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Fresh Food ‘Revolution’ Begins in Kent & Medway. Join us With Carol Ford to Find Out More..

Fresh Food ‘Revolution’ Begins in Kent & Medway. Join us With Carol Ford to Find Out More..

A scheme to bring significant change to the employment and entrepreneurial opportunities in the fresh food (horticulture) sector will take place this summer, which will be led by the ambitions of young people aged 18-28 from Kent and Medway.

Working with young people creating aspiration, reimaging rural Kent and Medway and the future of fresh food in the Garden of England and leading change in the fresh food sector this summer.

The Rural Youth Ideas Festival is a pilot ideas festival which will take place 30 August-1 September at Bore Place and organisers hope it will bring purpose, ambition and a reimagining to a sector for which Brexit, Covid and the National Food Strategy are all catalysts for major change.

Backed by a number of fresh produce businesses, Kent County Council, Medway Council, District Councils, DWP/Job Centre Plus, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, The Rural Youth Project, charities and educators, this ideas festival will open the gateway to both full time and seasonal roles as well as entrepreneurial opportunities.

Carol Ford – Kent & Medway Employment Task Force and Fresh Food Production/ Horticulture Task Force comments: “This is essentially an ideas and knowledge sharing festival, a way for young people to engage with businesses and policy makers in the fresh food sector here in Kent and Medway. We want to give young people access to the individuals and organisations they wouldn’t normally engage with, and we want to listen to them about the barriers that might prevent them from entering or progressing within the sector. Whether those barriers might be a lack of knowledge of the opportunities and skills needed by the sector to the physical barriers such as the lack of rural transport or the availability and affordability of rural housing. The loss of young rural people from their communities triggers a loss of ideas, energy and – ultimately – services. It’s very much a two-way process but we also want to challenge their perceptions about careers in the sector and to inspire them with stories told by people who have made a successful life around food and drink and to encourage them to think about what their role in these sectors could be in the future and how together we can all work to help them achieve it.”

Jane Craigie and Rebecca Dawes, from The Rural Youth Project, who are organising the event said: “It is so exciting to be partnering Kent and Medway on this Ideas Festival. Based on the impact of similar events that we have hosted with young people; it is a very powerful way to inspire this age group to imagine their future in a region. This collaboration, between people and businesses that are impassioned about encouraging local youngsters to consider a career in fresh food, will have a lasting legacy for the county. Our research, over the past four years, into the needs and hopes of 18–28-year-olds, has shown a deep love of the place they live in, but frustrations about the career opportunities, connectivity, and housing; at this event we will address these concerns by encouraging the attendees to imagine their future in Kent and Medway’s fresh food sector. Well done to the people who have believed in and invested in this project.”

To take part in the pilot ideas festival you must live in Kent and be aged 18-28. Applications can be made at https://www.ruralyouthproject.com/act-do/kent-and-medway-rural-youth-ideas-festival

Places will be awarded on the strength of the applicant’s interest in remaining in Kent and Medway and intrigued about a career in fresh food. The festival is free to attend for those selected including all food and accommodation.

To watch the Broadcast, click the picture as below. To listen to the Podcast, click the Podcast icon.

Filmed 11th August 2021.

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