12 August 2013

Food is a blessing

Clitheroe Food Festival, 2013
This weekend saw the third annual food festival take place in Clitheroe. I missed out last year, as we were on holiday, but I was determined to be there this year.

A few months ago, I started talking with people in our local ecumenical group (Clitheroe Christians in Partnership) about what we might do while the festival was on. We had an open meeting a couple of months ago, and after a wide ranging discussion, we decided to raise the issue of food poverty by handing out a simple leaflet to people on the day.

So a small group set about drawing up the flyer (which you can see below). We just wanted to remind people that whilst we were all enjoying our locally-sourced, hand-made, organically-grown produce, there are many in the world who would settle for any kind of food! We used UN data along with data from the UK government to make the following points:
  • 1 in 3 children, in developing countries, is malnourished.
  • 1 in 8 people across the world goes hungry every day.
  • 4 million people in the UK suffer from food poverty.
CCP's Food Festival Flyer
We weren't trying to rain on anyone's parade, or to make people feel guilty. We were simply raising the issue on a day when we were already thinking about food. We also worked to publicise Clitheroe's new Food Bank; asking people to donate food and money to the project which has already served 84 clients! Clitheroe is thought of as a prosperous town. Poverty is not something you expect to find amongst the expensive four-wheel-drives and ubiquitous barn conversions, but poverty is here too!

On the day of the food festival, CCP volunteers gave out 1400 food poverty flyers (and we could have given out double that number). We didn't ask for money or push a religious agenda. We just felt that it was the job of the church to remind people of what they probably know already. That there are many people both here and abroad, who do not have enough to eat. Most of us don't really know what that feels like, but for some people it's a daily reality.

It was a brilliant day in so many ways, and many of our parishioners got involved in volunteering work. Some through CCP and the Food Bank, and others with organisations like Rotary. As last year, our Parish Hall hosted the celebrated 'Pudding Fest' in support of the Friends of Chernobyl's Children Charity. People donated their finest cakes and puddings, and punters paid £3 to sample 3 different puds. A bargain, and over £900 was raised for the charity. Also at the festival was a very popular fairtrade stall, which seemed to be doing a great trade all day long. Familiar faces from Clitheroe's churches were involved here too.

So now we will review this year's efforts, and think about what we do next year. The Food Festival seems to be growing each year, and the Christian population of Clitheroe seems to be responding with acts of service along with words of challenge over matters of justice.


  1. So good to hear from you again- and to hear how things are in Clitheroe.

  2. Thanks. It's been a busy first year. Now's the time for a bit more blogging activity.