As we approach the end of International Year of Pulses 2016 (IYOP) it has been interesting to look back on achievements in the UK. Using funds of £80,000 donated by BEPA members, there have been a number of highlights in the year.

[1] On 6th January the ‘Pulse Epiphany’ was the UK press event in The Gate restaurant in London, one of 141 such events that took place as part of a rolling round the world launch of IYP 2016, with some 21 million people connected by social media.

[2] On 1st May in Borough market there was the first London Falafel festival, a competition cook off between different chefs to produce the best Falafel, as judged by the crowd. The winning falafel was produced with UK grown spring beans, highlighting their ability to replace chickpeas in this fast growing popular market.

BEPA pic for RHS of home page with IYOP

[3] In July we held a meeting in the Jubilee Room at Houses of Parliament and were given the opportunity to present the value of pulses to a number of influential politicians.

[4] We attended a number of food and farming school day events across the Eastern Counties in the course of the year to engage with, and educate, some 15,000 children about pulses, how they are grown, and the ways in which they can be consumed.

[5] At the Suffolk schools day we served over 80kgs of mushy peas to children keen to try something they had not had before, with resounding success.

[6] Sponsorship of community art based projects, aimed at engaging with school children through art have also take place, while BEPA had a strong presence at the Cereals Event this year, demonstrating the new and emerging snack food market with pulses.

While public perception will take time to change, raising awareness of pulses -the future of food - by highlighting the healthy, nutritious, affordable and sustainable benefits remained at the centre of the UK IYOP activities this year and for the future.