Mayor leads call for community involvement in city’s hosting of major international food event
Cllr Jack Walsh, Mayor of Waterford, has urged local people and – in particular – the community and voluntary sector to come on board to support the city’s hosting in September of Terra Madre Ireland, a major food festival expected to attract over 1,000 delegates to the city – including some of the leading chefs in Ireland and the UK.
Speaking at a Terra Madre Ireland briefing at Waterford City Hall, the Mayor said Waterford has a long tradition of uniting to achieve results. “We saw what a concerted community effort could achieve three years ago when we successfully hosted the Tall Ships’ Races while we’ve also seen numerous examples over the years of the city rallying to worthy causes.
“Given this, I am confident that the organisers of Terra Madre Ireland will have no difficulty in attracting individual volunteers and community groups to support them with particular strands of work up to and during the event on September 4-7.
“This event has great potential to showcase all that’s best about Waterford and the southeast and can leave a rich legacy for the numerous food producers providing quality food here. From a regional perspective, I am particularly pleased that a very inclusive cross-region approach is being taken by the organisers so as to ensure that all five counties of the southeast benefit from the event.”
The centrepiece of Terra Madre Ireland is a world-class one day food policy conference with up to 50 workshops and demonstrations at Waterford Institute of Technology. Other events included in the programme include an eight-course banquet at the College Street campus of Waterford Institute of Technology; an all-island farmers and local produce market in the city centre; a range of food activities in the Terra Madre marquee at John Roberts Square; novelty sports and a healthy picnic for children in the People’s Park; Agri Aware activities at Ballybricken; music recitals in the Large Room at City Hall; samplings and tastings; bus tours to artisan food producers in the surrounding counties; picnics and local cultural entertainment on the banks of the rivers Blackwater, Barrow, Nore, Suir and Slaney.
Celebrity chefs expected in Waterford for Terra Madre Ireland include Richard Corrigan; Ross Lewis; Nick Price; Neven Maguire; Darina Allen; Denis Cotter; Rachel Allen; Paul Flynn and Kevin Dundon. There will also be demonstrations by experts on cheese- and cider- making; beekeeping; curing and butchery skills; food smoking; sausage- and bread-making. There will also be tastings and sampling for wine lovers and a chance to experience Ireland’s finest micro-breweries and liqueur producers.
Chair of the Waterford organising committee, Donal Lehane, said that the Italian-originated Terra Madre formula of gathering food producers; chefs; nutritionists; scientists; academics; civil servants; buyers; regulators; medics; politicians and writers in an assembly open to the public has proved effective in many countries in changing policies and fostering new food enterprises and employment.
“Terra Madre literally means ‘mother earth’ and is all about bringing together people who need to work together but too often don’t have the opportunity to. Food has the potential to create thousands of new jobs here in the southeast region – jobs that can be sustained over time as the trend towards safer food produced locally continues to develop. Communities working together can make a real difference to the region’s socioeconomic development while eating locally-sourced produce also contributes to health and wellbeing.
“The Piedmont region around Turin in Italy provides a tremendous template of what can be achieved and we are equally ambitious for the southeast of Ireland. As the Mayor has noted, community participation is one of the essential ingredients for success so we would encourage neighbourhood celebrations and street parties where local residents of all generations share fresh local food during September 4-7.”
A festival office for Terra Madre Ireland has been set-up at 14 Lombard Street, Waterford with Karen Devereux installed as manager and Celline McCormack as administrator. More details on the event and how you can get involved are available on www.terramadreireland.com. Alternatively, call 051-860035 or fax 051-860036.
Media contact: Brian Nolan, Bance Nolan Ltd – (051) 845403;
Photos: John Power – (086) 8797525.