County Harvest Thanksgiving Service a Reminder of the Importance and Resourcefulness of Farmers

The annual County Harvest Thanksgiving Service took place on Sunday 6th October in Canterbury Cathedral. The Rt Hon Michael Jack, President of the National Fruit Show gave the address at this joyful and well-attended service.

As a former Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and currently Food and Agriculture Advisor to HSBC Bank, Michael Jack has a wealth of experience and knowledge to draw on from a lifetime of achievement in politics as well as produce.

He took the opportunity to say that Harvest services are an important reminder of the resourcefulness of farmers and their families:

“Even as we look at this beautiful county, The Garden of England, we are constantly reminded how removed people have become from their food, and that it doesn’t just come from a supermarket, but requires real farmers to do battle with the forces of mother nature in the annual challenge to produce a crop.”

He also commented that the world is facing many challenges regarding food; not just food poverty, but also how we are to feed the world’s rising population. He made special reference to how Kent is helping with some solutions:

“Kent is making its contribution to solving the many problems which face agriculture, such as new technology like Thanet Earth, the UK’s largest and most high-tech greenhouse which produces sustainable all the year round salad crops.

“In East Malling they are conducting pioneering research to help minimise the risk of disease and maximise the yield from fruit, which highlights the role for world class education and knowledge transfer as vital tools in helping the world to meet its food challenges of the future.”

Michael, who is also a lay canon in the Diocese of Blackburn said that considering the Old and New Testaments are full of the importance and symbolism of agriculture and food supply, the issues facing food production should be on the Church agenda:

“We in the Church of England should be discussing and praying about these matter because if we get it wrong, it could be hugely damaging to the future world stability.”

Each year at the thanksgiving service, a collection is taken to support the work of the Kent Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) and Kent Farming Community Network (FCN). Both charities seek to offer both practical and financial support to those in the rural sector.

A reception in the Chapter House after the service was supported again this year by Waitrose, which supplied local and fairly traded refreshments, and by by SW Doughty Butchers of Doddington and Goody Ales of Herne.


Further information from: Jennifer Ross, Communities and Partnership Network, Diocese of Canterbury: 01227 459401

Notes for editors

  • Photos show:

–         Beautiful Harvest produce on the High Altar.

–         Canon Caroline Pinchbeck – Director of Communities and Partnerships which organised the service, Rt Hon Michael Jack, Amanda Cottrell – Chair of Communities and Partnerships, Val Wallis – Vice Chair of Communities and Partnerships, and the Bishop of Dover, the Rt Rev Trevor Willmott.

–         Rt Hon Michael Jack President of the National Fruit Show giving his address.

  • The Diocese of Canterbury’s Communities and Partnerships Framework, which organises the County Harvest Thanksgiving Service, aims to empower parishes and deaneries to serve their communities by working in partnerships with others. The Framework has particular responsibility for rural and heritage issues, special interest groups, forging links with local authorities, other faith groups and with charities. (
  • The National Fruit Show is organised by the Marden Fruit Show Society and takes place this year on the 16th and 17th October at Detling Showground –