Food Tourism Study Visits

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Overview of outcomes of study visits toLeitrm +Tyrone

Overview of outcomes of study visits toLeitrm +Tyrone

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  • 1. Mourne Rural Cultural Heritage Programme MOURNE BRANDING INITIATIVE Study Visits 2008 Good Food Circle & Flavour of Tyrone County Leitrim NORTHERN IRELAND REGIONAL FOOD PROGRAMME
  • 2. Content Page . Introduction ……………………………………………………………2 Study Visits ……………………………………………………………4 Study Visit 1 – Flavour of Tyrone ……………………………………………………………5 Study Visit 2 – County Leitrim ……………………………………………………………8 Participants Evaluation Study Visit 1 ………………………………………………………….12 Study Visit 2 ………………………………………………………….13 Possible ideas that could be transferable to Mourne area ………………………………………………………….21 Study Visit Costings ………………………………………………………….22 Appendix 1 Itinerary – Flavour of Tyrone & Good Food Circle 23 Appendix 2 Itinerary – County Leitrim 24 Appendix 3 List of Delegates 26 Appendix 4 Participant’s Personal Interest Form 27 Appendix 5 RDC Event Activity Record – Study Visit 1 30 Appendix 6 RDC Event Activity Record – Study Visit 2 32 Appendix 7 Background : Flavour of Tyrone 34 Appendix 8 Background :Greenbox 36 Appendix 9 Background : The Organic Centre 41 Appendix 10 Background : The Food Hub 45 Appendix 11 Background : Western Organics Network 46 Appendix 12 Background : The Oarsman 50 Appendix 13 Press Release – Mourne Observer Appendix 14 Press Release – The Outlook Appendix 15 Press Release – Down Recorder Appendix 16 Press Release – The Outlook Appendix 17 Press Release – Mourne Observer Appendix 18 Press Release – Banbridge Chronicle Appendix 19 Press Release – Newry Reporter Appendix 20 Application to Northern Ireland Regional Food Programme Appendix 21 Photographic Record Joanne McAlinden 1 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 3. Introduction The Mourne Heritage Trust (MHT) is an independent body which aims to provide for the future management of the Mourne and Slieve Croob Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Trust’s Mission is: “to sustain and enhance the environment, rural regeneration, cultural heritage and visitor opportunities of the Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and contribute to the well-being of Mourne’s communities”. The Trust works in five key areas as follows: 1. Natural Environment Enhancement and protection 2. Visitor management and Visitor Services 3. Built and Cultural heritage 4. Sustainable Tourism 5. Rural and Community Regeneration Mourne Rural Cultural Heritage Programme (Ref: 03274) Mourne Heritage Trust secured financial assistance from the Rural Development Council (RDC) under the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation, to deliver the Mourne Rural Cultural Heritage Programme. The aim of the overall project aims ‘to promote rural regeneration in the Mourne AONB through an improved understanding of shared culture and heritage’. The objectives are as follows: • Employment of a Heritage Officer for 2 years • Mourne Branding Forum established to promote local agricultural produce and crafts • 1 study visit for 10 people from the Mourne Branding Forum to learn about regional branding • Heritage audit developed and published on the MHT • 12 Cultural ‘factsheets’ published In addition, MHT secured funding from the Northern Ireland Regional Food Programme (NIRFP) to compliment the work being undertaken with the Mourne Branding Initiative (MBI) aspect of the Mourne Rural Cultural Heritage Programme. NIRFP funding contributes to the following areas of work: Joanne McAlinden 2 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 4. • Study commissioned to identify best practice methods used by areas with similar characteristics to the Mournes who have established a brand name to market local produce. • Study visit organised to visulise how the Mournes area could potentially benefit from a branding initiative. • Tailored training and mentoring programme covering topics related to the agri-food industry in Northern Ireland (due to commence April 2008). The Mourne Branding Initiative aims to highlight the local and traditional products of the Mourne and Slieve Croob Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). An important aspect of the initiative is to encourage local businesses to look at good practice elsewhere. Two study visits to the ‘Flavour of Tyrone Region’ and to County Leitrim were organised to meet this objective. Joanne McAlinden 3 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 5. Study Visits Rural Heritage Officer, Joanne McAlinden organised two study visits: • 1 day trip to Co. Tyrone – 31st January 2008 • 1 overnight stay in Co. Leitrim – 20th & 21st February 2008 The objective of the study visits was to provide an opportunity for key individuals of Mourne to visulise how the Mourne and Slieve Croob AONB could potentially benefit from food and branding projects that have been successfully implemented elsewhere. Joanne McAlinden 4 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 6. Study Visit 1 – Flavour of Tyrone & Good Food Circle Study visit 1 was designed to give local eating establishments and individuals involved in the food and hospitality industry the opportunity to visit and recognise the benefits gained where a successful regional branding initiative has been implemented. The study visit incorporated the following: • Briefing from Tourism Officer and Good Food Circle Co-coordinator • Briefing from Chair and membership of the Good Food Circle • Briefing from Farmers’ Market Project Officer • Demonstration using local produce Summary & points of interest from visit Good Food Circle Members Good Food Circle (GFC) members visited on the trip were extremely enthusiastic and demonstrated a real passion for the business they are involved. Nora Brown (nationally & internationally recognised cook and recipient of MBE) was one of the founding members of the Good Food Circle and brought with her experience gained with her involvement with the establishment of the ‘Taste of Ulster’ Brand. From the concept of the GFC it took approximately 2 years to get the project to a stage where members were formally recognised. A Project Officer was employed part time (council funded). Those visited admitted that it was difficult in the beginning to get members on board as other restaurants were seen locally as their competitors. Members found that a number of study visits to various food shows/events throughout the UK helped the group to gel and were an excellent networking opportunity. Key reputable restaurants were invited to join the GFC in the early days. Now, those wishing to become members must submit an application and fulfill various pre-set criteria and an assessment process. This process takes place every two Joanne McAlinden 5 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 7. years but may in the near future take place on an annual basis to ensure that promotional material is kept up to date. Members are charged £100 per year and must attend monthly board meetings. Absence from 3 consecutive meetings can result in membership being withdrawn. Each member MUST highlight one signature dish on their menu which produce is entirely sourced locally. This may be a starter, main course or dessert. GFC members considered the benefits as a member to be: • Immediate increase in business • Networking and sharing of ideas • Flavour of Tyrone / Good Food Circle has ‘put Tyrone on the map’ • Financial assistance with marketing (national & international food shows / publications (e.g. Ulster Tattler), local newspapers / website) • Centrally administered website & comment cards • Buying power – special deals from suppliers (e.g. wine, meat, fair trade) • Referral system • Staff training e.g. customer care, visitor servicing • New highly visible, excellent quality external promotional material (instant brand recognition) Farmers’ Market Tyrone Farmers’ Market was established in 2002. The market takes place every 1st & 3rd Saturday of the month in the carpark beside Tescos and has a dedicated Project Officer employed by the local council. The nearest farmers’ markets are located in Strabane and Omagh. Marques were financed by the local council. Stalls cost £25 which includes a marquee & 2 standard tables There are currently 15 producers (food & craft) that MUST commit to 1 market day per month. There is a maximum limit imposed of 3 producers of every type per market day (e.g. meat, bread, craft). All meat must now be Farm Quality Assured. Farmers’ market provides contacts for local eating establishments Success story – Fivemiletown Cheese, started business selling cheese at farmers market. Now exports brie to France! Joanne McAlinden 6 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 8. The farmers’ market tried to expand to 6 rural villages outside Cookstown and Dungannon. This did not work as businesses considered the market as a threat. The objective was however to complement what already existed. Research has shown that Tescos have increased sales on market days! The Farmers’ Market Project Officer also has the role of increasing awareness of the importance of sourcing local produce and raising awareness of health eating. This education programme involves local primary schools and demonstration samples of products. Joanne McAlinden 7 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 9. Study Visit 2 – County Leitrim Study visit 2 was designed to give local agricultural producers, those potentially in a position to diversify from conventional agriculture and individuals involved in food and hospitality the opportunity to meet and engage with individuals and organisations involved in successful and unique projects that could be replicated in Mourne. This visit endeavored to demonstrate the benefits to be gained sourcing local produce and establishing good working relationships between producers and customers. The visit incorporated the following: • The Greenbox – Ireland’s first genuine ecotourism destination • The Organic Centre - provision of public education, training and dissemination of information about organic growing and sustainable living • The FoodHub – state of the art food production facility • Western Organic Network – Organisation providing training to food producers to meet increased demand for organic produce. Summary & points of interest from visit Individuals and organisations visited on the study visit again were extremely welcoming and passionate and positive about the sectors they were involved. All demonstrated a genuine willingness to share information and advice with study group participants. The Greenbox The Greenbox endeavors to set of standards based on sound environmental practices highlighting all that the region and its people has to offer. This is being achieved through a model of tourism partnership and brings together representatives from many national, regional and local agencies. In addition many sound environmental enterprises; ecotourism products and community initiatives fall under the Greenbox umbrella. Joanne McAlinden 8 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 10. Success of Greenbox has been brought about by persistent lobbying of government agencies and influencing various ‘green’ policy changes. Greenbox facilitated development of ‘Eco-tourism’ label pilot programme involving 40 businesses. ‘Blue Flower’ logo officially rewards accommodation services as being “amongst most environmentally friendly in their area”. This is a high internationally recognised standard monitored by outside bodies and now adopted by Failté Ireland. Implementation of this initiative is entirely independent & transparent. Sizeable financial assistance was necessary for training and marketing. Benefits: • Area becoming recognised as Ireland’s first genuine eco-tourism destination. The Organic Centre The main focus of the Organic Centre is training and demonstration. Other finance generating facilities include a café (using seasonal organic produce from the adjoining gardens) and an eco-shop. Funding to sustain the centers running costs and core staff is generated through training programmes and production of various literature. Benefits: The centre has been a catalyst in attracting visitors to the area. This has had positive spin-offs such as increased bed nights in nearby town (2000+ individuals register on courses per year from all over Ireland). B&Bs are recommended by the Organic Centre that make a conscience effort to be ‘green’ – e.g. use of free range eggs, eco-friendly cleaning products, fair trade tea, coffee, organic milk etc. Good community relationships have been established with local restaurants purchasing freshly grown herbs. School & Community projects have had many benefits: - increased social interaction - Increased physical activity - increased environmental awareness - increased organic gardening skills Joanne McAlinden 9 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 11. - promotion of healthy eating - increased knowledge in composting, recycling, and inter-connectedness of natural ecosystems The FoodHub This is an excellent example of a community coming together to create long term sustainable employment for the local area. This idea came from a study visit to USA ‘Time Share Kitchen Resource’. Main barriers recognised generally to setting up food businesses: - Cost - Health & safety regulations Benefits: - Creates local employment - Encourages entrepreneurship - Provides onsite support to tenants Western Organics Network (WON) Established to provide training to food producers to meet the increased demand for organic produce and encourage producers to take advantage of new market opportunities. Benefits: - Influenced government policy on organic farming - Sharing of knowledge and skills - Creates and develops new market routes Drawbacks: - Lack of responsibility from members - Difficulty with individuals to see benefits of networking The Oarsman Numerous prestigious awards have been attributed to sourcing, preparing and presenting food carefully. All food is sourced using local suppliers where possible. Organic vegetables, herbs and salads are sourced 10-15 mile radius. All meat and dairy products are fully traceable (Féile Bia Quality Assured). Joanne McAlinden 10 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 12. Member of Slow Food movement - Ireland Acknowledges organic and artisan produce is more expensive however there is a willingness to support local community and recognises the benefits of personal relationships with suppliers. By supporting such, producer businesses can develop and grow. In the longer term prices may be more competitive. Benefits: - Supports local economy - Increased visitor numbers to the town – main attraction being renowned high quality local food served Joanne McAlinden 11 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 13. Participants Evaluation Participants were requested to provide a personal account of study visits. Study Visit 1 The following results are based on Good Food Circle FAM trip feedback forms completed and returned by 7 participants. Excellent Good Average Poor The FAM trip was well organised 85% 15% - - The FAM trip was just the right length of time 85% 15% - - The content of the FAM trip 72% 28% - - Staffing 100% - - - Usefulness of the trip 72% 28% - - The venues & hospitality 85% 15% - - Participants were asked, ‘How would you rate the overall trip?’ The following responses were received: - Excellent - Excellent - 10/10 - Very Good - Very informative. Good template and ideas to use for similar ventures in the Mourne area - Very good and informative - Very good and interesting Participants were also asked, ‘Do you have any suggestions that you would like to make for future trips?’ The following responses were received: - Meet local suppliers - Would like to see more trips. It is very interesting - Keep it going – trips annually to update Joanne McAlinden 12 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 14. Study Visit 2 Following results are based on County Leitrim study visit feedback forms completed and returned by 13 participants. 1. Briefly describe what you enjoyed about the County Leitrim study visit The food! Opportunity to talk to Organic Centre, Martin Carey Greenbox, Western Organics Network. I enjoyed the whole visit getting to see and hear what Patricia Collins different opportunities there are and to see what we have up in the North could do if we put our minds to it. I found the study visit very informative – saw things I Bernadette Cunningham never knew existed. The Greenbox organisation, the Foodhub! Mary who gave us the talk at the Greenbox is very well informed on subjects like getting people working together, community group training and obtaining funding. She emphasized the importance of local branding i.e. Eco Flower label. The Study visit was interesting. The talk by Mary Brendan Cunningham (Greenbox) contained lots of interesting information about co-operating with other groups of people and of course the all important funding and branding of local produce. It was very interesting to see how the guest house and Geraldine Fitzpatrick hoteliers all worked so closely with the producers. I enjoyed the hospitality of the people we met on our Sean Fitzpatrick study visit and the willingness to share with us their experiences on setting up their business projects. First of all I enjoyed the very friendly approach and Noel Houston interest shown in all the study visits and the high standard of lectures and courtesy shown. I enjoyed very much the good food and accommodation provided. The Trust’s Rural Heritage Officer Miss Joanne McAlinden was exemplary. I enjoyed meeting and talking to individuals from Joanne McAlinden Mourne with an interest in promoting local Mourne produce and branding. I found representatives from ALL organisations visited to be extremely welcoming and extremely passionate and positive about the sectors that they were involved. Everyone demonstrated a genuine willingness to share information and advice. Talking to people who had already seen all the pitfalls in Oisin Murnion the food businesses and finding out good ideas. Everyone we spoke to were open about their Joanne McAlinden 13 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 15. experiences. I also enjoyed being able to see a community effort that worked. We both enjoyed the visit to the farm that grew their own June Patterson stuff and the simple but good lunch we had from the garden. Food for thought. Visit to the Greenbox, Food Hub, Farmers Market & Kieran Swail Talk. Opportunity to share and discuss ideas and opinions in a non formal environment. The quality of the local food was excellent in the hotel, Rossinver, Farmers market and in the Oarsman. Good use of time - Numerous visits organised Shirely Walker Good examples of best practice – passionate and enthused speakers Meeting new people and especially the staff of Mourne Mairead White Heritage Trust. Learning and seeing. Asking questions. Hearing positives and negatives of the past. 2a. What do you consider to be the most beneficial site visit? Greenbox for me because it covered branding and Martin Carey sustainable tourism. The organic farm I enjoyed mostly using their own Patricia Collins produce. The Organic Centre Bernadette Cunningham The Greenbox. Brendan Cunningham The farmers market Geraldine Fitzpatrick I thought the organic centre was the most benificial Sean Fitzpatrick I consider the catering industry’s desire to source locally Noel Houston produced food with less reliance on supermarkets. The Oarsman Restaurant Joanne McAlinden The most beneficial site was the Foodhub, Oisin Murnion Drumshambo with facilities for food production on site. The organic farm because it can grow inside June Patterson The Oarsman Restaurant Joanne McAlinden Both the Food Hub at Drumshanbo and the Farmers Kieran Swail Market in Carrick-on-Shannon I thought they were all equally beneficial Shirley Walker The visit to the FoodHub – could work in most local Mairead White communities 2b. Please detail why you found this site visit to be most beneficial. Greenbox as it gave examples of branding and Martin Carey sustainable tourism that we can ‘lift’. Western organics Joanne McAlinden 14 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 16. Network was also useful though in showing how capacity for organic farming can be built up. I found it most beneficial as it was able to supply to Patricia Collins small business around the town it was also able to let children come in and learn to grow their own. It was very enjoyable visit. I liked the Organic Centre (because I am interested in Bernadette Cunningham gardening). I found the place very nice and can imagine it in the summer. Steven told us they use 9 acres for vetetables and herbs and supply local. They have school groups visit and have visitors from all over Ireland and beyond. They send visitors to local B&Bs and in that small area have more than 1,000 bed nights last year which must be a good thing for them. In summer they employ 15 people but he did say it is a struggle to pay wages. Don’t get much in the way of funding. I liked the Organic Centre (because I am interested in Bernadette Cunningham gardening). I found the place very nice and can imagine it in the summer. Steven told us they use 9 acres for vetetables and herbs and supply local. They have school groups visit and have visitors from all over Ireland and beyond. They send visitors to local B&Bs and in that small area have more than 1,000 bed nights last year which must be a good thing for them. In summer they employ 15 people but he did say it is a struggle to pay wages. Don’t get much in the way of funding. The premium they could charge for their products was Geraldine Fitzpatrick over twice the price they could receive from co-ops Young people had a chance to train there and learn to Sean Fitzpatrick grow vegetables and herbs. This also taught them how different types of soil was used in this work As a beef and lamb producer in the middle of the Noel Houston Mournes great care and attention through the farm Quality assurance Scheme to produce good quality meat which is all too often sold cheap. Supermarkets are set up to buy in large quantities and endevour to take over smaller outlets, thereby gaining increased power to purchase at the mercy of the producer. Conor from The Oarsman was not only an ambassador Joanne McAlinden for his restaurant but also for all food producers in the local area. I think his talk ended the study visit on a very positive note demonstrating the REAL benefits of sourcing local high quality produce and the importance of good working relationships between local producers Joanne McAlinden 15 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 17. and restaurateurs It gave me an idea of what we could have ourselves if Oisin Murnion we get organised. If such a similar place was in our area it would be very easy to start up any form of food business quickly. It could be compared to the facility which DARD have at Loughry Food College I found it to be more beneficial when it was able to June Patterson supply to other small businesses in the local area. The way students were able to come and learn how to grow their own vegetables The Mournes Region is at a very early stage of Kieran Swail developing a food/tourism brand and I found it useful to see how another region in Ireland has been organised to promote ‘organic and good local food’ Good initiatives Shirely Walker Enthusiasm for projects Forward thinking Taking ownership I think if we want to develop a product and where local Mairead White people do not have the facility this could be a great idea. Also, ideas generate and more products developed. Keeps costs down for the local community. 3. From all the sites visited, what ideas do you consider could be transferable to Mourne? Training (Western Organics Network) – MHT are Martin Carey planning but could perhaps do more depending on interest) Community Kitchen Greenbox Accreditation Scheme I think if different farmers went into tourism they could Patricia Collins start and grow their own organic vegetables if the right soil was there it would be more beneficial for people around. It would be good if we could get an organisation like the Bernadette Cunningham Greenbox going. We have good land and can rear good beef and lamb. Kilkeel is a major fishing village so we might have a lot going for us. We need to be able to market our wares to the best advantage and label our products as grown in Mourne. It is hard to say. I talked to some very good farmers Brendan Cunningham since the outing (some who are Farm Quality Assured) and they were not very enthusiastic about trying any of Joanne McAlinden 16 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 18. the projects that was talked about. I think they are afraid it would require spending money for which they might get little in return. The cold store for fruit and vegetables Geraldine Fitzpatrick The Organic Centre and the Greenbox Sean Fitzpatrick I consider a state of the art food production facility such Noel Houston as the ‘FoodHub’ could be set up in Mourne to encourage small producer groups to set up business, encourage employment and added value. I know from past management experience in food production food buyers want good locally sourced raw material. The catering industry locally ought to have access to local products. All ideas could be transferable to Mourne. Joanne McAlinden Greenbox – accreditation scheme Organic Centre – demonstration gardens & training FoodHub – community kitchen meeting health & safety Regulations WON – training programme & networking Farmers’ Market - support from local authorities Oarsman – pride in local produce, imaginative dishes using local, seasonal produce. Mourne Heritage Trust could take a different role and Oisin Murnion help bring key people together in forming their own farmers co-op. I went down to Kilkeel harbour to see were there any premises similar. Most were fish orientated but none were vacant. Some large building in the area could be comandered and refurbished into a similar state of the processing property. We should all become members of the ‘Slow Food Movement’. I think that if farmers that have diversified into tourism June Patterson they would be able to grow their own vegetables which would be fresher, cheaper and don’t have to wait on delivery vans. There are aspects of what I saw in Leitrim which could Kieran Swail be adapted to work in the Mournes – but this requires a quantum leap based on a bottom-up approach. The concept of promoting primarily local (organic) food as we experienced in the Oarsman could be easily transferred. I also think that the Food Hub idea could be replicated on a smaller scale but once again inter- agency co-operation is paramount if this is to work. All could be transferable in time, At this stage a Good Shirely Walker Food Circle (Co. Tyrone) would appear to be an ideal Joanne McAlinden 17 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 19. initiative to start with Many of the ideas could be used but I feel it is important Mairead White to develop tourism; restaurants etc. and then the food issue could be addressed. It is expensive to go organic and that would make our prices higher and people do not go with this. 4. Do you think there are barriers that might delay similar Mourne initiatives or inhibit them from taking place? No 4 Patricia Collins Geraldine Fitzpatrick June Patterson Mairead White Yes 9 Martin Carey Bernadette Cunningham Brendan Cunningham Sean Fitzpatrick Noel Houston Joanne McAlinden Oisin Murnion Kieran Swail Shirley Walker If ‘yes’ please detail barriers you feel exist in Mourne. Level / number of producers Martin Carey To get people to work together but with the right training Bernadette Cunningham that could probably be overcome. The fact that we are in a border region might work to out favour for funding purposes. Mourne people would be hard to talk into any of the Brendan Cunningham projects that were discussed plus the fact so many young people trained as joiners, bricklayers, fitters etc. recently where they get a good pay packet every Friday night. To ask them to change would just make them laugh. I think that some people might not be willing to pull Sean Fitzpatrick together to make things work. Joanne McAlinden 18 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 20. Lack of facilities Noel Houston Lack of training Lack of grants Too much legislation and paperwork Vision & lack of belief / pride in local area and products Joanne McAlinden A driving force – individuals / organisations Lack of community spirit in Mourne / working in partnership Financial assistance through funding programmes Any barrier would be lack of personal initiative. There Oisin Murnion could be religious barriers bringing both communities together in Mourne. However these could be resolveds at the start by starting off with a small group co- operation at start. Equal amounts of people from both sides of the community with Mourne Heritage Trust with casting vote as an independent body. Rules would need properly laid out at start a proper constitution with a regulating body or a board of governors linked to Mourne Heritage Trust. Socio-cultural barriers in relation to food education, Kieran Swail awareness. Economic - perceived financial difficulties diversifying from traditional farming. Co-operation - Limited evidence of multi-agency co- operation. Legacy of the troubles - Communities only now coming to terms with the economic reality of having to work together. Driving Force - Distinct absence of an obvious Champion ( public, private or community) driving the food (tourism) agenda. Commitment from businesses Shirely Walker Who should take initiatives forward? Funding sources for initiatives I think we have much more going for us in the Mournes Mairead White than they had in Leitrim. We need a dedicated and more structured approach with more leaflets, advertising etc. Joanne McAlinden 19 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 21. 5. Please detail any further comments you wish to make. Had a very enjoyable few days it would have been nice Patricia Collins to have extra time in a few of the visits. Thank you to the Mourne Heritage Trust for such an enjoyable and interesting visit. A facility like the FoodHub would be very desirable but Bernadette Cunningham the expense of setting up would be colossal and would need to be funded. The fact that different groups could hire the kitchen to bake or prepare food for parties etc. would be good. Also for cooking demos or training classes. I think in this day and age most people have clean and hygienic kitchens and I don’t agree with the fact that a woman who wants to bake bread, cakes etc to sell at a farmers market should have to hire a place like the ‘FoodHub’ for a few hours to bake there. Some people say it would just create more jobs for the Brendan Cunningham boys and the girls sitting in offices and visiting farms telling people what they must and must not do. Education should be demonstrated at schools and local Noel Houston authorities to a wide audience on the advantages of organic food production and its health benefits. There is a definite interest and demand for organic food products after visiting County Leitrim and I feel sure this interest exists throughout the country – this needs to be advanced. No further comments other than to say a big thank you June Patterson to Joanne for giving us the chance to go. We really enjoyed our stay it would have been better if we had a bit longer at the form to buy some stuff from the craft shop. People need to get up and get at it. With the current Oisin Murnion websites available through work which Joanne McAlinden set up, there is absolute and total opportunity to supply local produce to local business. One or two lead people could organise the whole set-up. We have everything at our fingertips. Mourne Heritage Trust could be key to organise funding for such an enterprise. Thoroughly enjoyed the two days. Kieran Swail What about courses in organic – more information, a Mairead White database of where I can get products. Fair trade week, Organic Week, Vegetarian Week etc etc. Joanne McAlinden 20 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 22. Summary of ideas from Study Visits that could be transferable to the Mournes area • Increase awareness of benefits of sourcing locally • Create awareness of ‘Slow Food Movement Ireland’ • Raise awareness of healthy eating • Promote networking between food, hospitality and tourism businesses • Promote ‘Signature Dishes’ in local eating establishments • Establish ‘Good Foods Circle’ with key reputable eating establishments • Develop tailored training for food, hospitality and tourism businesses • Develop ‘green’ accreditation scheme for food, hospitality and tourism businesses • Develop demonstration gardens and training programme to meet the demand for organic produce • Establish local food co-operatives • Establish local ‘Community Kitchen’ • Support and promote local Farmers’ markets Summary of advice given to participants from Mourne • Lobby and influence for necessary changes in current government policies • Carry out all monitoring objectively, independently and transparently Joanne McAlinden 21 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 23. Study Visit Costings Flavour of Tyrone £’s Transport 225.00 Lunch 140.00 ______ Total 365.00 County Leitrim £’s Transport 550.00 Guided Tour & Lunch 250.00 Accommodation & Dinner 1208.82 Room Hire 16.09 ‘Management Fee’ 80.44 Oarsman (Lunch) 264.20 _______ Total 2369.55 Grand Total £2734.55 Joanne McAlinden 22 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 24. APPENDIX 1 Mourne Rural Cultural Heritage Programme MOURNE BRANDING INITIATIVE Study Visit 1 : Flavour of Tyrone & Good Food Circle Date: 31st January 2008 Itinerary: Date Time Details Thursday 8.30am Departure from MHT office, Newcastle 31st Jan. 08 10.15am Quinn’s Corner – Dungannon, Co. Tyrone Briefing from Tourism Officer & Good Food Circle Co-ordinator 11.15am Otter Lodge – Cookstown, Co. Tyrone Brief on Good Food Circle membership 11.45am Tullylagan Country House Hotel – Cookstown, Co. Tyrone Briefing from Farmers Market Project Officer and Good Food Membership 12.45pm Stangmore Town House – Dungannon, Co. Tyrone LUNCH Address by Chair of Good Food Circle 2.15pm Grange Lodge – Dungannon, Co. Tyrone Demonstration & talk by Norah Brown Joanne McAlinden 23 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 25. APPENDIX 2 Mourne Rural Cultural Heritage Programme MOURNE BRANDING INITIATIVE Study Visit 2 : County Leitrim Dates: Wednesday 20th & Thursday 21st February 2008 Itinerary: Date Time Details Wednesday 8.30am Departure from MHT office, Newcastle 20th Feb. 08 11.30am The Greenbox – Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim Ireland’s first genuine ecotourism destination based on sound environmental practices highlighting all the region and its people have to offer. 1.00pm The Organic Centre – Rossinver, Co. Leitrim The Grass Roots Café LUNCH & TOUR Organisation providing public education, training and information about organic growing and sustainable living. Training programme offers workshops in artisian food production, organic horticulture & green building 3.45pm The Foodhub – Drumshambo, Co. Leitrim State of the art food specific enterprise centre of 14 individual food businesses units offering world class food production facilities. 7.30pm Ramada Lough Allan Hotel & Spa – Drumshambo, DINNER Joanne McAlinden 24 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 26. Thursday 8.30am BREAKFAST 21st Feb. 08 9.30am Departure from Ramada Hotel 10.00am Western Organics Network – The Market Yard, Carrick-On-Shannon, Co. Leitrim Organisation providing training course for organic farmers, smallholders, and small food producers in Ireland. 11.00am Carrick- On-Shannon Farmers’ Market Meet producers of organic fruit and vegetables, organic meat, fresh fish and homemade breads and cheese etc. 12.30pm The Oarsman Bar & Café – Carrick-On-Shannon, Co. Leitrim LUNCH Award winning restaurant and member of Féile Bia Quality Assured Programme 2.30pm Departure from Carrick-On-Shannon to Newcastle. Joanne McAlinden 25 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 27. APPENXIX 3 List of Delegates Study Visit - Good Food Circle & Flavour of Tyrone Sean Fitzpatrick MHT Trustee & Mourne Producer Noel Houston Mourne Producer Rosemary Johnston Diamonds Restaurant John Maculey Beach House B&B Myrtyl Maculey Beach House B&B Joanne McAlinden Rural Heritage Officer, Mourne Heritage Trust Edel O’Reilly Diamonds Restaurant Sean Rodgers Burrenwood Produce Kieran Swail GTT Consultancy Shirley Walker Southern Regional College Margaret Quinn Down District Council Study Visit 2 – County Leitrim Martin Carey Chief Executive Officer, Mourne Heritage Trust Patricia Collins Meelmore Lodge Bernadette Cunningham Mourne Producer Brendan Cunningham Mourne Producer Geraldine Fitzpatrick Mourne Producer / Farm Diversification Sean Fitzpatrick MHT Trustee & Mourne Producer Noel Houston Mourne Producer Joanne McAlinden Rural Heritage Officer, Mourne Heritage Trust Oisin Murnion Mourne Producer June Patterson Mourne Producer / Meelmore Lodge Kieran Swail Southern Regional College / GTT Consultancy Shirley Walker Southern Regional College Mairead White Cnocnafeola Centre Joanne McAlinden 26 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 28. APPENDIX 4 Mourne Rural Cultural Heritage Programme MOURNE BRANDING INITIATIVE Study Visit 2: County Leitrim Dates: Wednesday 20th & Thursday 21st February 2008 Name: 1. Please describe briefly your interest in the Mourne Branding Initiative (MBI). • Seeing how other companies run in different parts of Patricia Collins Ireland hoping to get other ideas in food and hospitality to see different things as a visitor opportunities in their different cultures. • I am interested in getting our produce branded as Bernadette Cunningham grown and produced in Mourne as hopefully it would attract local shoppers and also better prices. • I think it would be an advantage to have our beef and Brendan Cunningham lamb branded as Mourne Produce in the hope that it would encourage shoppers to buy our produce and maybe increase prices. • I believe that branding will help increase the sales Geraldine Fitzpatrick value of my produce. • As chairman of NIAPPA I am keenly interested in Sean Fitzpatrick branding. • Through this initiative I would like to see locally Noel Houston produced beef and lamb sold under a local brand name. • Marketing of raw meat. Oisin Murnion • To see how other companies run in different projects June Patterson of N.I. I could get new ideas that we could use. • I run and manage a budget accommodation centre in Mairead White the Mournes and I have a particular interest in seeing food at a reasonable cost, but good quality to our guests. Good local produce and wines. • SRC Newry is contracted to undertake a study to Shirely Walker assess the scope for branding Mourne produce and goods and to provide guidance and recommendations for a Mourne Branding Initiative Joanne McAlinden 27 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 29. 2. Please detail briefly your reason(s) for participating in the study visit. • To hope to get ideas different from our own, how they Patricia Collins work in both food and in hospitality. • By taking part in the study visit I hope to get ideas and Bernadette Cunningham tips on how best to sell our produce. • By taking part in the study visit I hope to get ideas and Brendan Cunningham tips on how best to sell our produce. • To see how branding initiative works. Geraldine Fitzpatrick • I would like to see how well the branding works and Sean Fitzpatrick the benefits in which it has. • It appears that there is a growing interest throughout Noel Houston the UK for organic produce therefore it would be useful to learn and understand how these food are economically produced with the current rising costs of oil based produce an awareness of the methods of the organic methods are the way to go. It is imperative that a strong marketing campaign would be set up in the market place to promote our products. Looking at a working environment could be used for benchmarking for the Mournes. • I am interested in looking for grant aid to vac-pack and Oisin Murnion cut beef. • To see how other places use local branding and get June Patterson good ideas as we are farm diversification project. We are always looking for something different • Learn more, meet people of similar interests, learn Mairead White from mistakes , learn for experience, look at ideas so that further development could happen, developing an eco-hospitality centre and implement more fully on responsible Mournes in policy. • To identify areas of best practice that would assist in Shirley Walker highlighting the way forward for the Mourne Branding Initiative Joanne McAlinden 28 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 30. 3. Please tick option(s) below that best describes the industry that you are currently involved: Agricultural Producer Beef & Lamb – Bernadette Cunningham Sheep & Lamb – Brendan Cunningham Beef & Lamb – Geraldine Fitzpatrick Beef & Lamb – Sean Fitzpatrick Beef, Lamb & potatoes – Noel Houston Beef & Lamb – Oisin Murnion Potatoes – June Patterson Farm Diversification Glenmore Farm – Patricia Collins Glenmore farms – June Patterson Food & Hospitality Meelmore Lodge – Patricia Collins Meelmore lodge café / hostel – June Patterson Budget Hostel – Mairead White Southern Regional College – Shirley Walker Other please state ___________ Joanne McAlinden 29 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 31. APPENDIX 5 RDC EVENT/ACTIVITY RECORD SHEET This registration sheet should be completed for each event and activity which is run as part of your RDC funded project. Title of Event Study Visit 1 – Flavour of Tyrone & Good Food Circle Date of Event 31st January 2008 Venue Quinn’s Corner, Dungannon Otter Lodge, Cookstown Tullylagan Country House Hotel, Cookstown Stangmore Town House, Dungannon Grange Lodge, Dungannon Purpose of To encourage local Mourne businesses to look at good the practice elsewhere and draw on best practice methods in Event/Activity establishing a successful regional marketing and branding initiative. Give a brief description of Participants on the study visit were able to engage with the outcomes individuals and businesses that have been involved in a of the event successful regional marketing and branding initiative. This was an excellent opportunity for networking and sharing ideas. The study visit provided an opportunity for participants from the Mourne area to meet each other for the first time and also to engage with the businesses in County Tyrone. Participants from Mourne were able to visualise how the Mourne and Slieve Croob Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) could potentially benefit from such an initiative. (see attached summary and points of interest from the visit) Joanne McAlinden 30 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 32. Who (a) Please estimate the number of participants who are participated at members/representatives of the target groups of the this event? Rural Development Programme Total number of 11 participants Participant Category Number of attendees Women 6 Young People <25 Farmers 3 Members of Farm Families 4 Long-term unemployed Disabled Pre-school children Wider rural community 5 (b) Please estimate the number of participants who are members/representatives of the target groups of the PEACE II Programme Total number of 11 participants Participant Category Number of attendees Displaced Persons Victims of Conflict and their families Ex-prisoners and their families Young people Women 6 Older Workers Others Please note that the total number of participants recorded at (a) should equal that recorded (b). Signed and Dated Event Organiser/Project worker: Joanne McAlinden Date: 6th February 2008 Joanne McAlinden 31 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 33. APPENDIX 6 RDC EVENT/ACTIVITY RECORD SHEET This registration sheet should be completed for each event and activity which is run as part of your RDC funded project. Title of Event Study Visit 2 – County Leitrim Date of Event 20th & 21st February 2008 Venue The Greenbox HQ – Manorhamilton The Organic Centre, Rossinver The Foodhub, Drumshambo Carrick-On-Shannon Farmers’ Market Purpose of To encourage local Mourne businesses to look at good the practice elsewhere and draw on best practice methods in Event/Activity establishing a successful marketing of local produce and a branding initiative. Give a brief description of Participants on the study visit were able to engage with the outcomes individuals, organisations and businesses that have been of the event involved in promoting use of local produce and successful regional marketing and branding initiatives. This was an excellent opportunity for networking and sharing ideas. The study visit provided an opportunity for participants from the Mourne area to meet each other for the first time and also to engage with organisations and businesses in County Leitrim. Participants from Mourne were able to visualise how the Mourne and Slieve Croob Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) could potentially benefit from promoting Mourne produce and branding initiatives. (see attached summary and points of interest from the visit) Joanne McAlinden 32 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 34. Who (c) Please estimate the number of participants who are participated at members/representatives of the target groups of the this event? Rural Development Programme Total number of 13 participants Participant Category Number of attendees Women 7 Young People <25 Farmers 8 Members of Farm Families 9 Long-term unemployed Disabled Pre-school children Wider rural community 11 (d) Please estimate the number of participants who are members/representatives of the target groups of the PEACE II Programme Total number of 13 participants Participant Category Number of attendees Displaced Persons Victims of Conflict and their families Ex-prisoners and their families Young people Women 7 Older Workers 4 Others Please note that the total number of participants recorded at (a) should equal that recorded (b). Signed and Dated Event Organiser/Project worker: Joanne McAlinden Date: 25th February 2008 Joanne McAlinden 33 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 35. APPENDIX 7 The ‘Flavour of Tyrone’ is a private sector led tourism group facilitated through Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council. It has a membership of 140+ including acommodation, attractions, activities, Good Food Circle, Craft, Farmers Market and training. The ‘Flavour of Tyrone’ Tourism Product has been defined as • Activity Tourism • Culture & Heritage • Festivals & Events • Food Tourism
  • 36. Signature Dishes The Good Food Circle promotes economic growth and sustainability by encouraging its members to utilise local produce. Members follow the principle of using local produce wherever possible and this is reinforced by the inclusion of a "Good Food Circle" signature dish on all members' menus, guaranteeing customers a true Flavour of Tyrone. Other activities promoted by The Good Circle: • Themed Nights • Training • Cookery Classes • Comment Cards Joanne McAlinden 35 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 37. APPENDIX 8 About Greenbox The Greenbox is emerging as Irelands' first genuine ecotourism destination with a set of standards based on sound environmental practices highlighting all that the region and its people has to offer. What is Ecotourism? Ecotourism is travel which is small scale, low impact, culturally sensitive, community orientated, primarily nature based, educational and capable of broadening peoples minds and enlivening their souls but providing a unique experience, firmly grounded in sustainable principles and practices. The Greenbox is Ireland What is the Greenbox? The Greenbox is Ireland's first integrated ecotourism destination. The area of the Greenbox includes Counties Fermanagh, Leitrim, West Cavan, North Sligo, South Donegal and North West Monaghan. A Quality Labelling System For Ecotourism in the Greenbox The Greenbox is a completely unique region and is a natural location for Ireland's first ecotourism destination. It boasts unique ecosystems, an unspoiled landscape, centres of learning such as The Organic Centre, a Geo Park (Marble Arch Caves,Co Fermanagh) and off shore islands of high conservation value such as Inishmurray Island in Donegal Bay. The geographic area is surrounded by water on all sides by the Shannon Erne Waterway, Lough Erne and The Atlantic Ocean. The region, which was once overshadowed by conflict, is now one of the most peaceful places in Ireland and nine years on from a peace agreement (The Belfast Agreement) the destination is in an ideal position to welcome tourists to visit. The unspoilt nature of the Greenbox has contributed to attracting a high concentration of “green” and ecotourism operators to the region. The Greenbox is working to develop these resources further and to create a world class ecotourism destination with a strong focus on raising ecotourism standards. This is being achieved through a model of tourism partnership and brings together representatives from many national, regional and local agencies. In addition many sound environmental enterprises, ecotourism products and community initiatives fall under the Greenbox umbrella. Responsible Tourism Ltd (Trading as Greenbox Ltd) is a cross border organisation in the Northwest of Ireland that has been set up to stimulate the Joanne McAlinden 36 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 38. development of ecotourism in the region. To achieve these ends we have facilitated the development of an ecotourism quality label that we hope will continue to strengthen the Greenbox brand, and which will defend the ethical values of existing Greenbox ecotourism promoters. In addition the label has been designed to guide visitors travel choices and help them to choose promoters of ecotourism products and the experiences they have on offer. Core to ecotourism and to the Greenbox philosophy is the concept of environmental sustainability and the label has been very much developed with this in mind, in order to ensure that the environmental impacts of Greenbox products are minimised. The label also encourages proactive nature conservation and the promotion of local cultural values, while at the same time developing our local economy and the long term viability of the Greenbox destination. The European Eco-label for tourist accommodation services and camp site services (The EU Flower) The European Eco-label for tourist accommodation service was created to reward accommodation services and tourists who respect the environment. It signals good environmental performance and gives an assurance of added quality for consumers choosing accommodation. Enterprises bearing the Flower Logo have officially been distinguished as being amongst the most environmentally friendly in their area. Why have the European Commission launched the EU Flower label for tourism? The Eco-label-scheme is a consequence of the EU "strategy of sustainable development" which has become a paramount objective of the European Union since the Amsterdam Treaty in 1997. Thus it integrates the three main pillars of sustainability: environment, society and economy. The global sustainable development process has evolved since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. The examination of a tourist accommodation service on its ecological benefits is performed by independent testers thus the EU Flowers high standard is guaranteed Europe wide. Joanne McAlinden 37 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 39. Where can I find more information? More information on the standard can be found at the dedicated EU Flower for tourist accommodation website: http://www.eco-label-tourism.com New Irish Ecotourism Packages in 2008 A range of eco breaks have been put together where you can immerse yourself in local culture, heritage and nature. Adrenalin junkies, creative types or those who just want to escape, enjoy bypassing the tourist trail to get away for a truly unique eco experience. Each eco break below offers a unique setting for learning and contribution to local conservation. • Pilgrim's Progress • Donegal Language School • Wilderness Therapy Sessions • Ireland Eco Tours • XTNW Eco Adventure Challenge • Mountain Bike away and Canoe Home • Environmental Film-making, Photography and Animation • The Organic Centre Experience • Breesy Centre Package • Blaney Spa and Yoga Centre • The Ard Nahoo Eco Retreat Experience • Creative Craft Activity Weekend • Family Breaks • Weekend Breaks with Friends • Out of Season Breaks • Going Underground Centres of Learning - Food • The Organic Centre • Belle Isle Cookery School • The Food Hub • Country Markets • UCC Food Industry Training Unit • The Western Organic Network Joanne McAlinden 38 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 40. Irish Centers for LifeLong Learning • Belle Isle School of Cookery • Erne Heritage Tours • Corralea Activity Centre • Field Study Centre Derrygonnelly • Lough Allen Education Centre • The Organic Centre • The Leitrim Sculpture Centre • Living Architecture Centre • The Western Organic Network • The Aughakillymaude Community Mummers • Ard Nahoo Health Farm Education for Health • Inish Rath Island • Leitrim Design House What is the Greenbox Network? The Greenbox Network is a new training & learning organisation which is based in the Greenbox area and is designed to help tourism enterprises reach the 'Green' standards which have been created by 'The Greenbox'. Obviously there's quite a lot to learn when it comes to making your business environmentally sound and the Greenbox network can help you get all the information you need with the minimal amount of time out from your business 'Network based approach to training will maximise the potential for learning...' The network meetings cover basic topics in relation to ecotourism and basic network policies such as how do we welcome new members etc. Become an Greenbox Network Member: Greenbox Network Membership Fees (fees are payable per annum) : Tourism Provider €135 / £97 Business Friend €135 / £97 Community & Education €85 / £61 Friend €35 / £25 Joanne McAlinden 39 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 41. FUNDERS CONTACT details: The Greenbox Park Rd Industrial Estate, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim, Ireland Tel: +353 71 9856898 Email: info@greenbox.ie Web: www.greenbox.ie Joanne McAlinden 40 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 42. APPENDIX 9 The Organic Centre The Organic Centre is a non profit organisation set up in 1995, with the aim of providing public education, training and information about organic growing and sustainable living. The Centre is located on a 19 acre site in Rossinver, Co Leitrim, Ireland, and we have outreach centres in Co. Clare and Co. Wicklow. We run workshops on organic horticulture, gardening, green building, alternative energy, and artisan food production, and we offer a year long organic horticulture training programme . The Centre is a recognised eco-tourism destination. Our facilities include: • Demonstration gardens & polytunnels • An orchard & soft fruit area with heritage varieties • A café using seasonal organic produce from our gardens • An eco-shop selling garden tools, books, seasonal vegetables, etc. The Grass Roof Café The Grass Roof Vegetarian Cafe at the Organic Centre is a unique dining experience. Surrounded by 10 acres of organic gardens, a plentiful supply of fresh produce is available to the cooks. With such high quality, and often hard to source, vegetables at their fingertips, the cooks create fresh and interesting dishes everyday of the week. The Grass Roof Cafe nourishes The Organic Centre staff and members of the public everyday of the week, and feeds the hungry souls who participate in our many and varied weekend workshops. The Café also hosts a weekly ‘béile gaeilge’ or Irish speaking lunch, every Tuesday. All Irish speakers, including beginners, are very welcome – cuir blas ar do theanga! Special themed events are regularly held through the year when multi course evening meals attract ‘foodies’ from miles around, and The Grass Roof Cafe also offers an outside catering service providing anything from a picnic to a banquet. Joanne McAlinden 41 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 43. Projects run by the Centre include: Community Food Project The Organic Centre re-launched its ‘Growing in Confidence’ Community Food Project in March 2007, with funding support from HSE West and the Department of Agriculture and Food. The project has now established 6 organic community gardens: In Sligo, at St. Michaels Family Life Centre and the Forthill Men’s Group at the Northside Community Centre; in Bundoran at Glor na Mora; in Riverstown at the Sligo Folk Park; in Rathcormac beside the old National School; and in Rossinver, at the Organic Centre. Participants, under the guidance of an experienced organic gardening mentor, learn to grow their own organic vegetables, and with the help of trained tutors, also learn to prepare and cook healthy, fresh produce. The project was initiated in 2004, in partnership with HSE West, and has involved parents managing a tight budget, asylum seekers, older people and people with disabilities. A comprehensive ‘How to’ manual for groups who wish to establish similar community garden projects was launched in Donegal Town, in July 2006, at a public event attended by the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan Community-based organic gardens not only help promote organic gardening skills and awareness of healthy eating, but also have a number of other benefits. There are health benefits from increased physical activity, and from consumption of fresh and affordable organic vegetables and fruit. Taking part in a community garden project is a very positive experience. It promotes social interaction and a great sense of shared achievement. It raises awareness of the environmental benefits of local organic food production, which generates fewer carbon emissions from ‘food miles’, and by using natural fertilizers and methods of weed and pest control, avoids the use of harmful chemicals. Generally, the project is a great encouragement to participants to continue growing organically for themselves, and in some cases, to consider growing commercially. Schools Project As part of our ‘Peace & Environment Programme’, we currently work with 6 primary schools in Enniskillen, Garrison and Rossinver. Experienced gardeners from The Organic Centre work with teachers and children in each of the schools to create an organic ‘kitchen garden’ growing vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers. The project promotes ‘eco-literacy’ within the context of the primary curriculum, and draws upon best practices in collaborative and self-directed learning. As well Joanne McAlinden 42 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 44. as learning to grow their own food, the weekly gardening sessions cover a wide range of environmental issues such as composting, recycling, and the interconnectedness of natural eco-systems. Most importantly, the children learn to work with nature, not against it. The project also involves cross-community sessions based at the Organic Centre, where children from both main religious communities engage in shared activities that further develop their environmental awareness. The schools also come together for a shared harvest celebration. Understanding the importance of natural bio-diversity and inter-connectedness can be a very effective way for children to learn the value of religious and cultural diversity. Peace & Environment Project The Organic Centre is at the forefront of using gardening as a tool for peace and reconciliation in Ireland. With funding from the EU, we manage a cross-border community gardening project where people from both religious traditions work together, growing their own fruit and vegetables. Gardening is an excellent context in which to develop positive relationships between people who otherwise may have few opportunities to meet. A community garden provides a non- threatening setting to develop cooperation and mutual understanding. A team of Organic Centre garden mentors support 12 community gardens within the border counties of Leitrim, Donegal and Fermanagh. They also work with local primary schools, taking pupils through all the stages of seed sowing, planting out, maintenance, harvesting and cooking of produce. Cooking together also provides an important context in which to build peace. A harvest celebration takes place in September of each year of the project where project participants from both schools and community come together to celebrate their achievements and cook what they have grown. Adult participants include asylum seekers, women’s groups, and people with disabilities. We will be publishing a ‘Best Practice Guide’ in relation to using gardening as a method for promoting peace and reconciliation. The Guide and complementary video will be launched at a national conference. Joanne McAlinden 43 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 45. FUNDERS • Department of Agriculture and Food • FAS • Pobal • Border Action (EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation) • International Fund for Ireland • HSE West • Interreg • Cooperation Ireland • County Leitrim Partnership • County Leitrim Enterprise Board CONTACT details: The Organic Centre, Rossinver, Co. Leitrim, Ireland. Telephone: +353 71 985 4338 Email: info@theorganiccentre.ie Website: www.theorganiccentre.ie Promoting organic horticulture, gardening & sustainable living, through training, demonstration & community projects The Organic Centre Ltd is a registered non-profit taking Company Limited by Guarantee. Company Registered No.233736, at Companies Registration Office, Parnell Square, Dublin 1. The Company has Charitable Status (CHY 11547). Organic Trust Symbol Holder: No. 151. Joanne McAlinden 44 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 46. APPENDIX 10 THE FOOD HUB – OUR BACKGROUND …… A Home for Food Production Drumshanbo Co. Leitrim is home to a world class state of the art food production facility called The Food Hub. The premise were originally home to the well known Lairds jam factory in the 1980s and was taken over by the Kepak Group during the 1990s. The company’s closure in 1998 meant a loss of 100 jobs in the community, the premises lay idle underscoring a lack of employment growth and economic development in the area. Drumshanbo County Council took the opportunity to restore the premises as an state of the art food specific enterprise centre of 14 individual food business units offering world class food production facilities not only unique to the area but as one-of-its kind in the country. World Class Food Production Facility Years of planning, research and funding applications resulted in the financial backing of key stakeholders such as International Fund for Ireland, Arigna LEADER, Clár, Enterprise Ireland, Interreg IIIA, Leitrim County Enterprise Board and the Leitrim County Council Taskforce Peace II funding. The final result is impressive, a 14 unit world class food production facility fully compliant with environmental health regulations which is now open to interested parties. More than a Production Facility Recognising that potential clients may need assistance to get up and running or to make a transition from their existing premises to The Food Hub, on site expertise is available to ensure a smooth transition for potential clients. The following on-site supports are available to tenants: • Food Technologist • Business Plan Consultant • Marketing Support • Origin Farmer’s Market Showcase • Community Kitchen CONTACT details: The Food Hub Carrick Road, Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim Tel: +353 71 9641848 Email:info@thefoodhub.com Joanne McAlinden 45 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 47. APPENDIX 11 Western Organics Network (WON) organise training courses for organic farmers, smallholders, and small food producers in Ireland. Participants include those aspiring to convert to organic production, and experienced organic producers who want to improve their skills or diversify into new areas. The increasing consumer demand for local organic produce through box schemes, shops, restaurants and farmers’ markets means there is an urgent need – and a great opportunity – to increase supply in the region. Through our programme of courses, we are aiming to increase production and encourage producers to take advantage of new market opportunities. We are also involved in developing local food networks to co-ordinate and link producers with restaurants, markets and retailers. WON works closely with key organic organisations including Leitrim Organic Farmers' Co-op, The Organic Centre, Northwest Organic and Atlantic Organics. The Western Organic Network Accel Project is funded by member companies, the European Social Fund and the National Development Plan. Our Training We organise training courses for organic producers, smallholders, and small food producers in Ireland. Participants include those aspiring to convert to organic production, and experienced organic producers who want to improve their skills or diversify into new areas The increasing consumer demand for local organic produce through box schemes, shops, restaurants and farmers' markets means there is an urgent need and a great opportunity to increase supply in the region. Through our programme of courses, we are aiming to increase production and encourage producers to take advantage of new market opportunities Check the Course Calendar for scheduled dates and locations. In addition to those specified, courses can be run in other locations if there is sufficient demand. Course can also be 'moved' from one county to another if it appears participants are mainly located in a different county, in order to reduce travel time and costs for the majority. Feel free to call or email us with your queries or suggestions! Joanne McAlinden 46 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 48. Training Programme Business Skills Integrating Forestry with Organic Farms Organic Horticulture Cheese Making Introduction to Alternative Energy Organic Pig Production Computerised Farm Accounts Introduction to Bee Keeping Organic REPs Computer Training Introduction to Farmers' Markets Organic Salad Production Conversion to Organics Introduction to Organic Farming Organic Livestock Autumn Crop Planning Introduction to Organic Medicinal Plant Seminar Cut Herb Production Growing Organic Livestock Spring Desk Top Publishing Livestock - Grassland & Soil Management Seminar Farm Accounts Livestock - Veterinary Management Pest, Disease & Weed Control Fruit Crop Management Machinery for Horticulture Polytunnel Erection Hedgelaying Marketing Skills for Organic Producers Protected Cropping Homeopathy for Animals MSc/PGDip in Organic Farming Train The Trainer Organic Egg Production Vegetable Crop Profiles Vegetable Box Design Since its inception, the Western Organic Network has been strongly involved in promoting markets for its members. In 2005 the network set up The Carrick-on- Shannon Farmers market which operates every Thursday from 10 am to 2 pm in the market yard Carrick on Shannon. Product range includes Organic Fruit and Vegetables, Organic meat, Fresh Fish and Homemade breads, cheese etc. The Western Organic Network has been involved in setting up the Roscommon Farmers market which is a purpose built market with semi permanent shelters. The market has a diverse range of products. It runs each Friday from 10am-2pm and is situated beside Glessons Townhouse off the main square. Members of the network also sell their produce through the following Farmers' Markets Boyle Co Roscommon Saturday 10-2pm Sligo Co Sligo Saturday 9am-1pm Manorhamilton Co Leitrim Friday 10am-2pm Longford Co Longford Friday 10am -2pm Ballinasloe Co Galway Friday 10am-2pm Letterkenny Co Donegal Winter Last Friday every month Summer Each Friday Ballybofey Co Donegal Coming Soon Athlone Co Westmeath Saturdays Mullingar Co Westmeath Sundays 1st Sunday of the Joanne McAlinden 47 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 49. Native Cattle Breeding Programme The Western Organic Network is launching a pilot project in the North West for organic beef farmers to commence a breeding programme to preserve and enhance the numbers of native breeds in Ireland. The breeding programme to be developed will include assistance towards the cost of purchasing brood stock and training farmers on managing the breed in terms of • Enhancing breed quality and status. • Animal welfare • Biodiversity planning for each farm • Maintaining suitable grazing practices that reflect traditional grazing patterns and maintain field & hedgerow diversity • Monitoring and recording on a daily basis breed activity with emphasis on ability of native traditional breeds and their progeny to thrive on poorer quality rough grassland and withstand pests & diseases (eg liver fluke) that are endemic to the West of Ireland. To ensure economic viability of the rare breeds, a feasibility study of developing a niche market in rare breed meat sales will be undertaken. Contact us for further information. Organic Broiler Production The Western Organic Network have been successful in receiving funding for a feasibility study on the viability of a establishing a network of organic broiler growers to supply a local market. A feasibility grant has been awarded from The Leitrim County Enterprise Board to investigate the project. The study will investigate the viability of setting up a network of 8-10 farmers that will grow batches of 300-500 chickens to supply an existing market. The study involves looking at costings, housing, and the production of high end organic products that would be marketed as a niche product. The issues of processing will also be considered. Contact us for further information Joanne McAlinden 48 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 50. Key Partners Regional & National Development Organisations Leitrim Organic Farmers’ Co-op Western Development Commission The Organic Centre Dept of Agriculture North West Organic Teagasc ACCEL Training County Leitrim Partnership Greenbox Organic organisations ‘Foodie’ organisations Organic Trust 315 Network IOFGA Slow Food Demeter Terra Madre Atlantic Organics Euro-Toques Rossinver Bord Bia Soil Association Organic & Green Guide Contact details: Western Organics Network The Enterprise Centre Hill Road Drumshambo Co. Leitrim Tel: +353 71 9640688 http://www.westernorganicnetwork.com Joanne McAlinden 49 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008
  • 51. APPENDIX 12 The Oarsman Bar and Cafe moved into a new era when Conor and Ronan Maher took over the property in 2002. Their goal is to create a hospitality business where service, quality, value for money and consistency are always the focus. The brothers are sons of Tom and Rosaleen Maher of the renowned Country house "Hollywell" in Carrick-on-Shannon and are the seventh Generation of their family in the hospitality Industry. They bring together a wealth of experience and knowledge gained in Ireland and abroad. Their sister Claire has recently rejoined the team and brings a wealth of experience and dedication to The Oarsman. The Food Our food is carefully sourced, prepared and presented and we are delighted to be members of the Féile Bia Quality Assured Programme which ensures all meat and dairy products are fully traceable. Awards & Guides * National Pub of the Year 2005 - Georgina Campbell's Jameson The Guide * Bridgestone Guides 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland 2007 * Michelin 'Eating out in Pubs Guide' 2007 * The Guardian Newspaper Guide 2005- 150 of the best gastropubs in the UK and the Republic of Ireland * Chablis Moreau Fish Awards – 2005 * Georgina Campbells 6 of the best Great Pubs of Character - Food and Wine Magazine - November 2003 * Georgina Campbells Best of the Best Jameson Guide Ireland 2007 * Timeout Eating and Drinking in Great Britan and Ireland Guide 2004 * Tom Doorley,s 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland 2006 CONTACT DETAILS Bridge Street, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim Tel: +353 71 962 1733 Web: www.theoarsman.com Joanne McAlinden 50 Rural Heritage Officer – March 2008