Minister English urges Meath towns to apply for Artisan food opportunities

New fund also available for Social Farming

organic-food

Today I want to welcome a new community based competitive funding process for local and artisan food markets. The funding under the Department of Agriculture is one of the delivered actions of the Commission for Economic Development of Rural Areas Report chaired by noted GAA pundit and player Pat Spillane.

The funding, which is being allocated on a competitive basis, is open to all rural towns and villages with populations of up to 10,000 and offers potential funding of between €5,000-10,000 for development of existing or start-up local food and artisan markets.

Meath is a becoming a player in the national and international food markets. We have some of the best restaurants in the country, along with quality natural producers of increasing prominence locally, nationally and internationally. The Boyne Valley Tourism Conference earlier this year gave a major insight into how our food reputation was a major part of the County’s Tourism offering and attraction to visitors. Gary O’Meara and his team at Meath Enterprise are also highlighting Meath’s potential to become the Boyne Valley Food Hub – a food innovation and research centre of national standing.

The development or expansion of local food and artisan markets in Meath will compliment all of this work, and supports rural development in its own right too as it helps stimulate commercial and retail activity in rural high streets as well as developing a strong sense of community involvement and achievement. That is why I am urging Meath towns to apply.

In a separate delivered action of the Commission for Economic Development of Rural Areas Report funding is now available for Social Farming initiatives in Meath. Social farming is the practice of offering, on a voluntary basis, farming, horticultural and animal related work experience as a choice to people who avail of a range of day support services. This CEDRA fund will provide up to 75% grant aid for initiatives that support social farming operations on family farms or in institutional settings. A funding range of €10,000-20,000 is envisaged for approved projects.

Both schemes have limited funding, so proposals will be selected on a competitive basis against the other proposals received and the funds stated objectives. These schemes are being advertised nationally and in local papers. Application forms and fuller schemes details can be found on the Department’s website at the following links:

www.agriculture.gov.ie/cedra/socialfarming and www.agriculture.gov.ie/cedra/localfoodmarkets

The closing date for applications under both schemes is Friday 14th August 2015. Online applications only are being accepted.

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