New initiative aiming to make Kilkenny Ireland’s top foodie destination
By COLIN BARTLEY
KILKENNY is bidding to become Ireland’s strongest local food economy and food culture hub.
Kilkenny Food Vision 2020- 2025: “Add 3 Ingredients” is a new local initiative aimed at increasing the amount of local food and beverages on menus and retail shelves in the county, growing local food consumption by 30% over the next three to five years.
The strategy proposes Kilkenny sets up Ireland’s first-ever food verification system which would be guided by the principles of the highly-successful Canadian-based foodservice certification program Feast On, which recognises businesses committed to sourcing Ontario-grown and made food and drink.
The initiative proposes the creation of a Food Development Office to drive the objectives and the creation of a distinctive Kilkenny Food Brand.
Kilkenny Food Vision will support new and growing food enterprises and the vibrant local food industry, while developing more markets, pop-ups and festival-focused retailing.
The Food Vision development process involved over 70 local stakeholder inputs, initially led and supported by a partnership of the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Kilkenny and Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP). It maps the pathway for growth of the local sector in Kilkenny city and county and the surrounding hinterland over the next three to five years.
The Food Vision’s pathway will be a “first in Ireland.” Kilkenny has sought the experience of Rebecca Mackenzie, the CEO of Ontario Canada’s Feast On, a programme she says brought real commercial success to the Ontario food community. Rebecca will visit Kilkenny next weekend.
Commenting ahead of her visit, Rebecca said: “It’s exciting to see a community work collaboratively towards a plan that is focused on building local food systems and supporting small to medium-sized businesses.
“Taste of place is top of mind to travellers and a solid plan to advance the food and beverage offerings in Kilkenny will support both the community and the visitor experience.”
The Kilkenny Food Vision 2020-2025: “Add 3 Ingredients” will be launched as part of the Savour Kilkenny Festival of Food at 6pm on Thursday, October 24, at Kilkenny’s Butler House.