News by: Liz, RVA Community Journalist
Residents flocked to the Forbury Gardens on Saturday 3 October for a sunny afternoon of community fun, music and food at the third Reading Town Meal.
The highlight of the event was a delicious free hot meal made from home-grown fruit and vegetables for 1000 people. This year’s menu included roasted vegetables with salad, ‘allotment stroganoff’ and fruit crumble. The Reading Town Meal aims to celebrate and promote home-grown and locally produced food.
Surplus home-grown produce was donated by small scale growers, allotment holders and gardeners from all over the Reading area. Volunteers helped to harvest apples and pears for donors who found it difficult to pick the fruit themselves.
Visitors were entertained by live music from the bandstand and a family activities area with bubble bicycle, circus skills, face painting, arts and crafts and more. At the local traders market place there were stalls selling tempting locally produced food and drink such as beers, cheese and chutneys.
There was a programme of free workshops and demonstrations on different of aspects of growing and enjoying home grown produce. Topics included planting a winter garden, mead making, bee keeping and apple juice production.
Many community groups, local and national environmental groups and charities set up stalls to provide information about their activities and the opportunities for volunteering.
At The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) stall, Paul Forrest-Jameson showed examples of the work volunteers do in local community gardens. TCV is also involved in many conservation areas in Berkshire and the South of England. In these areas, volunteers may work on footpath maintenance in summer and laying hedges in the winter.
There were many months of work involved in preparing for the Reading Town Meal. Volunteers, chefs, growers, sponsors, entertainers, stallholders and organisers all came together and played their part to make this tremendous community event a great success.