Welcome to Part I of The Munchies 2019, in which The Menu salutes some of the heroes and achievements of 2019. (Next week, Part II.)
Food Book of the Year
GIY’s Know-It-Allmanac: The Ultimate Family Guide toGrowing & Cooking Food Throughout the Year, byMichael Kelly and Muireann Ní Chíobháin, illustrated by Fatti Burke (published by GIY)
First impressions are guided by the already-iconic style of illustrator Burke (Irelandopedia, etc), a bright, bubbly, and most compelling visual introduction, but it would be nothing without the immensely child-friendly delivery of the text, a highly entertaining melange of growing information, tips, cooking ideas, food trivia, factoids, and related craft projects, all broken down into easily digestible nuggets.
Nuggets they may be but cumulatively they form a bedrock of serious knowledge.
Each month, there is a seasonally relevant growing guide covering produce — in season and to be planted — and other gardening jobs and potentially complex growing concepts and techniques are explained simply.
This has the potential to empower our children’s future food choices in a way that we have been failing to do for almost four decades.
Food Organisation of the Year
The Menu is a very strong supporter of the Irish farmer and always notes the paltry rewards they receive in comparison to all the other stakeholders in the Irish agri-biz sector, specifically, the processors, the giant retailers, and the State.
Talamh Beo focuses on the weakest of the already greatly weakened — small farmers, growers, and producers operating on such a small scale very often don’t even qualify for subsidies, grants, andfarming education under the current system.
Talamh Beo’s community-led ethos is about creating a better food system, providing healthy, nutritious, and affordable local food for all on this island and to ‘farm in ways which benefit and restore natural ecosystems and build soils, leaving the land better than when we started,’ and to put the culture back into agriculture.
This fledgling organisation has the potential to grow into a truly important champion for the modern farming community and build a genuine resilience into the food system, one in which we are currently and very dangerously lacking.
Farmer’s Marketof the Year
The Irish network of farmers’ markets has proven an invaluable champion for small speciality producers, farmers, and growers over the last two decades but distance and unsuitable operating times remain as stumbling blocks for many potential and otherwise willing consumers.
Founded by Jack ‘Rocketman’ Crotty and Martin Poucher, Neighbourfood allows consumers to order online and collect their shopping from a fixed collection point on one pre-arranged evening a week. Success has been sure and steady with 14 markets in Ireland and 10 in Britain; that number is growing all the time.
What’s more, all products available are grown or produced by local farmers and growers and sale of large-scale commercially grown veg, non-organic imported fruit or vegetables, genetically modified products, intensively reared meat, imported fish or battery eggs is not permitted, ensuring this is food of the very highest quality.