Bottoms Up

16 Sep 2008

The lively and inclusive All-Island Policy Conference held on September 5 at the inaugural Terra Madre Ireland 2008 event in Waterford, hosted by Slow Food Ireland, is continuing in an online discussion until the end of October.

This historic day for Irish food production saw over forty subjects debated in individual workshops chaired by experts in the field. The topics – ranging from the future of Irish beef and other primary products to edible school gardens, fishing, and labeling – created energetic and pro-active discussion among participants who together formulated a list of actions they would undertake if they were ‘Minister for a Day’.

In the morning hundreds of farmers, breeders, artisan producers, chefs, nutritionists, educators, students, representatives from NGOs and producer associations discussed proposals at each workshop and that afternoon presented their ideas to Northern Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Michelle Gildernew, and Trevor Sargent, Ireland’s Minister for Food.

‘Terra Madre Ireland was a celebration of our local food and our traditions and an opportunity to listen, learn and contribute to debate and policy-making for the future, gathering the opinions that are not usually heard – be they from a mother or a father, a food producer or chef”, said Darina Allen, Slow Food Ireland Chairperson.

Jane Murphy, goat cheese maker from County Cork, found the day very useful and commented that by dividing the workshops by sectors or issue, ‘everyone had an opportunity to speak, and the proposals we put forward were very representative’.

‘I participated in the Artisan Dairy workshop and we presented the Ministers with several proposals, including a request to review European Union regulation concerning raw milk and to recognize and undertake more research on promoting the characteristics and health benefits of locally produced dairy products,’ said Murphy.

The proposals have been published on the Terra Madre Ireland online Discussion Forum. Topics are open for comment until the end of October, after which the final conclusions and proposals will be published in the book Terra Madre Ireland, Waterford, 2008.

This publication will be presented to Government Ministers in the New Year, and will also be available to researchers and policy makers, regionally, nationally and internationally.

To participate in the online discussion click here

To see photographs of the event, read more reports and listen to the Agricultural Ministers speeches to workshops delegates visit:

Click here to view the Nationwide TV program coverage of Terra Madre Ireland

Bess Mucke

[email protected]

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