Introduction: John McCormick, Northern Ireland Trustee, Soil Association
John framed the background for the Northern Ireland Sustainable Food Communities project by setting it in the context of the Soil Association’s new strategy, The Road to 2020.
Community Growing Initiatives: A panel discussion
John McCormick chaired a panel of three allotment managers to share their varied experiences. Maurice Patton of Ards Allotments, a private sector scheme, Craig Somerville, from the National Trust and Stephen Daye of Carrickfergus Borough Council, which hosts the largest allotments space in Northern Ireland, described the many benefits of community growing for the increasing numbers of people who want to ‘grow their own’.
Good Food is in our Nature: Michele Shirlow, CEO, FoodNI
Michele described the campaigns she has led at FoodNi to promote the high quality local food products that have been developed by many of the leading producers in Northern Ireland.
Local Food Supplies – the box scheme: Ben Craig, Root and Branch Organic
Ben’s presentation traced the development of his company’s success, illuminating the importance of social wellbeing and environmental responsibilities alongside the more conventional business values
What makes a great Food Market?: Malcolm Veigas, Assistant Director, Bolton Council
Malcolm’s vivid account of the development of the Food Market in Bolton was an inspiration to all similar ventures and demonstrated why the Council won the Radio 4 Food and Farming Award in 2011 as the best food market in the UK.
Sustainable Food in Restaurants: A conversation with three top chefs
Food writer Barbara Collins led a conversation with three of Belfast’s leading chefs – Nick Price, Barry Emerson and Niall McKenna. Belfast is beginning to carve a reputation as a great city in which to eat, due in no small part to these restaurateurs, all of whom have based their cooking on fresh, local, seasonal produce, much of it organic.
Tackling Food Waste: Ian Garner, Northern Ireland manager, WRAP
Ian’s presentation told the story behind WRAP’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign and how it is striving to change consumer behaviour around food waste.
Good Food for All: Jenny Collins, Soil Association
Jenny traced the history of the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark, from its early successes in transforming school meals to its widespread adoption by other organisations today.
Reflections from the Assembly Speaker: Francie Molloy MLA, Principal Deputy Speaker
In presenting the bronze Catering Mark award to Eurest, caterers at Parliament Buildings, Francie Molloy talked about the importance of food production within the local economy and how pleased he is that the Assembly becomes the first institution in the country to attain the sustainability standards represented by the Catering Mark.
A Sustainable Food Communities Network: Jim Kitchen, Soil Association (NI)
Jim explained the environmental, social and economic contexts for the project, how it will contribute to the Soil Association’s nationwide network of Sustainable Food Cities and how other organisations can contribute to a Northern Ireland network to foster the growth of sustainable food.