British Food Fortnight
British Food Fortnight was launched on 18th September and will run until 3rd October. It’s a chance to celebrate everything that’s wonderful about British-grown produce, from fruit and veg to artisan cheese, wine and everything in between.
ICSA is proud to be one of ‘Love British Food’ movements Food Heroes. ICSA Cookery Schools champion British seasonal produce across their range of courses, encouraging over 60,000 students a year to source British suppliers where possible, both in their homes and catering businesses. Here are some tips on how you can help too.
British Food Fortnight encourages people to discover the diverse and delicious food made by our own producers. But it’s also about supporting our economy, the planet, learning to eat more sustainably and ensuring maximum nutrition is retained by reducing food miles and increasing freshness.
Choosing British food has many benefits. It has a lower carbon footprint than most imported food because it has fewer miles to travel, while British meat is produced to some of the highest welfare standards in the world.
It’s also an important part of becoming more sustainable as a nation by helping to protect the environment and supporting not only the people who produce our foods, but those who sell and cook with them, too.
Eating British is very much about what ICSA cookery schools support, so here are 9 fun ways you can get involved in this year’s British Food Fortnight:
#1. Shop local whenever you can
Buying everything under one roof may be convenient, but it’s never been more important to support independent local shops. Buying products with lower food miles and a proven provenance not only helps out the farmers and artisans striving for better food standards; it helps the environment too. Try to buy more from local greengrocers, farm shops, butchers and bakeries.
#2. Share the love on social media
Whether you’re an accomplished home cook who’s whipped up a feast of British food, or you’ve just enjoyed a scrumptious meal at your favourite restaurant, or maybe created an amazing dish at a cookery school, share the love online. Take a quick snap, post it to your chosen channel and add the tags #LoveBritishFood and #BritishFoodisGreat and us at #EatBritish.
#3. Seek out British food at food stores
We know what it’s like – the weekly shop is often more of a frantic dash than a ‘mindful’ experience. But if you do need to supermarket shop, you can make a special effort to seek out British food in the fresh produce and dry goods aisles, you’ll be supporting our wonderful producers. Check the label to see where it’s produced or manufactured; if it’s imported, look for a British alternative.
#4. Go forth and forage!
September is one of the very best months of the year for foraging; you’ll be amazed at what you can find in your local fields, woodlands and hedgerows. It doesn’t get more local than that! Look out for ripe blackberries, fragrant elderberries (remember to cook them before eating!) and hedgehog mushrooms, most commonly found a few days after a rain shower. Do be safe, though, check out our foraging guide.
#5. Eat local when eating out
Next time you’re after a hearty meal at your local pub or restaurant, ask them to show you which dishes use local ingredients. By seeking out British and locally-sourced food on menus, it creates a more robust market for farmers and producers to continue investing in domestic food production. It’s also a great opportunity to sample local ales or gins, if they’re stocked.
#6. Head to your local Harvest Festival
British Food Fortnight coincides with the UK’s annual harvest festivals, which take place at parish churches across the country. But you don’t have to be a regular church-goer to get involved; it’s more about taking part in the celebration and giving thanks for the food we’ve grown as a nation. Check if there’s a Harvest Festival taking place near you this year.
#7. Eat what’s in season
One of the best ways to support British fruit and vegetable farmers is to eat produce that’s in season. It’s also cheaper because it’s grown in abundance and hasn’t travelled far to reach you. Butternut squash, field mushrooms, pumpkins, English plums, apples and damsons are all in season during British Food Fortnight. Visit their website to explore what foods are in season and when.
#8. Invite people for a delicious British meal
Cook up something delicious using local produce, and share the comforts of a wholesome Autumn meal with your nearest and dearest. You can’t beat a hearty Shepherd’s Pie followed by an unctuous Apple Crumble with lashings of custard! Invite family, friends or neighbours to enjoy it with you; getting people round the table to enjoy the fruits of the harvest is a great way to celebrate.
#9. Book an ICSA accredited cookery course
With over thirty accredited cookery schools UK wide, there is every chance one of our members is located near you – also many provide on-line courses to help whet your appetite. So, search our National Accredited Cookery Schools Register, and enquire about a cookery course to suit your needs today – live and learn about British food.
We are proud supporters of British Food Fortnight and the ‘Love British Food’ movement. Our Director of Operations James Day is also an Ambassador of British Food. Contact him for more information.