East Sussex celebrated its very own food month in October, bringing communities together to harvest, cook and share food, support our local food businesses, and build a better local food system for us all.
The month kicked off with a launch at the award winning Tablehurst Farm in Forest Row where people from across the county enjoyed workshops on breadmaking, growing your own veg and harvesting crops.
“I didn’t realise how easy it is to make bread, have made 4 loaves since the day!” – Workshop participant
South Brockwells Farm in Uckfield ran a number of masterclasses for their local community, including Using Up the Leftovers and Game Cookery with local private chef Angela Carter.
Tour of Tablehurst Farm at the launch of Good Food East Sussex month
Eastbourne saw a Family Day hosted by Grow With Us, a Guest Growers with Rooted session and an Apple Day at Gorringe Road Allotment Site, and Seaside Community Hub hosted pot luck lunches and suppers throughout the month.
There were Harvest Festivals galore, with a celebration and seed swap at Peverells Community Garden in Seaford, and a Rewilding festival in the Ouse Valley with Wilder Life.
And in Lewes, there were pop up exhibitions across the town featuring stories and voices of Lewes District residents who have experienced food insecurity through the Cost-of-Living Crisis.
Apple pressing in Lewes District
“Good Food East Sussex is a network of hundreds of local groups and people who want to see a more local food system, that works for our people, our economy and our environment” said Alex Britten-Zondani, one of the people who coordinates the Good Food East Sussex network.
Good Food East Sussex month is one of the first steps taken towards reaching more people and shaping the future of food in the county. “We have so much potential in East Sussex to really become a local, sustainable food county, transforming how we grow, buy, sell and eat our food,” Alex continued. “We’re asking the questions of what we could be, and finding ways to make it happen.”
“Almost 3 out of 10 workers in East Sussex work in the food sector – that’s much higher than in other areas of the country. Compare us to East Anglia – we have more local food business than them, though their population is five times ours. East Sussex is truly a food county – how can we maximise this potential?”
“For example, what if most of the food in our schools, hospitals and shops came from local businesses and supported local people? What if we could use empty spaces for community food growing and supporting new businesses? What if we built a connected local system so no food was wasted? And what if, through this work, we were all able to afford the healthy food we need.”
The first Good Food East Sussex month showed a taster of what can happen when communities come together and try to make this a reality.
“With the current cost of living crisis our work is more important than ever. We’re determined to make a real difference to the lives – and plates – of every single person in East Sussex.”
Anyone that’s interested in food and getting involved with Good Food East Sussex can check out their website and get in contact to hear more.