Showing posts with label Cork Food Policy Council. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cork Food Policy Council. Show all posts

Monday, October 22, 2018

Growing Together for a Healthy City. Cork Food Policy Harvest Festival

Growing Together for a Healthy City
Cork Food Policy Harvest Festival 2018
Members of the Churchfield Community Trust

“We are training people who are on the CE scheme. Some may have fallen out of the normal routine and we give them the opportunity to get back into it.” Micheál is a team leader with the Churchfield Community Trust and he was telling me about their horticultural work and its results. “We deliver to CUH every week.” 

I met Micheál and his colleagues at the plaza in front of the Old Butter Market in Shandon last Saturday. They were one of many groups taking part in the Cork Food Policy Harvest Festival.

And then he and his fellow team members showed me some of the attractive seasonal vegetables they are harvesting in their garden (Garrai an Aonaigh) at the old St Finbarr’s College at Farranferris at the moment. Others on the team include Emma, Frances, Padraig and Mairead.
Deputy Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald serving the public!

At present, with the winter just around the corner, they are concentrating on over-wintering greens, such as Pak Choi, Kales, Spinach, and Swiss Chard. The Horticulture venture is just one of the three helping arms of the trust. Aside from supplying CUH, they also supply their own Garden Café and this gives the trainees experience in hygiene and packing.
More clay, less plastic

That café is rather special and is based on the grounds of the Cork Foyer (formerly the Assumption Convent) and is located in a beautiful Victorian style glasshouse. It offers spectacular views of Blackpool and is open daily from April to October and Monday to Friday each week for morning coffee, freshly baked scones, brownies and flap jacks.

Along with the horticulture and the cafe, they also produce a range of Handmade Wooden Creche and Pre–School products at their purpose built workshop at Churchfield, Cork. “These products have been designed and developed by our work shop manager who gives guidance and instruction in the production of items such as bespoke tables and chairs.” And they are for sale! 

800 people fed with delicious warming Curry

Gardening and health was more or less the theme for the weekend events where Hydrofarm Allotments, Shandon Area Community Green Garden and the St Stephen’s Sustainable Food Lab were among other groups taking part in the weekend’s activities.

And I came across more at the Harvest Fest Finalé in Fitzgerald’s Park on Sunday where some 800 visitors were fed, for free, with food from the various growers and communities taking part. The donated food was turned into a gorgeous curry by volunteers (who did the work at the Quay Coop), all coordinated by Keelin Tobin and her team.
Busy bees

Lots of stalls around the main green area in the park where the lively music was provided by the band of the First Brigade. And that theme of food and health was underlined by Our Garden at St Mary’s where the motto is “Growing together for positive mental health”. Here, they are using Eco Therapy to see beyond Mental Health illness, “allowing people to become active in their own journey”. The Sli Eile organic farm in Churchtown (North Cork) uses similar methods and they also had a Harvest event on the Saturday.

Back to Fitzgerald’s Park where the Bee stall was a big draw and the kids were also kept active with pumpkin throwing, face-painting, even tug-of-war. And the apple juicer stall was also very popular. 

One of the most colourful stalls was that of Martha Cashman’s More Clay Less Plastic. She makes lovely bird feeders; they are reasonably priced (I bought a couple) and they (and the birds that visit for food) are a delightful addition to any garden or outdoor area.

Aside from the main display area, there were some colourful creations over by the pond, edible boat gardens created by the amazing crew at Knocknaheeney Hollyhill community garden, another angle to Cork Food Harvest Festival, not your regular food festival but a celebration by and of all those who commit to a sustainable and healthy food system. And the great news, according to Cork Healthy City over on Twitter, is that this community is growing every year. Excuse the pun!

See more on the Cork Food Policy Council here.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Food Photo Exhibition At City Library. Cork Food Policy Competition

Food Photo Exhibition At City Library
Cork Food Policy Competition

"Haddock Man" by John Dempsey
It is amazing that so many Irish people have very little idea as to where their food is coming from. Most of us city dwellers are barely a generation removed from the countryside, which for many of us is still just a short drive away. 

Yet I got a shock myself last year when a thirty something visited our garden; only then did she learn that peas grow in pods! Had she been born sixty years or so earlier, she’d have been sent to the corner shop for a bag of unshelled peas. Back home, she and her siblings would then get to "work" on shelling the sweet green peas.
Eleanor Attridge receives her prize from yours truly

Last week, over half-a-dozen or more magpies were making a massive racket on a bare tree in a school avenue but neither the mother nor the offspring walking underneath looked up. In the good old days, your mother or father would have plenty to say on the magpies - remember one for sorrow, two for joy.… 

So how did this disconnect with food and nature happen? Rather than looking for someone to blame (parents, educators, farmers, supermarkets), would it not be much better to concentrate on mending that “break”? 

There are quite a few people already doing so, including the Cork Food Policy Council who recently organised a photo competition where the categories were:
1- Food and Health - where does it come from?
2- Cork Food. What’s eating Cork and what’s Cork eating?
3- Community. What could a sustainable food system look like?

The categories were all well chosen to make the photographer think a little before pressing that shutter button and the winners of the inaugural Cork Food Policy Council’s Food Photo Competition were presented with their prizes at the Cork City Library in Grand Parade last Friday evening. You may see all 43 entries there, in the library foyer, until March 26th.

“A competition like this presents an opportunity to tell a different story about what we actually eat and where it really comes from,” Keelin Tobin, Coordinator of Cork Food Policy Council as she introduced the winners.

"Olive" by Annelies Verbiest
“This competition is an opportunity for photographers to showcase and celebrate the efforts being made towards a sustainable food system in Cork,” said Ellie Donovan of Green Space and Member of Cork Food Policy Council Steering Committee.

Annelies Verbiest won the ORSO sponsored prize for the Food and Health category. Her photo of Olive the hen was taken the day “Olive arrived in our garden”. “At 18 months, she was deemed too old for the industry as she had stopped providing an egg each day. She lived with us for a year, until she died. Her featherless body shows the true cost of cheap eggs in high production environments.”

The Cork Food category was the most popular one and the judges, who included professionals Giles Norman and Monika of Pepperazzi, picked two winners here. Beekeeper Eleanor Attridge’s honeycomb pic was one, “nature at its best, straight from the comb”. “It looked well and tasted better,” she said on the night.
Eileen Duggan receives her prize.

Frances Deasy’s photo of a grandmother and grandson gardening was the other winner. “Growing and eating my food is a pleasure, sharing with family a joy,” she said. Both Eleanor and Frances received a voucher from the English Market.

The Community Category prize (from O’Leary’s Camera World) was won by John Dempsey for his Haddock Man, a portrait of fish-monger William Martin at his stall in the English Market. Keen photographer John will enjoy spending that voucher.

Joleen Cronin's shot (left) of a fisherman landing his catch was the winner of the Giles Norman Selected Prize. The fisherman was pictured coming in after several days at sea, “the last fishing trip before Christmas.” The vessel, the Buddy M, arrived in Crosshaven at 3.00am on a wet and cold December morning.

The Monika Coghlan Pepperazzi Selected Prize went to Eileen Duggan for her shot of a bee, busy at work. “No bees, no honey. The bee was working very hard to gather nectar. Our bees are a very important part of our food chain, therefore we need to protect them.” 

Monika, “a great help throughout the competition”, also took the presentation photos  (some reproduced here) at the library. Other sponsors for the opening were Rocket Man and Green Space.

* Don’t forget to drop in to the library entrance where you’ll be able to see all the photos until March 26th.

Monday, March 3, 2014

5,000 people in Cork will enjoy free vegetarian curry at ‘Feed the City’

More than 5,000 people in Cork will enjoy free vegetarian curry at ‘Feed the City’ event to highlight food waste and sustainability issues on 15 March.

A new urban dining initiative, “Feed the City”, will see 5,000 people enjoying tasty and nutritious vegetarian curry absolutely free on Saturday 15th March at Grand Parade, Cork.  The initiative aims to highlight the issues of food waste and sustainability, and will only use vegetables that have been deemed surplus or otherwise going to waste.

The schedule of activities for “Feed the City” is not limited to a free meal however, and there is an exciting line up of street entertainment for all the family, as well as a food trail and exhibition, a series of talks on growing your own vegetables, composting, gardening tips and cookery demonstrations by renowned vegetarian chef and author, Denis Cotter of Café Paradiso and local food writer and chef Mercy Fenton.

“We have become used to eating vegetables that have travelled thousands of miles as we import more food than ever, and our farmers are producing for distant export markets”, explains Dr. Colin Sage, UCC and Cork Food Policy Council Chairman.  “The ‘Feed the City’ initiative aims to show how tasty and perfectly edible food is going to waste, and to change the way we think about our habits when it comes to food”.

The idea for this novel initiative grew out of a food-based initiative in Knocknaheeny, where the local community created and managed a community garden.  The allotments were such a success that those involved extended the project across the city and county to include those producing food from farm to fork. The organisers include representatives from UCC, HSE, food retail, farming, fishing, restaurant/catering, education, environmental sectors and local authorities.

There is a real community spirit behind Cork’s “Feed the City” with Catering students from CIT peeling and preparing 1 ton of vegetables for the curry the day before the event. Two 1,000 litre pots, which will be large enough to cater for the 5,000 servings, are being provided by the Food for All organisation in London, as it was a challenge to find such huge saucepans in Ireland.

The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Catherine Clancy will serve the first diners at 1pm on Saturday March 15 at Grand Parade, Cork, and all are welcome to come along and enjoy a tasty and warming curry during the Cork St. Patricks Day Festival activities.