The Lost Art of Living

Written by Anna Clayton, a food citizen and coordinator of FoodFutures.

Launched in 2017, Lancaster’s Health Festival – The Lost Art of Living- aims to facilitate conversations about people’s health and wellbeing; supporting people to think about and make positive changes to their life.

This annual event is viewed as a campaign in itself – supporting a shift towards more healthy lifestyles and a preventative approach to health care.

Coordinated by Ian Dewar, the chaplain at Lancaster Royal Infirmary, a partnership has formed around the festival that meets regularly and feeds into the strategy of FoodFutures’ Food and Health working group. Lancaster Health Festival partners have included Lancaster Business Improvement District (BID), Central Lancashire High School, NHS, Morecambe Primary School, Lancaster CVS, LESS, The Dukes, Lancaster University and Lancaster City Council.

As a result of this diverse partnership, the Festival has developed a holistic healthy food theme.

The 2018 and 2019 festivals saw more than 2000 and 4000 people respectively attend the event, with healthy eating and cooking from scratch events including a bread making workshop attended by 10 local teenagers and run by our local ‘slow bread’ bakery – Filbert’s Bakery.

A local chef ran cooking demonstrations with 40 local residents, using local produce from Claver Hill community farm.  Participants left with recipe cards for healthy seasonal meals and knowledge of where to access fresh, affordable and organically grown local produce.

As part of a seasonal Harvest Market attended by 600 people, a health MOT activity was run by NHS staff and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary chefs ran healthy cooking demonstrations. Stalls offered a variety of locally grown, fresh, seasonal and organic + produce – highlighting the role a healthy diet can play in looking after the health of the environment.

The fundamental principle that underlies the festival is its willingness to open up conversations about how we change society by building partnerships and movements, as opposed to running campaigns.

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