As Leitrim’s food producers and places to eat prepare for 2017, Local Enterprise Office Leitrim and Leitrim County Council have commissioned a fresh and innovative review of the food sector leading to the Preparation of a “Food Strategy 2017- 2021” for County Leitrim.
The news comes as Leitrim County Council were recently awarded REDZ funding of €200,000 to invest in food tourism projects in Leitrim in 2017. A number of engaging projects planned include festival investments, a new Taste Leitrim food experience and new marketing campaign, a shared distribution project and community education projects.
The feedback of the trade is absolutely vital to the formation of the Plan. Two important consultation workshops are planned and those with an interest in food and food tourism, community food and education are invited to attend on either Thursday, January 19 at 4.30pm at the Landmark Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon or on Wednesday, February 1 at 4.30pm the Organic Centre, Rossinver.
The food and food tourism sector is a vital component of the local economy in Leitrim. The recent Taste Leitrim project established the county as a ‘must visit’ food destination. ‘Leitrim may be Ireland’s smallest populated county but we certainly pack a culinary punch.’ Frank Curran, LCC Chief Executive, Leitrim County Council explains “the development of initiatives such as the Taste Leitrim with its county wide focus and our micro enterprises are powerful economic drivers within the county.
"Leitrim is known for its clean, outdoor living and supporting lifelong learning though continuing education. It is recognised at strategic level that there is considerable potential for Leitrim’s food sector if it is progressed in a planned, timely & innovative way. Our securement of significant REDZ funding gives us the resources to really progress the sector in 2017”.
Joe Lowe, Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office outlined the context of the new Plan, noting: ”The Food Hub, Drumshanbo, The Organic Centre, initiatives such as “Taste Leitrim” and Leitrim’s recent award as a top 10 foodie destination 2016 has introduced the wider public to our fantastic producers, chefs, food entrepreneurs, distillers, brewers, baristas and farmers. Our local food economy and our food education programme is a driving force for rural regeneration and connectivity and can make our towns & villages come alive and be more attractive to live in! Amazing slow food events and farm to fork ethos is not just a catchphrase in Leitrim, it is a way of doing business and standing out from the crowd”.
Orla Casey of Momentum Consulting explains that “It is clear that a decade of food industry focus in Co Leitrim has brought the culinary sector to a very exciting place. Pro active nurturing of local food companies through mentoring, training and grant aid support have led Leitrim in becoming a model of best practice within the food sector in Ireland."