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how do you start up a 'food fair' or similar?

Hi, we are looking to promote our own produce (mainly goat meat, pork and poultry) and want to run a one off small fair on our smallholding in the summer. The idea would be to invite other smallholders/producers local to us or within our local training group to come along and set up a stall with examples of their produce with a view to promoting interest and I also want to invite local farmshops who would be interested in sourcing.
I need to make sure my liability insurance covers it, but assume I also need to flag with my local trading standards re food hygiene etc? We are not yet registered as a food business with council as we haven't started trading yet so will do that.
Has anyone organised something similar before? What hurdles/red tape did you face? What did you charge to stallholders/public etc?
any help very much received!

I arranged a Food Fayre Fair a couple of years ago, we had several bodies involved and were having hawk displays, lazer clay pigeon shoot, air rifles, casting sessions in the river, dog scurries, venison roast, hog roast, game cooking, a celeb chef was going to do cooking demo – pheasant kebabs, grouse pie and mash, rabbit and rice- that sort of thing, face painting, stalls and food we had everyone onboard a lot of support from countryside groups (in the end it didn’t go ahead) because of parking restrictions and the police worrying about road congestion, so you may want to sort that FIRST Wink

We had to check with the council that it was all ok as well as other bodies. TS weren’t involved neither was the EHO for us because the produce sold was under the producers remit and they had to ensure all regulations were covered. PLI was provided by the location but you’d have to have it on your own ground

Not sure about a food fair, but a couple of years back I set up and ran a Baby Fair. This involved finding premises and finding and booking the various stalls, dealing with the public etc. If you feel I can give you any pointers please drop me a PM and I'll share Very Happy

Might be first worth seeing what other food fairs operate within say a 40 minute drive of your place before you make firm plans and spend a lot on event insurance and advertising. I know a lot of food traders have been commenting this year that there are now so many food fairs operating that the visitor footfall to each is low and spend is down beyond what the current economy might indicate.

Thats not to say its a totally bad idea, just worth seeing if you have any major overlaps with an existing one before you put lots of time and money into a new one? It might indicate areas where you can do a better job than current offerings as well.

I know a few where the organiser is also the main stall holder. Very quickly they become the virtually the only stall holder. When we were doing them we stopped going to any that have the organiser as a stall holder.

When we were doing them we stopped going to any that have the organiser as a stall holder.
Hi Richard - why is that?
My aim is more to give a platform for local smallholders to promote their produce to farm shops etc - we have a plethora of farm shops and restaurants promoting local food opening up over the last few years, and smallholding has really taken off. I am a member and recently elected training officer for our farm training group and want to get producers 'out there' to attract outlets for their hard work.
I'm not really aiming for a 'public' event unless it would work out legislation wise.
Re premises - good point, we are on main trunk road and access could be an issue - in which case then I'd look for an alternative site or community centre or similar.
If I kept it to a 'invitation only' and cut out the public, more a trade event then how does it work?

From a small producer's point of view, I always found 'trade-only' 'food fair'/regional showcase events pretty useless.
And then, if you let the public into those, they just want the free samples.

It ends up being that you cant do anything that might loose them a sale. Let alone the same product type. One even stops anyone selling stuff that they sell in the main shop miles away that they dont have on the stall.

Then remember that on a bad day they have paid no rent & still get an income from all the other stalls & possibly an entrance fee too. Very hard to have a bad day then. So the advertising budget shrinks.
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