Food Connections – Bristol’s unique, citywide food event, taking place from 1st– 9th May – has released a number of highlights from this year’s programme of events. Today’s announcement offers a flavour of what’s to come when the full programme is released at the end of March and draws attention to the wealth of great food projects that have helped earn Bristol its title as 2015 European Green Capital.
Organised with support from First Great Western – who have committed to stocking regional food-producers across their train services – Food Connections will help the people of Bristol to connect with good food by offering inspiration and experiences to help change the way we think and eat.
The programme of events is divided into six themes: land and growing, feasting and festivities, get cooking, brain food, families and wellbeing. Many of the events will address the serious social, environmental and economic challenges we face in feeding our growing population against a backdrop of depleting resources. Food Connections is the flagship food event for Bristol 2015 European Green Capital.
Kicking off with the BBC Food and Farming Awards on April 30th, celebrity chefs like Cyrus Todiwala, Richard Corrigan and Angela Hartnett will be in town to celebrate the best of British food and the people who grow, make and supply it.
Events to inspire people to ‘get cooking’ will take place in demo kitchens around the city, including talks with household names, such as Rick Stein, Sophie Grigson and Thomasina Miers. The Connected Kitchen – the event’s demo kitchen at Bristol’s harbourside – will be situated next to the ‘Best of the West’ producers market, with chefs making the best of fresh, local produce.
Food Connections’ ‘land and growing’ events will dig deep to discover how food is grown, why soil is important, and the impacts of our food production on the natural environment. Food Connections will celebrate the produce available on our doorstep while offering plenty of practical advice to help people grow their own food at home.
The GROW Festival, supported by Riverford, will be popping-up in the city-centre over the May Bank Holiday weekend. Linking people and planet, The GROW Festival will offer a wide range of activities, talks and workshops on topics such as: growing plants in small spaces, urban bee keeping, guerrilla gardening and much more.
As part of the ‘land and growing’ programme, Food Connections has also teamed up with Incredible Edible to inspire the people of Bristol to transform their front gardens with edible plants and flowers.
The BBC will have a big presence at the festival again this year, with a programme of special events over the May Bank Holiday weekend in the IMAX theatre. As well as live recordings of well-loved BBC programmes, there will be a search for new culinary TV talent and the BBC’s Natural History Unit will be sharing weird, wonderful and disgusting stories of the food they’ve come across on their intrepid expeditions!
Throughout the nine days of Food Connections, ‘feasting and festivities’ will turn the entire city into one huge celebration of good food. Thousands of people will break bread together at feasts of all shapes and sizes, from a Festival of Spice in Easton to a Fair Trade Gala Dinner cooked by Casamia’s Michelin-starred chefs for special guests like Allegra McAvedy.
Food for thought will also be in abundance with a ‘brain food’ programme featuring an early morning Coffee Rave to fire up the brain cells; an ‘Organoleptic Odyssey’ exploring the science of our senses, and a careers fair hosted by Kate Hawkings and Tim Hayward, exploring the pleasures and pitfalls of a life in food.
In a Dragon’s Den-style event, aspiring and ambitious food producers from across the South West will pitch their products to a panel of experts for a chance to win outstanding prizes from The Seed Fund and First Great Western.
As part of the ‘families’ programme, Love Food Festival will run a Kids Cookery Pod and a city-wide campaign to find the Young Chef, Young Baker and Young Grower of the Year is already underway.
Meanwhile, over at the BBC, broadcaster and children’s writer Michael Rosen will ask, ‘Why is a bun a bun?’ as he discovers how ingredients, food and dishes got their names for Radio 4’s Word of Mouth programme.
“This is just a taste of things to come,” said Food Connections Director, Lorna Knapman. “Food Connections aims to connect people with all aspects of their food, from how and where it was grown, to the people who serve it to you, how it tastes, makes you feel and bring you together with neighbours, friends and family. With hundreds of events taking place all over the city, you’ll do more than just sit back and observe, Food Connections is all about rolling your sleeves up and getting hands on with the food we eat!”