Farmers and public unite at Felton Food Festival

WONDERFUL DAY: Anne Todd with a beautiful bunch of beetroot at the Felton Food Festival.
WONDERFUL DAY: Anne Todd with a beautiful bunch of beetroot at the Felton Food Festival. Nev Madsen

WHILE the Felton Food Festival might be aimed at teaching the public where their food comes from, organiser Debbie House said the flow-on effects for farmers in the region were huge.

The annual festival, held last weekend at Debbie and David House's property, Marinya, attracted farmers, townspeople and even city folk from far and wide.

Mrs House said not only was it a good chance for farmers to showcase their efforts to the wider public, but also a good chance for them to catch up socially and get six months of rubbernecking covered in a single day.

"Farmers are always looking over the fence and thinking 'why are you doing it that way?' so it's a good opportunity to ask,” she said.

"We also get 20 or 30 local farmers who volunteer on the day and they wear tags around their neck so people know who they are and can come and talk to them.”

She said many farmers, her husband David included, often felt the frustration of the general public not understanding what farmers do or how they do it, so as a public education model, it worked really well by taking out many of the questions and fears the public holds regarding agricultural production.

Misconceptions within agriculture could often be costly and turn into political footballs, such as the Indonesian live export debacle back in 2011, which still held negative effects for producers.

"The farmers really support it, and it's held on a working farm so we encourage everyone to come and have a look,” Mrs House said.

Also on the list of events at the festival this year was talks and displays on science innovations in the agricultural sector, which was an eye-opener for both the city folk and many of the local producers.

And with 6000 people through the gate, she said it was a wonderful thing for a region that had been doing it tough.

"It has been a very, very dry autumn and summer and not much rain until three weeks ago when we got about two inches.

"But unfortunately that's too late for summer planting and too early for winter planting.

"But it did green things up and the site looked a treat on the day.”

Gate numbers were down on last year, but Mrs House said it was due to a range of factors and, on the whole, made it more enjoyable for those who did come.

Topics:  agriculture felton felton food festival paddock to plate

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