Food Connections: free festival returns to Bristol

Foodies will be taking over Bristol for nine days in May as the city hosts Food Connections, a celebration of all things food and farming.

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Now in its third year, Food Connections is a collection of free events across the city that covers everything from growing vegetables to using garam masala, via pies, cider, dairy farming and everything else you might expect from West Country cooking.

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Kicking off on April 28 with The BBC’s Food and Farming Awards, this gastronomic Glastonbury gets into full swing from Friday 29 April to Saturday 7 May, with workshops, talks and debates, appearances from celebrity chefs and plenty of markets and tasting opportunities.

Many of the events are focusing on getting involved with gardening and growing as part of ordinary city life. The Avon Wildlife Trust will be opening the doors to their six-acre growing project Growing with Nature, in which members of deprived communities are given the chance to work land and contribute to local conservation efforts.

The Urban Food Trail Guided Walk crosses the centre of the city, taking in the growing beds at Millennium Square and finishing with a tour of the exciting new Grow Bristol Aquaponics site.

There are also sessions packed with practical tips for growing your own vegetables from the good folk at Windmill Hill City Farm, and the story of online community Incredible Edible is told by its Bristol spokesperson Sarah Venn.

Just before the festival, from 21 to 25 April, dairy farmer Nessie Reid will be taking up residence in the centre of Bristol with two of her herd. She’ll be answering questions from the public as she milks her cows twice a day, with the aim of raising awareness of the impact of cheap milk prices.

Additionally, Riverford Organic Farms will be encouraging children to find and identify worms because they are so crucial to our soil health. 

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Check out the full programme of events here. Food Connections is produced in partnership with Bristol City Council, the BBC and Great Western Railway.