GIY plans a network of 20 'cottage' markets
Bustling cottage markets packed to the rafters with all sorts of mouth-watering locally sourced treats and hand-crafted products are set to help make rural Ireland great again.
Last week, Grow It Yourself (GIY), a not-for-profit social enterprise that supports people to grow their own food, launched an exciting nationwide drive to fund the setting up and running of 20 new rural markets across the country.
The aim of 'The Cottage Market' initiative, supported by Ulster Bank and The Ireland Funds to the tune of €65,000 over the next two years, is to put home-made, home-grown food, and craft back at the heart of communities.
Successful applicants will be awarded with a tailor-made training programme to ensure the markets' success and longevity into the future.
The training will be delivered by social enterprise, marketing, finance and food experts and will also offer crucial advice on how to successfully advertise the new venture.
Karen O'Donohoe, GIY's community manager, said the programme is a "simple but fresh" take on community led markets currently operating in villages, towns and cities nationwide.
"We know this initiative can be hugely successful. We piloted the programme with three markets in Ladysbridge, Drogheda and Headford, and now, with funding from the Ulster Bank skills and opportunities fund and The Ireland Funds, we are launching the accelerator phase that will build on the success of the pilot."
She said the cottage market concept differs from a farmer's market as it is all about bringing hobbyists and amateur producers from a local area together to showcase their often hidden talents at growing, sewing or baking.