Many villages and regions celebrate in September and October. Munich celebrates the harvest of hop and grain in their yearly Octoberfest, Austrian farmers bring back their cattle from the higher alps to the warm and save stables, French winegrowers pick the first grapes and release fresh bottles of their Beaujolais primeur. Is there anything to celebrate for those living in the city?
Now more people start to realize that good food (grown at a slow pace using the energy of the earth, sunlight and rain) is very important for ourself and those around us, it becomes more popular to organize events in which food is the leading character. One of those events is the Rotterdamse Oogstfeest.
The organization invites farmers, producers and traders based within a ring of 50 km around the city centre. They bring products of the season like fruits and vegetables, cheeses and different types of sausages, but also tenable products like jams, chutneys, fruit juices and wines. All is presented in such a way to convince costumers to buy. And for those who got hungry seeing all the stuff they also made a food court where prepared food is on sale: pizza’s made on wood fire, rolls dressed with local cheeses or hams and much more. It seems you can’t go home hungry.
Well you can. And if not you will probably leave with an empty wallet. Where this kind of events in other European countries are most of the time visited by every inhabitant of a village or region - no matter what background or income he or she has- in Rotterdam the majority of visitors was in his or her thirties or early forties, had at least one but most of a time two or three young kids and – concluding from their appearance - seem to have a well paid job. This group already knows our relation towards food needs to change. It is more important now to also convince the rest of the world. Those who do think fresh food is too expensive.
Celebrating harvest is the perfect opportunity to show people how affordable fresh food can be. When output is at its peak flavors are at its best and prices as low as they could get. Everyone with a big freezer or with the knowledge how to conserve fruit and vegetables should grab this opportunity and fills up his storage room for winter.
I can’t tell you why the Rotterdamse Oogstfeest only attracted this specific kind of people. Maybe it had to do with the location, maybe it was a result of their advertising strategy. At least I hope for next year they manage to make it a party for everyone and set a new agricultural tradition in an urban environment.