Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. Des Cahill officially launched the Cork Food Policy Council (CFPC) inaugural Sustainable Food Awards at Cork City Hall on Thursday January 19th at 6.15pm.
The awards ceremony recognised projects that support the important position and value that food has within the city and county, acknowledging that food has the capacity to improve our health, strengthen communities, and make the local economy and ecological systems more resilient. Over 40 applications were received to this inaugural awards scheme from a range of food-related projects in the education, not for profit and commercial sectors. Applicants that meet the criteria set out by the Cork Food Policy Council will receive a Certificate of Recognition and a winner from each of the categories will receive a Certificate of Excellence at the ceremony.
Successful applicants were awarded the 2017 Cork Food Policy Council Certificate of Recognition at the special event. Excellence awards were presented to the Horticultural Training Unit at Bessborough, Lettercollum Kitchen, a Clonakilty-based organic shop where the food is grown in a Victorian walled garden, and Churchfield Community Trust, a community development project that helps substance-misuse victims in receive training in horticulture.
The Cork Food Policy Council is a non-statutory group of food system representatives working towards an inclusive, fairer, healthier and more sustainable food system. Founded in 2013, the Cork Food Policy Council has pioneered innovative approaches to bring food systems thinking into the city, at both local and policy levels. It is the very first of its kind in Ireland and one of the first in Europe. It is a partnership between representatives of the community sector, food retailing, farming, fishing, restaurant/catering, food markets, education, environmental and health agencies and local authorities and the aim shared by all stakeholders is to combine knowledge and experience from each sector to work communally towards a fairer, healthier and more sustainable food system for all in Cork.
‘A vast array of innovative and exciting applications were received from each of the three categories; private, non-profit and educational.’ said Dr Colin Sage, Chair of the CFPC. ‘We want to acknowledge, recognise and encourage those who go that extra mile when it comes to sustainable food practices’ he concludes.
With 1 in 10 people in Cork experiencing food poverty addressing these food system issues has become even more important. These awards will recognise the people and groups in the county that have been working to improve our local food system and are at the frontline of addressing these urgent issues.
Cork; ‘the Food Capital of Ireland’, has a strong culture of food, linked both to its past history and present activities. Rural areas surrounding Cork are well known for support of local growing, production and consumption, and the city itself brings food to its heart through its markets, restaurants and artisan foods. Farmer’s markets and Country Markets are found in most towns across the county and with a diverse selection of local food producers. Cork’s strong food culture has become a major pull factor for tourism within the region and a valuable contributor to the economy.