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Come Feast!

BBQ season may be in full swing but there is further feasting to be had this September as this year’s Freedom Festival will once again play host to the Freedom FEASTival – Hull’s biggest, homegrown community feast.

This year’s FEASTival is even more rooted in community collaboration with Freedom Festival sponsors not only coming together to support this year round project but through the provision of produce, volunteers, seeds and compost.

Last year over 2,000 people came together in two sittings to share a free gastronomic feast in Queen’s Garden’s as part of the 10th Freedom Festival celebrations. As theatrical performers served and entertained guests, strangers sat together to share in the delight of locally grown and cooked produce, eaten as part of a true community feast.

A culmination of a year’s work, over 100 volunteers, growers, community groups and allotment sites across Hull and the East Riding worked to grow and harvest produce which was then prepared by local chefs.

Like many of Freedom Festival’s projects the FEASTival was truly collaborative, with over 20 organisations, including charities, social enterprises and businesses supporting this ambitious project, rooted in the exploration of food equity. This year’s FEASTival is even more of a collaborative approach.

Jenny Howard-Coombes, Executive Director and Joint CEO at Freedom Festival Arts Trust, explained: This year we’re working with our friends at Hull Harvest Feastival and Artlink to put on the feast, alongside a host of other fabulous community partners.

“As part of the preparations for last year’s FEASTival, our sponsor Keepmoat allocated us a plot of land to pilot a small community allotment. Less than 12 months on, and after significant investment, this site is now home to a large scale community allotment complete with a community centre, which will soon be opened and occupied by local residents.

“This is a wonderful example of what can happen when arts, industry and communities work together.”

She continued: “This year we’re working to sow, grow and nourish festival audiences with an even more audacious theatrical feast. With support from Keepmoat, who are allocating a number of allotments for use by FEASTival partners, William Jackson Food Group, ABP and local garden centre and grower Coletta & Tyson, we are building an incredible project that has partnership at its heart and has something valid to say regarding food equity, sustainability and empowerment.

Youth in Nature, is one of the local organisations taking part in this year’s Freedom FEASTival, Les Moss from Youth in Nature, explained: “Youth in Nature will be growing food in a way that is wildlife friendly – encouraging natural predators by creating appropriate wildlife habitats. We’ll be hoping to attract hedgehogs to eat slugs and snails, rather than using chemicals! Through this initiative our young people will be able to learn new skills, and invite the wider community to see how we can grow food and help the environment. We’re excited to get started and look forward to sharing some of the produce at the Freedom FEASTival which will be a fantastic opportunity for our young people.”

Mikey Martins, Artistic Director and Joint CEO of Freedom Festival Arts Trust, said: “Last year’s FEASTival exceeded our expectations. As our 10th Festival drew to a close it was truly wonderful to watch strangers come together over a homegrown feast to share and reflect on the festival and the fabulous things they had seen and heard.

“By bringing people together our aim was to inspire people to grow food, cook it from scratch, make friends and explore new projects.

“We’re now on the hunt for local chefs who would like to get involved in cooking this year’s feast. From budding-start up chefs to established well-known names in the Yorkshire-region, we’re hoping that we can make this year’s Feast a feast like no other.

“Creativity is powerful and we’ll continue to nurture it here in this great city. Food is a great way to bring people together, Freedom Festival and the FEASTival are both great examples of what is possible when communities come together to produce something truly incredible.”

The FEASTival – sponsored by Keepmoat Homes, ABP, Coletta and Tyson and William Jackson Food Group – is part of Freedom Festival’s wider programme, which will be announced in July..

Freedom Festival 2018 takes place from 31 August to 2 September 2018.

If you would like to volunteer at this year’s FEASTival we would love to hear from you. Please contact info@freedomfestival.co.uk.


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