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Marchfesten - the Queensland harvest festivals

A centuries old proven way to celebrate local food production are harvest festivals. There even is one in Queensland: the Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Harvest festival. This concept proposes to expand that to all regional hubs in Queensland on the same days in March (that is when the Stanthorpe festival is held).

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The Marchfesten will revolve mainly around celebrating food from local producers. A food fair is key, but also elements from many of the great concepts posted here before can be included. A public kitchen to teach people how to make easy and wonderful dinners out of the produce, a wine and food combination masterclass, open house on farms, etcetera. (See related concepts for more ideas). And of course a big barbecue.
Adding to that are other events. One important one is music: celebrate with live performances of (local) bands.
Another one could be a race. Semi-marathons along some of the farms in the region, to raise awareness of the producer sites.
An element that features on the Stanthorpe Apple & Grape Harvest festival is the election of Young Ambassadors. This could be linked to them (young girls and boys) to have a role in promoting local food throughout the year.
As  Samantha Wright suggested in the comments, it could also be great to have sector Ambassadors by selecting the restaurant, farmer and seller of the year, who have then the task of promoting local food in their sectors in the year to come.

There are of course many more elements that can be added. Feel free to do so in the comments :)

To connect with urban connected people, there should also be a possibility to organise your own event and connect it to the main organisation. The way Twestifal operates could serve as an example. People organising their own event can submit it on the festival main website, and have it featured on an interactive map of events.

More info on the Stanthorpe Apple & Grape Harvest Festival here:
http://www.appleandgrape.org/


Picture grabbed from the Queensland Museum website (without permission): http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/

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DeletedUser

This reminded me of Spargelzeit (asparagus-time) in Germany, where I saw restaurants especially, but grocery stores and media also, making a big deal of white asparagus's short season in early spring. There didn't seem to be any need for an organizing body--its tradition. Every restaurant of every type advertises a special menu featuring asparagus dishes: soups, sides, entrees, sauces, etc. I couldn't walk down the street without knowing it was Spargelzeit. So I think getting restaurants involved is key, not only through prizes and ambassadorships, but also by encouraging special menus and offerings during festival time.

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OH YES!!! In the Netherlands it's the same. They are nicknamed 'the white gold'. And it always makes me very happy. Unfortunately, where I live now it's much less. I still have to find the right local white asparagus grower. Because in the supermarket it's only white ones from Peru. Too far away, and not the same quality.
And, as I said in an inspiration, from the peels I make asparagus stock to use in risotto. Very good base.

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Photo of An Old Friend

One dynamic of these festivals is competition and rivalry between producers; this is good! Borrowing an example from another industry, the Cannes Film Festival celebrates film, and awards prestigious prizes. Lots of potential to leverage a similar idea here (awards).

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Photo of Arjan Tupan

Oh, that is a great point of view. And it would certainly help. Competition between local producers for who has the best strawberries, but also between the different festival towns: who has the best festival. Nice!

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DeletedUser

I love this- it's really bringing communities together in celebration of nature through food. And Samantha's ideas of having local restaurants take up the spirit is great as well. Queensland is going to be a blast in March!

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Photo of Arjan Tupan

Thanks, Hannah. And I like your final remark. Would be an amazing slogan. "The Marchfesten - Queensland is going to be a blast in March!" Love it.

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Photo of Arjan Tupan

Oh, that would be a nice idea as well. Sort of restaurateur, producer, and reseller of the year, with the responsibility to improve the image of local food until the next festival. Is that what you mean?

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DeletedUser

I was thinking maybe reaching out to other industries, say restaurants and media, to get them involved with a wide spread food and harvest festival. Using the Young Ambassador program as a base, there could be some creative brainstorming around relevant ways to get well-known chefs and media personalities involved, both as a source of creative input and also as key stakeholders in spreading the underlying message of the festival.

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Photo of Arjan Tupan

Hi Samantha, thanks for your comment. The Young Ambassador is a tradition in the already existing Apple & Grape Festival. It has evolved from a Miss election. And I like the idea to involve young people to spread the message. So that is why I put it in. But it would be great to build on that with other ambassadorships. Do you have any suggestion?
I'll update the concept with a link to the existing festival. That might also be nice background information. It exists since the 1950s.

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DeletedUser

I think this is a great idea. Integration is a key theme that keeps popping up and will be extremely important for maximizing impact.

I particularly like the idea of encouraging people to organize their own events. It would be very cool to offer lots of suggestions on kinds of events to host - from dinner parties to tastings to documentary nights.

Also super feasible is the Young Ambassador's program - though why just limit it to young people?! It could be great to get ambassadors across a range of industries - from F&B to media to education.