September is a hearty month. Autumn and harvest in a nutshell: with the gathering of food, warm colours, the landscape turning from green to orange and brown, summer heat seeping down to cool, resident birds beginning to sing again, and the influx of blackberries, apples, corn on the cob, squashes and pumpkins. Here in the UK, September and food have a particularly special relationship because this month is known as Organic September. It celebrates and promotes all things organic – a campaign to raise awareness and support farmers and producers of organic food with a sustainable, chemical-free and animal welfare focus.
This weekend just gone 8th-9th September was the Go Organic Festival in Battersea Park, London, an event to bring together the organic foodies of Britain with chef demonstrations, talks by experts and loads of food stalls. It was a buzzing environment with lots going on for families and kids, free samples, an abundance of information, surveys, organic fruit and veg to pluck at, food trucks, a stage with music throughout both days and ‘meet the farmer’ chats.
If you missed it I would say you ought to feel a little disappointed or envious as it was a great experience with such a positive, proactive atmosphere. It was cheering to see so many people interested in organic food come together and interact in a fun, engaging way with all types of people involved from kids to sales reps to chefs to campaign organisers to producers of plastic-free food wraps, organic chocolate, vegan burgers, baked goods and beauty products to name a few.
It was particularly interesting to watch and listen to chefs such as Gelf Alderson of River Cottage and Emily Watkins as they made delicious meals right in front of their audience. As they cooked, they chatted to host Jay Morjaria, giving lots of tips, info about organic food, produce to buy, things to avoid and so on.
The festival’s ‘Natural Talks’ were also absorbing, particularly those by Natalie Fee, Simon King and Helen Browning. Natalie Fee created the City to Sea campaign, helping to stop plastic pollution at source – something which is vital if we are to stem the huge flow of plastic being produced and polluting our environment, ending up in rivers, seas and landfill. As you may be aware, a high percentage of plastic doesn’t get recycled and so going to the source of the problem – the prevention of plastic being produced in the first place – is what’s required for any impactful, long term effects. It was truly inspiring to hear Natalie talk.
Go Organic Festival was a fantastic event and particularly impressive seeing as this was its first year. I had a great time, coming away feeling more positive about the future of our food. I can’t wait to see what will be in store next September.