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BBC Food and Farming Awards 2019

Don Sloan, Chair of the Oxford Cultural Collective, joins leading food entrepreneur William Kendall as a judge of the BBC Farming Today Future Food Award, part of the 2019 BBC Food and Farming Awards.  They are searching for cutting-edge innovation and pioneering work from food manufacturers, retailers and farmers that will influence how our food will be grown, distributed and sold in the future.


About the Awards

The BBC Food & Farming Awards were launched in 2000, to mark the 20th anniversary of Radio 4’s The Food Programme. The mission statement then (which remains true to this day) was ‘to honour those who have done most to promote the cause of good food’.

The first judging team included Derek Cooper, the founding presenter of the Food Programme and subsequent judges have come from a cross-section of the food world – chefs, academics, retail analysts, writers and campaigners.


The Awards Categories

Originally comprising seven categories, the number has increased to eleven to reflect changes in British food culture, new ideas, businesses and trends (for example Best Drinks Producer was added in 2010 to reflect the renaissance in British brewing, cider making and distilling.) 2019 sees the arrival of a new category, The Pat Llewellyn New Talent Award, for for those under 30 who are passionate, have innovative new ideas and are working hard to improve food or farming in the UK. Pat Llewellyn spotted the talents of Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and The Two Fat Ladies and changed the face of cookery on TV. In 2017, aged 55, Pat died from breast cancer. To honour her legacy, her husband Ben Adler is teaming up with the BBC Food & Farming Awards to launch this new category that honours new talent in the food and drinks industry.


The judging process

Once the judges receive the nominations (thousands come in from every region in the UK) they select a short-list of three finalists in each category. Then the fun begins! Working in pairs the judges travel to meet their chosen finalists (over the years this has involved visits ranging from the Isles of Scilly to the Isle of Islay).

A few weeks later, after all the visits have been completed, the team gathers at the final judges’ meeting; stories are exchanged in detail, businesses explained and flavours described. The panel, working as a team, decide on the eventual winners.

This year’s winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in Bristol on 12th June.


Previous winners in the Future Food Category: 


2018 – Hands Free Hectare won for growing crops using only robots and drones. It’s a world-first project run by Harper Adams University and Precision Decisions to drill, tend and harvest a crop without operators on the machine and agronomists in the field.

Runners up were Heritage Harvest and Provenance

2017 – Growing Underground won for micro greens and salad leaves grown sustainably using hydroponic systems and LEDs, 33 metres below the busy streets of Clapham. The technology allows crops to be grown year-round in a consistent, pesticide-free environment provided by forgotten tunnels. The central London location reduces food miles and the need to import crops.

Runners up were Rathlin Island Kelp and The Seed Co-operative.

2016 – Our Cow Molly, the Sheffield dairy farmers, won for a collaboration with the University of Sheffield to localise milk processing and to be a key supplier to the university and cafes across the city.

Runners up were Grow Up Urban Farms and McDonalds.

Other finalists have included Sainsbury’s (2014), for investment in sustainable fish farming; Goldthorpe’s Community Shop (2014), for helping reduce food waste and tackle food poverty; Asda (2004), for its use of distribution hubs to increase local sourcing; and Marks & Spencer (2006) for pioneering work on sustainable seafood and the removal of trans-fats.


Listen to Don Sloan on BBC Farming Today outlining what he and William Kendall are looking for in the Future Food Category.  Follow link.

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