Farm Ireland

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Make a point at foodcamp

Have your say on production in inaugural event

Paul McCarthy

We often hear about the potential of food enterprises to create the jobs our economy so badly needs. Food production plays a massive role in our country -- it is our largest exporting sector and provides 8pc of GDP and 8pc of total employment.

I became intrigued when I heard of a FoodCamp event taking place in Kilkenny. Unlike at a conference, the content is all driven by the participants and this means delegates can take the opportunity to speak so long as it's on the topic of food.

According to the organisers, Savour Kilkenny, you can give your talk in whatever format you like. It can vary from doing a presentation or sitting down and making your points.

The organisers say this is about genuine and authentic conversations and sharing -- tools and slickness do not matter. Only one rule applies, you don't sell either yourself, your business or your product during your talk.

The day should be of practical use and, for example, one of the speaking sessions will be devoted to the use of social media and the web to promote food businesses.

It would be great to hear from some of the farmers involved in direct selling or those who intend getting involved. If you want a slot, you must also register online and give a one-liner on the topic you will speak on.

The FoodCamp event is the first of its kind in Ireland and only the third in Europe, and food producers, chefs, restaurateurs, consumers, food writers, bloggers and representatives of State agencies are to attend.

The idea, dreamt up in the USA, is based on the successful Barcamps model developed by people in the technology sector.

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I am looking forward to seeing how it goes and Savour Kilkenny is to be commended for their efforts in pushing out the boat. The FoodCamp will be chaired by John McKenna of the Bridgestone Food Guide. It will have the underlying theme of 'innovation'.

The speaking sessions will be followed by a discussion with an expert panel, including Margaret Jeffries from Good Food Ireland, chef Rozanne Stevens, Bord Bia marketing service director Una Fitzgibbon, Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese's Helen Finnegan, BIM's innovation co-ordinator, Dr Susan Steele, and myself.

The other good news is that you don't have to pay to attend if you bring your own lunch for a community picnic, otherwise the cost is €15 for the lunch.

FoodCamp takes place at the Ormonde Hotel, Kilkenny, on Friday, October 22, and is one of the features of this year's Savour Kilkenny Food Festival.

Stalls in the tented village are still being offered at a small charge. Email: info@savour For more details, visit

Irish Independent