31 May 2012
With the London 2012 Olympic Games fast approaching, Natural England is backing the National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs (NFYFC) as they take part in a series of cooking demonstrations during the Olympic Torch Relay celebrations.
From Alnwick to Newham, members of local Young Farmers' Clubs are attending ten of the overnight torch stops. They’re demonstrating their cookery skills at community events which are proving very attractive to families and young people eager to learn more about cooking. The ‘Great British Food for Great British Athletes’ initiative sees Young Farmers' Clubs showcasing the best of the country’s locally grown and sustainable produce as well as promoting the role that farming plays in caring for our natural environment.
All the cooking demonstrations will use locally sourced produce, helping to promote the important role that farmers play in growing sustainable food. The events are also a great opportunity to explain that profitable farming and care for the natural environment can go hand in hand. Almost 6.2million hectares of farmland (67% of the available farmland in England) are under one of the agri-environment schemes managed by Natural England and produce a whole range of benefits – food and fuel, wildlife, water, and woodlands, landscape and beautiful countryside.
Matt Baker, President of The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs and BBC One Show and Countryfile presenter, says: “Great British Food for Great British Athletes is a great idea to get British agriculture at the heart of the Olympics”. Matt Baker will himself be carrying the Olympic torch during the County Durham stage of the relay.
NFYFC member Helen Reeve said: “NFYFCs Agriculture Forum wanted to help promote British food and farming during the Olympic Games 2012. We have worked with Natural England to develop and deliver a project to include as many YFC members as possible during the Olympic Torch Relay.”
Mark Felton, Natural England’s Director for Land Management Development, added: “As well as their primary work of producing food, British farmers play a vital role as stewards of our countryside. This initiative is a golden opportunity to enthuse and inspire local communities and young people about the role that farmers play in producing food and in the conservation and enhancement of our natural environment.”
The finale of the Cooking Demonstrations will take place in the Olympic Borough during the London Borough of Newham Mayor’s Show where the Olympic Torch will make its appearance on 21st July before the Opening Ceremony on 27th July. Young Farmers will be cooking up tasty dishes with disadvantaged young people who are growing their own local food and learning cookery. They are from the East Potential project, one of four Defra funded ‘Inspired to Sustainable Living’ projects and from Jamie Oliver’s Ministry Of Food in Stratford. The Show will also feature the finale of the BBC Blue Peter Big Olympic Tour.
The ten Olympic Torch Relay locations where young farmers are taking part started in May with events at Taunton and Stoke, before moving on to Alnwick (14 June), Durham (17 June), York (19 June), Bowness-on- Windermere (21 June), Lincoln (27 June), Chelmsford (6 July), Maidstone (19 July) and Newham (21st and 22nd July).