to bring communities closer together.”

The poll was commissioned by Eat Seasonably, the campaign that helps everybody enjoy seasonal fruit and vegetables at their best. For further details see www.eatseasonably.co.uk or email hello@wewillifyouwill.org

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