Food for the Future conference in Kinsale College

Posted on: 9th May, 2016

Category: Food & Wine

Contributor: West Cork People

Above: Maeve O'Connor (event organiser), Donal Chamers (Permaculture Course Director) and Eoin O'Callaghan (grower and teacher) are keen to welcome West Cork foodies to the conference.

Kinsale College and Transition Town Kinsale will together host a one-day conference entitled ‘Food for the Future’ on Friday, May 27.

The event is being hosted by the Permaculture/ Sustainable Horticulture faculty of the college, which for the past decade has attracted students from all over the world who want to learn practical skills for sustainable living.

Course Director Donal Chambers says, “this conference is an opportunity to celebrate and debate some of the main issues relating to this important element of human life that sustains and connects us all – food!”

There will be a focus on how food is the basis of individual and community health; the role of food in community collaboration and rural regeneration; how food can form a basis for sustainable livelihoods and employment; addressing the issues of food waste and redistribution; ensuring food security and dignity.

This event comes at an important time where debate and decision-making on the important issue of food production is high on the agenda, at both national and EU level. Food is becoming ever more recognised as something that is deeply related to human and environmental health; food is central to community wellbeing, resilience, rural regeneration and opportunities for employment.

With this conference, the college is hoping to reach out to people in the wider community who have an interest in food production, to provide knowledge and a platform for robust debate from a range of differing opinions.

The morning session will consist of a panel of interesting topics and inspiring speakers: Suzie Cahn, an experienced permaculture designer and teacher, will speak on the topic of permaculture, empowerment and co-operation; Paul McCormick, a specialist in growing fruit and nut trees, will give a presentation on growing tree crops in Ireland; Dr. Colin Sage, of UCC and the Cork Food Policy Council, will speak on the topic of Food Security with Dignity; Eoin McCuirc, of Food Cloud and Bia Food Initiative, will speak about the important issue of Food Waste and Distribution; Bernadette Connolly of the Cork Environmental Forum will speak about the power of food consumer shopping choices, and how food consumers can realise and appreciate their power; Klaus Harvey, representing Transition Town Kinsale, will present the history of Transition Town Kinsale’s involvement in community food projects; Rob Hopkins, of Transition Network, speaking to the conference via Skype from his home in Totnes, will look into how Local Food is a Catalyst for the New Economy.

The afternoon session will consist of a facilitated World Café Open Space, giving attendees the opportunity to meet and engage with each other on further topics that emerge for discussion.

In the afternoon there will be a selection of hands-on workshops to choose from, including: Eoin O’Callaghan, an organic grower and teacher in the college, outlining Organic Vegetable Production and Market Gardening; Eugene Curran from Forestry Service presenting a session on ‘The Case for Agroforestry’; Suzie Cahn hosting a workshop on Permaculture Livelihoods and Rural Regeneration; Virginia O’Gara, founding member of the My Goodness workers co-operative, will lead a workshop on Fermentation and the Art of Cultured Foods.

There will of course also be top-quality food available on the day – the health-promoting ‘My Goodness’ team will be on hand with delicious raw vegan cakes, salads, wraps and drinks, the ‘Green Welly Café’ will be serving up hearty and healthy locally sourced natural meals, and Hendrik Lepel, expert outdoor-kitchen-craftsman, will be serving fresh pizza from the wood-fired cob pizza oven.

The conference will be rounded off with an evening of music and entertainment in the ever-evolving college amphitheatre. Organisers are keen to welcome people from the West Cork region to the event. For further information and tickets (€20, €10 concession), please contact Maeve on 0876339166 or email foodforthefuture2016@gmail.com.

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