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Michael Barker

BY MICHAEL BARKER

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'Eden project of food' to open in 2020

New national centre for provenance to open in Oxfordshire, promising previously unseen levels of traceability

'Eden project of food' to open in 2020

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A new facility dubbed 'the Eden Project of food and drink' will open next year year, aimed at bringing a new level of transparency to the industry. 

Backed by farmer-led food provenance outfit Happerley, the country's first national centre for provenance will be situated at Lock29, a food and leisure destination at Banbury's Castle Quay in Oxfordshire. 

Opening on 1 March 2020, Happerley England will give farmers, suppliers and producers a platform to champion their ‘Gold Standard’ produce, a marque given only 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. 

According to Happerley the centre, which will be sited in a 30,000 sq ft former BHS store, will provide a platform for "inspiring, educating and engaging" consumers, with an auditorium and cinema set to connect them with the journey of all their food and drink.

The plans were officially unveiled on 12 July by TV presenter and farmer Adam Henson, along with the panel of stakeholders. Henson explained: “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, chief executive 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.”

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