It should go without saying that anyone reading this understands the importance of fresh produce consumption in tackling many of the world’s health concerns. Not all children are aware of the magical properties inherent in oranges and apples, however. Which is why Max MacGillivray has set off on his motorbike to Africa to do something about it. In this video interview he tells Produce Business UK why he’s going to be spending the best part of the next four months on a bike en route to Cape Town
Passionate fresh produce guru and all-round nice guy Max MacGillivray is on a mission. Quite literally in fact. On November 8 he set off on his Triumph from New Spitalfields Market with his travelling companion Gareth Jones. His destination? Cape Town in South Africa. His mission? To educate the next generation about the abundant and fantastic health properties present in fresh produce. But it’s also about adventure too. And enlightening children about the magic continent of Africa. The name of his mission? The Great Fruit Adventure.
“We started this mission about three years ago,” MacGillivray, the managing director of fresh food and agri-business executive recruiters Redfox, explained earlier this year at The London Produce Show and Conference. “We want to create a difference. We believe that there’s a big problem – that children and their families aren’t fully aware and aren’t educated about fresh produce.
“Fresh produce is so great in comparison to sugary drinks, power drinks, packets of crisps. It’s the cure for childhood obesity, and even adult obesity.”
And in an effort to counter the hideous – and unfortunately increasing – effects of child obesity (see stats below) he hit upon The Great Fruit Adventure.
*The cost of obesity to the NHS in the UK is £5 billion per year
*Fruit and vegetable consumption is critical to tackling type two diabetes
*Obesity is the number 3 global social burden after smoking and war/terrorism
“We’re trying to create something exciting by travelling, on motorbike, from London to Cape Town visiting upwards of 30 to 40 different fresh produce growers and we’re going to film all those growers and all the great products they’re growing,” he says.
Along the way MacGillivray will be sending the footage of his and Jones’s epic quest back to the UK, to educate school children about fresh produce, Africa and adventure.
“We hope they’ll get excited about seeing where an apple comes from,” he says. “Seeing where mangetout comes from, seeing where baby sweetcorn comes from. So they eat it, and get excited about it, rather than eating things that are unhealthy and not going to do them any good in the long term.
“I want to tell the story of the fantastic places where our fruit and veg is grown and the people who grow it to help young people understand that it doesn’t just magically appear on the supermarket shelves. It’s going to be an epic and challenging journey. I have ridden motorbikes on farms in the UK and Australia, but not on such an extensive trip, which is one of the great challenges.”
Visits to schools before the trip will be followed up with visits once he returns next year. After travelling through Spain, the duo will snake through Africa – starting off on the northwest side of the continent, through Morocco, Senegal and Ghana, then across to Ethiopia. From there, they will pass down the eastern side of Africa, by way of Kenya and Tanzania, eventually arriving in Cape Town towards the end of February next year.
The Great Fruit Adventure is a non-profit campaign and all proceeds raised after the cost of the trip will go to a select number of Africa-facing nominated charities.