Emsworth’s British Food Fortnight taking a year off because organisers couldn’t find enough volunteers to stage – but they are aiming to come back stronger next year.
Since its inception in 2014, the Emsworth event has become a much loved and tremendously successful showcase for Emsworth itself and for local and regional produce.
The range of activities was both varied and inclusive and included as some of its core events – local produce markets, wine tastings, food education in local primary schools, working with a local college’s catering departments, establishing food banks, an open-air Harvest Festival service, charity lunches on Emsworth’s famous quay, community apple pressing and beer festivals.
The event won national recognition when it was winner of the Harvest Heroes Competition in 2014 organised by Love British Food, in conjunction with The Telegraph, as part of British Food Fortnight.
The competition acknowledges the people who organise the most imaginative and inclusive celebrations of local food and the harvest.
Emsworth was runner-up on the only two other occasions it entered the competition, behind the cities of Bath and Peterborough.
Food Fortnight specifically focused on three key words each year – education, community and celebration.
Using these themes, the Emsworth British Food Fortnight has always looked to encourage a wide range of events, encompassing as many people of all ages and backgrounds as possible to take part and get involved.
But a spokesman for the Emsworth organising team said: “Organising any event of this magnitude is always both time consuming and complex and requires of a team of volunteers who are able give their time and knowledge.
“Sadly this year there were not sufficient volunteers to ensure that the same multi-layered event could be considered, and using that old adage that if you can’t do something well, it’s better not to do it at all, the decision for a fallow year in 2019 was taken.
“This will also allow the organisers to take stock and take a step back, and, perhaps most importantly, come back refreshed and with new ideas for the future for this much loved event.”