STAYING TRUE: The Felton Food Festival has shattered all expectations in its growth, but it's staying true to its focus on local produce.
STAYING TRUE: The Felton Food Festival has shattered all expectations in its growth, but it's staying true to its focus on local produce.

Felton's little food festival that grew

REMEMBER that infamous Australian travel campaign 'where the bloody hell are you'?

That's pretty much what people as close as Toowoomba, 30 minutes away, were saying about Felton just 10 years ago, when residents united to fight a mining company threatening their land.

They don't say that any more.

The folks of Felton decided to organise "a little food festival" in 2012 to let people know who and where they were. They hoped to attract about 500 people. Two thousand came. By last year that number had risen to 12,000, and this year ...?

Well, we'll see what happens on Sunday, March 26.

"It's a very special place," co-ordinator Debbie House said. "We all pull together and make this day happen.

"We set out to educate people where we were and where there food came from, and that's still at the core of everything we do.

"There's no fairy floss or sideshows. There's baby animals for the kids and a little bit of art and craft by people inside the Felton Valley, but really, the whole thing is centred around food."

Debbie said the festival was not just held on a farm, local farmers were on hand to be asked any question you dream up about life on the land. This year there's a special emphasis on science changing agriculture. There's also a huge range of market stalls, a crop tour, cooking demonstration and more, including special guests gardeners Costa Georgiadis and Jerry Coleby-Williams, food consultant Alison Alexander and chef Alastair McLeod.

Debbie's farm, Marinya, is one of those you can explore as part of the optional half-day farm tours of Nobby and Cambooya. Established in 1902 by Sir Vincent Fairfax and his wife Ruth, who started Queensland's CWA, it's now home to four generations of the House family. With the farm severely drought-affected, they'll be showing what they have to do to keep their grain crops, Angus cows and Wagyu bulls alive.

That's what this festival is all about - celebrating life on the land, where your food comes from and what farmers have to go through to get it to you.

"It's just a bit euphoric when the day actually arrives," Debbie said of all the hard work in the run-up to the festival.

"But it's a great family day, very relaxed, with a really good vibe. The kids can run around safely and everyone has smiles on their faces."

The only other thing to note is that with these numbers, you may need a little patience, because even with traffic management this year, there's still only one road in and out.

For more details on any aspect of the festival or to help out the other 200 or so volunteers, go to

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