Cork Food Harvest Festival, Report from the Coordinator
The first Cork Food Harvest Festival held by Cork Food Policy Council took place over the weekend of October 6th, 7th and 8th, celebrating the wealth of community food and growing initiatives across Cork. The festival commenced on Friday evening with a screening of the film Dirt! The Movie, followed by a Q&A. On the Saturday, 14 venues played host to a schedule of free events, tours, workshops, talks, demonstrations and tastings around the city and county. These initiatives provided opportunities for the public to come and learn about food – how to grow it, cook it, share it and enjoy it.
The festival culminated with a free family day in Fitzgerald’s Park on Sunday Oct. 8th. This included a World Food Day Feast which was served to over 700 people. Food was sourced from growing projects across the city that generously donated some of their season’s harvest, vegetables kindly donated from Total Produce wholesalers, and surplus food which would otherwise be wasted provided by redistribution charity FoodCloud. This melange of ingredients was cooked in the production kitchen of the Quay Co-op, thanks to Arthur Leahy who obliged further by transporting the food to the park that day. Eoin McCuirc coordinated an enthusiastic team of capable volunteers who began cooking at 8am on Sunday morning. Meanwhile, at the park, preparations began for the creation of displays and stands on the theme of harvest.
Groups from across Cork showcased their produce and provided activities throughout the day. Knocknaheeny/Hollyhill Community Garden organised a seed saving workshop and pumpkin carving which was a big hit with young children. Jo Goodyear took members of the public on a foraging walk around Fitzgerald’s Park. Many participants are sure to view the public park with a new set of eyes after the experience! Future Orchard Trust combined apples grown all over Cork and pressed them on site for visitors to come and enjoy. Composting Guru Donal O’ Leary was on hand to answer queries pertaining to home composting. Down to Earth Materials donated fully compostable bowls, spoons and napkins for participants to enjoy the vegetable chilli that provided a World Food Day celebratory feast.
UN World Food Day is October 16th 2017 and this year’s theme is Change the Future of Migration – Invest in Food Security and Rural Development. With thanks to the Garda Community Bus, asylum seekers living in four direct provision centres in Cork attended the food harvest celebration in Fitzgerald’s Park. Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald, the Lady Mayoress Georgina Fitzgerald, and their two daughters Michelle and Deborah took part, serving portions of the chilli to the people of Cork.
Additionally, Food Historian Regina Sexton, Organic Grower Kitty Scully, and Head of Community Development at GIY Karen O’ Donohue gave fascinating talks in the Museum in Fitzgerald’s Park. Musical entertainment added to the atmosphere of conviviality. Music Generation, Cork Academy of Music, Cork City Samba Band, Shandon Ukulele Orchestra and ‘Ukidukes’ students from St John’s N.S. Girls Carrigaline ensured that those queueing for chilli were kept entertained. Louise Harrington provided harvest themed facepainting for children. The rain held off which meant that this was a pleasant autumn Sunday outdoors for families.
Use of kitchen equipment on loan from Bernard Hurley, Head Chef in CIT was another valuable element that made the day a great success. Its transportation was a feat facilitated by the loan of a van and obliging individuals willing to do a good turn. These are Cork’s “early risers”, volunteers who showed up at 7 and 8am on a Sunday and Monday morning. Volunteers were recruited from far and wide to undertake this event. Their contribution was immense. We are proud of what can be achieved collaboratively. Cork Food Policy Council is a partnership that has been formed to work towards the achievement of a fairer, healthier, more secure and sustainable food system within the city and throughout the region. Cork Food Policy Council seeks to reduce the environmental footprint of food, supporting resilient, food-friendly communities, lifelong learning and skills, and promoting health and wellbeing for all. We would like to express thanks to everyone who attended and supported our inaugural food harvest festival.
To download the flyer click CFPC Harvest Festival flyer
To download the poster click CFPC Harvest Festival poster
For more information contact Keelin Tobin, Cork Food Policy Council Co-ordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org