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Doing it for the kids: North Highlands children's food festival planned for 2015

With all the wonderful foodie happenings across Scotland this summer, why should little ones miss out?

Durness, North Highlands
Durness, North Highlands

It's a question that's obviously been deliberated over, because it's been announced that a brand new children's food festival will take place in the North Highlands in the summer of 2015.

Created and organised by the North Highland Initiative (NHI) in partnership with Scotland Food & Drink, the festival will take place from 5 to 6 June and aims to highlight the importance of local food production, how to make great cuisine and good food choices and the variety of career opportunities in food production and service.  The festival will coincide with the tenth anniversary of Open Farm Sunday on 7 June.

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The summer festival for children takes place during the Year of Food and Drink and hopes to bring together producers, trade bodies and agencies with key interests in children's health, diet and active lives such as Highland Council, NHS Highland and the Scottish Government.

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Mike Russell said: "I am very pleased to hear that the North Highlands will host a Children's Food and Drink Festival next year. It is important that we instil in our children an understanding of the value of nutritious food for our health and well-being.

"North Highland Initiative in partnership with Scotland Food & Drink have organised for this festival to be held for the first time in 2015 - the Year of Food and Drink - which will help us ensure that our children and young people play their part in making Scotland a Good Food Nation."  

The festival will feature activities around the science of food, chefs' cooking, livestock and crops as well as showcasing great outdoor and adventure activities in the area. The focus will be on education, healthy choices and outdoor activity. It is intended that there will be a whole range of activities leading up to the festival itself and that children coming along will get a chance to showcase their efforts at creating new recipes.

David Whiteford, Chairman of NHI said "At NHI, we're really excited about this major new development in the North Highlands.  The children's food festival will in essence be a celebration of our local food and drink but by gearing activity specifically towards children, we're creating an event with unique appeal.  Not only will children of all ages have the opportunity to have fun and taste the best produce out there but they'll also be given the chance to find out about where their food comes from and the unique larder that the north Highlands of Scotland creates. 

"By enthusing local children about food and connecting them with the produce on their doorstep, we want this festival to contribute to the Scottish Government's commitment to improved healthy eating for our children and young people.

James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink said: "Scotland is cementing its worldwide reputation as a Land of Food and Drink. The nation's quality larder of premium produce comes from an outstanding natural environment and the Year of Food and Drink in 2015 will continue the momentum behind Scotland's best performing industry.

"Educating children and the wider nation on this national asset is critical in the creation of our national food and drink identity and in improving the country's relationship with food and drink. We share an aspiration for Scotland to be regarded as a Good Food Nation. Against that background, the Children's Food Festival is a brilliant idea. It is innovative and reflects the ambitions of the industry around health, education, future careers and economic growth."

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