Sustainable food heroes to be honoured in Cork

Cork is set to honour its sustainable food heroes as an inner city community unveiled an ambitious regeneration plan which includes growing their own food.

Sustainable food heroes to be honoured in Cork

The Cork Food Policy Council (CFPC) invited applications last night for its 2018 Food Award Scheme which will recognise food producers in the region who go the extra mile to promote healthy and sustainable food practices.

CFPC chairman, Dr Colin Sage, a senior geography lecturer at UCC and an international expert in food policy and food security, said as well as acknowledging the work of those producers, it is hoped to encourage others to follow suit.

“With one in 10 people in Cork experiencing food poverty, addressing these food system issues has become even more important,” he said.

“The award scheme will recognise those who 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.”

Launching the awards, Lord Mayor Cllr Tony Fitzgerald said: “We want to acknowledge, recognise and encourage those who go that extra mile when it comes to sustainable food practices.”

The CFPC’s inaugural awards scheme last year attracted over 40 applications.

This year applicants, who must be Cork-based, are invited to enter four categories — private business, non-profit organisations, educational institutions, and a new category for primary and secondary schools.

Aoíbh Guthrie with Lucy O’Connor, Musgrave, and Keelin Tobin, Cork Food Policy Council, at the Knocknaheeney/Holyhill Garden
Aoíbh Guthrie with Lucy O’Connor, Musgrave, and Keelin Tobin, Cork Food Policy Council, at the Knocknaheeney/Holyhill Garden

The CFPC, the first of its kind in Ireland and one of the first in Europe, is a partnership between representatives of the community sector, food retailing, farming, fishing, the restaurant and catering sector, food markets, education, environmental and health agencies and local authorities who work together towards a fairer, healthier and more sustainable food system.

Meanwhile, details of the South Parish “genesis” urban regeneration plan have been unveiled.

Supported by the CFPC, the HSE and the city council, the wide-ranging plan includes extensive urban greening programmes, the development of community gardens, improvements to the public realm, the development of festivals and the integration of a new architectural college into the area.

Local Independent Cllr Mick Finn said it marks the start of a transformative process that will see the historic South Parish area regain its prominence as a place to live, work and visit.

“It could be akin to a leafy French suburb, with architecture students in the area’s latest educational establishment to open next September — on the famous site of Nano Nagle’s first community — designing its future while living and studying in the area,” he said.

“A new garden cafe will add to the fine network of cafes, shops and pubs on Douglas Street which has massive potential to be one of Cork’s finest quarters.”

But he said the city council will have to step up to the plate to support the plans.

Details on how to enter the CFPC awards are available on its Facebook page, CorkFoodPolicyCouncil. The winners will be announced on January 9 next.

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