Monday 23 January 2017

Food news: Seed savers' win at the Community Food Awards

Katy McGuinness

Published 23/10/2016 | 02:30

Fresh organic carrots - the Irish Seed Savers' Association were the big winners in this year's food awards
Fresh organic carrots - the Irish Seed Savers' Association were the big winners in this year's food awards
Super Miss Sue
Brother Hubbard
Supervalu breads

The big winner at the 2016 Irish Food Writers' Guild's (IFWG) Community Food Awards earlier this month was The Irish Seed Savers' Association, based in Scarriff, Co Clare, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary.

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Founded by Anita Hayes in 1991, the Association conserves and distributes rare and heritage seed varieties and empowers people to do the same in their own gardens, smallholdings and farms, playing an active and crucial role in helping keep Irish agricultural biodiversity alive and well.

The Association's Education Project was submitted for an IFWG Community Food Award. Children visiting the Association's centre and participating in the Education Project are made aware of the importance of agricultural bio-diversity - creating a more responsible upcoming generation who have the knowledge and skills to engage with and promote responsible practices.

The IFWG Community Food Awards are judged by the members of the Guild in a two-stage judging process, and amongst the criteria which the judges take into account are social impact - both immediate and local, as well as the potential for broader impact in the future - clarity of purpose, whether the organisation is generous or protective of its own territory, and whether it is inclusive or elitist.

Entries to the awards can include food education, environmental or sustainability projects, food charity programmes, community initiatives or social entrepreneurialism. The awards are open to national, local and community programmes that contribute to the promotion of sustainable food and food practices in Ireland.

Four other enterprises were recognised at the awards: The Organic Centre in Leitrim, a pioneer in providing training and education, information and demonstrations of organic gardening, growing and sustainable living since 1995; Loaf Catering, a catering company in Belfast that works with people with learning difficulties or autism and whose profits go to helping support those with difficulties join the workforce; OURganic Gardens, which, from its Donegal base, helps new and existing gardeners embrace organic methods to cultivate their gardening practices; and Cork Food Policy Council's Edible Greening Initiative, which was initiated to teach people how to grow food in up-cycled containers and to highlight the health, environmental and aesthetic benefits of growing food.

Bites..

OH BROTHER!

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The new cookbook from Brother Hubbard, a terrific restaurant on Dublin's Capel Street, is full of gorgeous recipes, many of them with a Middle-Eastern slant. Not as time-consuming or requiring as many obscure ingredients as Ottolenghi, but just as tasty. Published by Gill Books at €27.99.

SUPER FOOD

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John Farrell's SMS has a new dining counter, great cocktails and a sophisticated new menu. You can still get the lunchtime Piatti del Giorno for a tenner, or €15 with a glass of wine, and many of the dishes on the menu come with a side of Cervi fries from the co-owned chipper next door.

A SLICE OF LIFE

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SuperValu has a new range of Healthy Breads, including Hi-Fibre Seed and Carrot, Oats and Chia Seed, and Rye Sourdough with Sunflower Seeds. There are also Irish soda breads and scones made using Irish butter, buttermilk and whole eggs, baked according to traditional methods.

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