THE team at River Cottage will be celebrating 20 years of food provenance and sustainability with a number of events throughout 2019.

From the first series ‘Escape to River Cottage’, which aired in March 1999, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – chef, broadcaster, campaigner and writer – has continually championed his hands-on, ethical food ethos through his media work and at River Cottage HQ on the Dorset/Devon border.

Hugh said: “When I began renting the original River Cottage – a tiny lock-keeper’s cottage near Netherbury in Dorset – it was simply meant to be a bolt-hole from London. But that idyllic place soon got under my skin.

“I was inspired to leave the city altogether and seek out a more self-sufficient and sustainable way of life in the West Country.

“Those early days fired me with a desire to get closer to the source of the ingredients I chose for myself and my family, to reject the mass production of food and the intensification of farming and to respect the environment I lived in.

“These ideals have guided me ever since, informing my writing, my broadcasting and my campaigning, from the first River Cottage Cookbook, to my Fish Fight and War on Waste campaigns.

“It is a quest I have been delighted to share with the many wonderful and talented people who have become part of the River Cottage story over the last two decades.

“I have learned to much from them – and been privileged to share that knowledge with the legions of viewers, readers, supporters and guests without whom none of this could happen.

“Thanks to this spirit of collaboration, River Cottage has become a truly collective enterprise.

“As we celebrate our 20th birthday this year, I am unbelievably proud of what, together, we have achieved – our cookery school and smallholding, our many TV series and award-winning books, our restaurants and our trailblazing, law-changing campaigns.”

Hugh and the team will be celebrating the birthday throughout 2019 with events, special guests, unique feasts and an extensive course schedule.

Hugh added: “We have exciting plans for the future and we look forward to sharing them with you.

“At their core will always be our unshakeable commitment to honouring and respecting the source of our food; to resisting its industrialisation, and the devastation of our planet that so often entails; and above all to celebrating the deliciousness of food prepared with love, from ingredients grown with respect, by people who care.”

One of the birthday celebrations will be the River Cottage Food Fair in May, which will be full of chef demonstrations and tours as well as live music, talks, artisan food stalls, masterclasses and workshops.

There is a stellar line-up of speakers, including Yottam Ottolenghi, Kate Humble and Samin Nosrat to provide thought-provoking debate and discussions, as well as members of the River Cottage team, Gill Meller, Steven Lamb and John Wright.

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