This convivial conversation, in a welcoming setting, focusing on the local food economy.
Dr. Oliver Moore,UCC Centre for Cooperative Studies, in conversation with three people prominent in food business and in local food:
Rupert Hugh Jones (Orgnaiser of Mahon Point Farmers' Market and other farmers markets in Cork); Deirdre Hillard (Just Food company - organic chilled goods exporters who started in Midelton market) and Virginia O Gara (My Goodness raw vegan local food company selling at local markets). Full details below and in the poster attached.
Venue: Glucksman Gallery, River Room
Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2017
This convivial conversation, in a welcoming setting, focuses on the local food economy and asks: is building your enterprise in a locality a viable sustainable option, or is it just a stepping stone to expand in size and scale? And does this distinction matter
All three speakers are or have been involved in farmers' markets, so we will ask - how significant and different is this alternative distribution method, and can food producers make a living in it? What are the opportunities and limitations for farmers' markets and for food producers? And as a business grows, how does it make the necessary adjustments to both survive and thrive, while maintaining or adjusting its ethos?
Rupert Hugh Jones is Market Manager at Mahon Point, Douglas and Wilton Farmers’ Markets, some of the biggest such markets in Ireland. After a year working on the family oyster farm in Carrigtwohill Rupert went on to work at the Ballymaloe Cookery School’s Organic farm in Shanagarry. There he specialised in seed propagation and glasshouse crops. Rupert started Mahon Point Farmers Market in 2005 followed by the Douglas Farmers Market in 2010 and the Wilton Farmers Market in 2014. Now he divides his time between perating local markets and organic market gardening.
Virginia O’Gara is from My Goodness. In February 2014, My Goodness began as a vegan pop up cafe in The Other Place, then Cork’s LGBT resource centre. Currently, My Goodness operates as a food business specialising in raw, vegan, sugar free, gluten free and fermented foods. My Goodness is in four of Cork’s Farmers’ Markets – Coal Quay, Douglas, Mahon and Wilton - while also appearing at festivals around Ireland, such as the Global Green area of the Electric Picnic. An anti-capitalist business owner, Virginia is interested in alternative organisational structures for operating My Goodness.
Deirdre Hillard’s Just Food Company was established in 2004. She first operated a stall at the iconic Midelton Farmers’ Market. Deirdre and her team built the business up, branching out into the local Supervalu, more retail outlets and now onto the export market. Deirdre has maintained her business through the boom and bust years of the Irish economy, and some of her products are now on supermarket shelves in the Middle East. All of her soups and other foods are certified organic and cooked in small batches to preserve maximum nutrition.