“We will be celebrating everything that grows – in our gardens, in our fields and in our unique woodland as well as looking at timber and trees – and this will be reflected in our shows, kicking off with the Spring Garden & Leisure Show in May 2014 and carrying on through the South of England Show and our Autumn and Christmas shows,” said Lord Egremont of Petworth Estate in West Sussex.
“This offers us a real opportunity to help educate children about countryside and farming and bring them closer to where their food comes from, which is core to the South of England Agricultural Society’s charitable aims.”
Lord Egremont steps into the Presidential shoes of Penelope Keith CBE DL, who presided over the past year’s theme of Poultry, which helped raise awareness about the region’s unique poultry history and promote the poultry industry.
His family has historical links with the Society going back to the 18th Century. His ancestors, the Lords Leconfield, were Presidents of the Sussex County, Tunbridge Wells and South Eastern Counties Agricultural Societies, which merged to form the South of England Agricultural Society in 1967.
He and Lady Egremont are hands on at the Petworth Estate, making it a huge success as a farming estate and managing some of the most beautiful grounds in the region. They are committed to education and annually host children from London schools on the Estate to experience a closer look at farming and where their food comes from.
“It’s very important for children who live in an urban environment to understand what form agricultural farming takes. People in the city can lose touch with the countryside and farming, going to supermarkets and not knowing what is involved in where their food comes from. I’m very keen to promote the seasons and encourage people to embrace the cycle of nature, eating British fare when it is ripe and ready.
“Crops are largely imported now, but I’m keen to see that farming has an opportunity to diversify and produce as many kinds of crops as possible. This is one of the messages we will be promoting throughout our Presidential year, but we will also be encouraging people to embrace gardening and growing on all scales, however small.”
Lord Egremont has also selected his President’s Charity for the year, to benefit from fundraising activities held at the Society’s events, which is the Children’s Society, specifically projects to help children in Sussex.
The educational work of the South of England Society and its theme of horticulture will be reflected at all next year’s exciting South of England Showground events, which include:
Spring Garden & Leisure Show – 4 & 5 May
South of England Show – 5, 6 & 7 June
Autumn Show & Game Fair 4 & 5 October
Festive Food & Drink Fayre 6 & 7 December
Other educational events include:
Connect with the Countryside – July
Countryside Careers – 16 October
Jim Green Memorial Competition – 12 March
Young Craftsman of the Year – June
The Project Assignment Competition – October
The Farming Conference – 12 November