Banbury has been chosen to be the national centre for England's newest food and drink initiative, launched today by a well known TV presenter.
Farmer-led food provenance champion, Happerley, has taken an unprecedented step towards delivering transparency across England’s food and drink industry by announcing its plans to open the country’s first national centre for provenance.
Situated at Lock29, a ground-breaking independent food and leisure destination located in Banbury’s Castle Quay, Happerley England will give farmers, suppliers and producers a platform to champion their ‘Gold Standard’ produce.
The 'Gold Standard' tag will only be accorded to food and drink producers able to name the exact sources of their core ingredients back to the primary producers. Every core ingredient must be instantly traceable back to farms (or fishing boats), from coffee to cheese to bread and jam to beer.
The plans are being unveiled today by TV presenter and farmer Adam Henson during the event on the founder’s farm, where Happerley started as mean to connect consumers to the story of their Gloucester beef.
Mr Henson said: “Today, we take a bold step in giving English food and drink a home. With Brexit and other economic uncertainties constantly putting farmers’ livelihoods at risk, never has there been a more critical or fundamental time to provide a platform where English-grown and reared produce is championed and celebrated as it should be.
“Happerley England will ensure our country’s finest products are put on a pedestal for all to see. This is an exciting movement which, as a farmer, I fully endorse and see it as being a
step towards achieving full transparency across the whole food and drink industry.
Roll on Wales and Scotland!”
Matthew Rymer, CEO and founder of Happerley, said: “What better place to offer a national centre for England’s food and drink provenance than Banbury, in the heart of England, 50
minutes from London.
"By giving the country an experiential showcase of the best of English produce, we expect to create a national destination venue.”
The centre will officially open in March 2020. Described as the ‘Eden Project’ of the food and drink industry, it will provide a platform for inspiring, educating and engaging
consumers, with an auditorium and cinema, connecting them with the journey of all their food and drink.
The new concept has been developed in the context of the growing phenomenon of interest in food and drink and demand for transparency that is sweeping the UK and will fill the 30,000
sq ft former BHS store.
Cllr Tony Ilott, Lead Member for financial management and governance at Cherwell District Council, said: “Lock29 marks the next step in a new chapter for Banbury town centre. Lock29 is part of the wider vision to breathe new life into the canal side destination and rethink a critical, abandoned space with a creativity that will benefit the entire community.
“It will complement the forthcoming Castle Quay Waterfront development, with both offers working together to enhance Banbury’s wider appeal.
"Overall, these new leisure-led offers will help to attract visitors and investment into the town while making Banbury a better place to live and work.”
There will only be three national centres in the UK, with the other two opening in Wales and Scotland. A tour of the UK will follows today's launch including two stops in Oxfordshire.
For more information on the food and drink centres visit www.happerley.co.uk