A Taste of the Landscape – Food and Local Produce Festival

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AONB CASE STUDY
Landscapes for Business (Economy)

A Taste of the Landscape – Food and Local Produce Festival

Arnside & Silverdale AONB

Download this case study as a document (.doc)

Overview

A Taste of the Landscape is the latest in a series of annual one or two week festivals highlighting different features of the AONB. Previous festivals have focused on Wildflowers, Walking, Woodlands, Wetlands and Wildlife. Festivals are run at different times of year depending on theme.
The aims of the AONB’s festivals are to encourage

  • people to visit the AONB – daytrips or overnight
  • businesses to open their doors to the public and showcase (and sell) their products,
  • visitors to get to know more of the AONB’s destinations and businesses and to revisit them in the future.

A Taste of the Landscape was held in July 2015, and again in May/June 2016 as we felt there was more mileage in the idea. Greater preparation time enabled a wider range of events, new contacts to run events, and spring seasonal products to feature. Festivals are a mixture of events organised by the AONB unit and by other organisations, publicised by the AONB Partnership,

What was done

We chose the 2016 festival dates in September 2015 and informed local businesses, partners and groups. Reminder sent in December.
In January we sent forms to event organisers requesting details for the printed programme, with a deadline of early February to enable leaflet distribution before Easter and maximise repeat visit opportunities at half term (which the festival overlapped).
Contacts are encouraged to arrange events specifically for the festival, but also to submit regular events happening during the festival, to give a broader offer.
We also arranged events under the AONB banner; this year an Orchard Ramble, Family Herbal Ramble, Farm Open Day, The Beekeeping Year talk and tasting, Bitter and Butterflies – a butterfly ramble ending at the local brewery, and a Herbal Ramble.
The variety of events is broad: a family nature trail about local birds’ and animals’ favourite foods at RSPB Leighton Moss, an open day at the Coppice Co-op’s woodyard, a tour of the local flour mill, a display of locally sourced yarn, the regular craft and local produce market – anything that fits the theme!

Publicity
Around Easter:

  • 16 page programme printed and distributed to local VICs, libraries, shops
  • Press released the launch of the programme: local newspapers, radio stations, and parish newsletters
  • Notified local schools and offered programmes for bookbags
  • Supplied an article for the most popular local free magazine
  • Added the events to the What’s On calendar and linked each of these back to a pdf of the full programme
  • Added a link to the programme on Facebook
  • The programme was supplemented with profiles of some of the local producers on our website. We linked to these from the relevant entry on the What’s On calendar

In the run up to the festival:

  • Added the events as Facebook events
  • Advertised events on Facebook repeatedly! For people who plan ahead and for those deciding last minute
  • Packaged events on the same day together on Facebook to give people a suggested full day of activities, pulling in other local businesses (buy sausages from the local butcher, visit the woodyard to try out greenwood crafts and buy locally made charcoal, visit the farm café for a late lunch, then head home for a barbecue – all linking to the relevant producer profiles
  • Sent press releases to local newspapers, radio stations and parish newsletters
  • Sent individual event details to local newspapers, radio stations and websites for their What’s On guides
  • Radio Lancashire interview on the first festival weekend

Events were successful, and feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
The farm open day, on the Wednesday of half term had 60 attendees. It was very well organised by the farmer, with a milking demonstration, opportunity to see the young calves, watch a mini sheepdog trial and meet the farm pig! The coastal foraging workshop organised by a partner organisation was a sell-out. The corn mill’s monthly tour and taste session had 50 attendees, significantly higher than normal numbers.
Wherever possible, a member of the AONB team attended events, with feedback postcards, festival programmes and our Discover the AONB leaflets and maps to spread the word about other things to see and do in the area.
Some attendees we had met before, some were brand new to us – we attribute this to the events posted on Facebook and running family events during half term.

Learning

Following on from the 2015 festival, we ensured that we contacted potential event organisers early, to give them enough time to factor the festival into their 2016 event planning. This also enabled us to produce and distribute the leaflets early, to publicise the festival to Easter holiday daytrippers, so they could plan to return.

Organising family events during the Easter holidays opened up a new audience.

Developing closer working relationships with producers helped us to coordinate festival events and promote the producers themselves.

Not narrowing the topic to just food and drink enabled a wider range of events, attracting people with different interests.

Developing ‘packages’:

  • a library of producer profiles on the AONB website, linked to from the event details, giving people the ‘story’ of the organisations they could visit
  • grouping events on the same day together and also suggesting shopping opportunities, to give people a ready-made plan of what to do was well-received (linking the events and shops back to the producer profiles)
  • having professional photos on the Facebook events and producer profiles made the festival more attractive and easy to publicise and has given us quality material for our photo library
    running the beekeeping event at the flour mill enabled the floor mill’s resident bread making community group to publicise their work and produce bread for attendees to taste the honey on!

Further information

Ruth Ainsworth, Arnside & Silverdale AONB Partnership
[email protected]
01524 761034


Downloads and Links

Leaflet: http://www.arnsidesilverdaleaonb.org.uk/uploads/2016/04/TasteoftheLandscape.pdf
Producer profiles: http://www.arnsidesilverdaleaonb.org.uk/discover/taste-landscape-meet-producers/


Quote from project manager

‘The festival was a brilliant opportunity to build new and lasting relationships with local businesses. It attracted visitors to the area and got great feedback from attendees and event organisers. It’s also benefited the AONB. A farmer we have worked with was a popular speaker at our conference this year. We have a growing library of profiles and images we can use to publicise the amazing work happening in the AONB.’  – Ruth Ainsworth

Quotes from participants

‘Really appreciated having a risk assessment written for me. Fantastic that someone from the AONB accompanied me on both walks as this meant I didn’t need to worry so much about the people walking at the back and sharing their knowledge with the group enriched the walk. Fantastic!’  – Herbal Walk leader Veda West

‘Really enjoyed the talk on bees – very nice to hear someone that really knows the subject’  – The Beekeeping year attendee

‘Excellent ramble – a fund of knowledge – learnt a huge amount about both the area and apples.’  – Orchard ramble attendee

Key search words: Festival, local produce, local food, business, tourism


Photo credits: Haymaking – Sue-Premru, The-Bakehouse – Ella-Riden.