Education 15 Jul 2014

RAU helps plant potatoes for Big Feastival

The Royal Agricultural University has joined forces with TV chef Jamie Oliver and former Blur bass player Alex James’ excellent Big Feastival event to help teach children where their food comes from.

Local schoolchildren were invited to plant Colleen and Sarpo Miro potatoes at an allotment on Alex James’ farm in Kingham, where the Big Feastival is taking place from 29 – 31 August, supervised by potato expert and lecturer in agronomy at the RAU, Dr Nicola Cannon. They also planted garlic, onions and herbs, which will all be ready in time for the festival.

Speaking about the planting, Nicola said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to work with the Big Feastival and teach local schoolchildren where their food comes from. They had a great time learning how to grow potatoes and got stuck in planting and getting their hands muddy. Hopefully this experience will stay with them and get them excited about growing food and learning where it comes from.”

Third year agriculture student Rose Szarowicz was on hand to help the children during the planting, and will be looking after the potatoes during the summer.

Over the festival weekend, festival-goers of all ages will be encouraged to visit ‘The Potato Patch’ where the team from the Royal Agricultural University will be on hand to teach them all about growing their own vegetables and help them to dig up the farm-grown produce.

Armed with their own freshly dug up potatoes and accompaniments, food fans can then prep and cook their own culinary delights under the expert guidance of Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden Project and the Potato Council.

In addition to ‘The Potato Patch’, the Big Feastival has loads of family fun for the weekend, and top artists, chefs and children’s entertainers will be appearing over the three days.  This year’s line-up includes Fatboy Slim, Jamie Cullum, Kelis, Gizzi Erskine, Monica Galetti, Nathan Outlaw, Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park and CBeebies Justin Fletcher and Mr Bloom.

To find out more about the Big Feastival, visit