The Yorkshire Agriculture Society announced in 2006 that attendance at the Great Yorkshire Show was an all-time record breaker, higher than any in the events 167 year history. The figure was 134,810, compared with the previous best of 131,075 way back in 1979
From 2004 onwards we shared a marquee with the national association HQ from Bristol. Our site was in the same place as the previous years but it had been redesignated as the Arable Area.
The HQ staff provided expertise for farmers and our volunteers talked to other visitors about joining the Association.This arrangement worked very well.
We had lost our demonstration organic growing plot but our compost heap heating up outside provided as much a talking point as ever. We also sold books and pamphlets to help people get started with organic growing.
In 2003 we had our usual stand in the Organic Area. With our tent was the mobile display unit from our national HQ in Bristol.
The main talking point was the plot of land outside the tent where we were demonstrating organic methods. It was being taken through the approved Soil Association conversion cycle, over the usual 3 years.
The soil is poor judging by the crop grown so far, so we enriched it with manure, from Horticap (a charity which employs people with learning disabilities)
The rectangular section was divided into 4 plots, each sown with a different leguminous plant – to enrich the soil. They were:- vetches, field beans, lupins and clover.
Incorporated in this legumes section was a small wild headland to encourage natural diversity, a theme basic to Soil Association philosophy.
Since 2001 the Yorkshire Agricultural Society has been holding Countryside Days for the benefit of schoolchildren. They provide ‘hot spots’ of interest for them which include some tuition in building a dry stone wall, matching raw items such as cereals and sugar beet to the final processed food, a display of flowering shrubs which attract butterflies and bees, a healthy eating stand and last, but not least, our own Soil Association organic plot demonstrating conversion principles.
Over 700 children have come, combining education with fun as they learned about the countryside and the environment by taking part in a wide range of activities on the site.
For several years the national association from Bristol brought this mobile display unit along.
The Show has been running since 1837, and has been at Harrogate for the last 50 years. It attracts more than 120,000 visitors each year.