FRESH PRODUCE | ARTISAN FOOD & DRINK | STREET FOOD | LIVESTOCK | DEBATE | MUSIC
The Real Food Festival at Earls Court Exhibition Centre was where it all started.
Back in 2007 we launched the festival in London because we sensed that things were changing. We weren’t the only ones of course but it was clear to see that increasingly, people were more and more interested in the provenance of their food, how it was produced and by whom. Inspiration came from a visit to Slow Food’s Salone del Gusto in Turin. Here over a 1,000 mostly small artisan producers come and show some of the most amazing ingredients you could hope to find to over 150,000 enthusiastic visitors from all around the world.
In Britain we have literally thousands of small artisan producers creating wonderful food and drink all of whom not only have a passion and fire for what they do, but also a deep knowledge and a huge enthusiasm to communicate their passion to anyone prepared to listen.
The Real Food Festival was created to help these producers find a channel to sell their food and drink and to continue a process of reconnecting us all back to where our food comes from. With real livestock on show, it was a tangible connection that could be seen (and smelt), and we brought together over 400 mostly small producers, who we subsidised to take part, to celebrate the very best food and drink we could find.
When we began Real Food Festivals we have had the support of some great ambassadors. Here’s some of our supporters and what they had to say:
“In choosing our food we make a statement as to which consumer were are, whether we are responsible or not, ethical or not. We are now engaged in a process of reconnecting our food with our culture – and ethics will now drive our choice. Whether we are parent, employer, farmer, chef, industrialist etc each of us individually and collectively will have the responsibility to make better choices to create a better food chain. The Real Food Festival will definitely take us one step closer to discovering new and innovative propositions to our produce conundrums.”
“Finally someone is taking a stance for the little guys….500 of the best artisan producers under one roof, why wouldn’t I be involved. You know where you’ll find me, at the cheese stand!”
“The Real Food Festival was a fantastic celebration of the wonderful variety of food that British producers have to offer, and a brilliant way to talk to and buy from them. The debates, demonstrations and other activities meant that this year’s Festival had something for everyone and was a great way for people to support the best of British regional food”
“The way we eat, what we eat, where our food comes from, these are central issues. The Real Food Festival will change the way we think about food, and gives producers and consumers an opportunity to meet and share their passion for authentic quality produce”
‘The Real Food Festival is about provenance, artisinal production and a dedication to real flavour. Forget the faceless multi-nationals and mass market pap – this is a celebration of great producers and real good food.’
“Educating and inspiring consumers is the most effective means of change their buying patterns. So the comprehensive workshop programme combined with the opportunity to meet over 500 of the smallest, best and most interesting producers in Britain should put this new event firmly at the top of must do for foodies.”
“I support the notion that the philosophies of slow food and organic food are the invisible means by which, at both a global and local level, we can secure a better food future; better for human health, the environment, culture and gastronomy. Education through cooking and eating is the most powerful means by which we can achieve this end.”
“Food can make our lives completely miserable and change our neighbourhoods or it can be one of the most delightful and beneficial aspects of society. Our food industry is our society. Driven by independently minded passionate people we are rediscovering fine, local, artisan and seasonal food, which we can all afford and should be available to everyone. This is the crucial leap towards a farming and producing industry that we can once again be deeply proud of…. Purchasing has power, join the consumer revolution!”
“What a fantastic event to be a part of. Sustainability is the question we are asked most frequently about and it is such an important subject. We can’t wait to share our passion for brilliant British seafood”
“The Real Food Festival was not just an opportunity to sample and buy fantastic food, it was also a chance for consumers to really connect with producers, chefs and farmers who are helping to make our contemporary food culture so vibrant and alive. For the Soil Association to be the official charity partner of the Festival was an incredible privilege – sharing as we do the values of sustainability, authenticity and respect for the relationship between farm and plate. The Festival also made time to reflect on the serious side of the food debate – how we feed ourselves now and in the future, in the face of climate change, depleting fuel resources and a growing global population. This made the Festival a great combination of enjoyable, and stimulating food for body and thought.”