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Minister Sargent hosts National Conference to highlight the opportunities for local food and launches new Bord Bia guide on local selling

Speaking at the National Conference on Local Food Exploring the Opportunities in Mullingar today, the Minister for Food and Horticulture, Trevor Sargent TD, said that "local food" has a bright future in Ireland despite being a new concept here relative to some of our European neighbours.

"The Conference aims to raise awareness of the local food concept and to provide information for food producers interested in its potential. The agri-food industry with its diverse range of food businesses and good regional spread remains our most successful indigenous manufacturing industry. Nowadays consumers are seeking out new regional, local, speciality and organic food experiences. Confidence both in the qualities of their particular foods and in their ability to innovate is driving a new growth in speciality and regional food businesses.

"This conference is part of a wider strategy, which I am driving to help food producers to find more diverse and direct selling opportunities, which will help grow their food businesses."

The Conference, organised in co-operation with Bord Bia, explored local food production and the local food market from a variety of perspectives- consumer, producer, retailer. Mr Tim Schlitzer of Food Routes Network, USA, delivered a talk on the US initiative 'Buy Fresh, Buy Local'. The attendance of over 300 participants also heard presentations on recent research undertaken by Bord Bia, a retailer perspective and a local case study (Kelly's Organic) and the discussions were facilitated by panels with expertise in the area.

Minister Sargent also launched the Bord Bia 'Guide to Selling Through Farmers' Markets, Farm Shops and Box Schemes in Ireland', which he said was a must read for anyone either already selling on the local market or thinking of doing so.

13 November 2007

NOTE FOR EDITORS

National Conference on Local Food
Exploring the Opportunities
Agenda
5:30pm Registration and light refreshments.
6:00pm Opening address by Minister Trevor Sargent T.D.
6:05pm A Consumer Exploration on Local Food in Ireland Today - Helen King, Senior Business Analyst, Bord Bia.
6:35pm Buy Fresh, Buy Local; Where Does Your Food Come From? (USA initiative) - Tim Schlitzer, Executive Director, FoodRoutes Network, USA.
7:05pm PANEL DISCUSSION 1*
7:50pm Local Food from a Multiple Retailer's Perspective - Sharon Buckley, Trading Director Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland Ltd.
8:20pm A Local Food Producer's Story - Mary Kelly, Kelly's Organic.
8:30pm PANEL DISCUSSION 2*
9:15pm "Guide to Selling Through Farmers' Markets, Farm Shops and Box Schemes in Ireland" Launch - Minister Trevor Sargent T.D.
9:30pm Light refreshments.

* Panel Discussions included the speakers,

Una Fitzgibbon (Director of Marketing, Bord Bia)

** Panel Discussion 2

will include Sharon Buckley, Mary Kelly, Una Fitzgibbon, Donal Leavy (ComReg - Director, Wholesale Division - will take questions on Broadband) and Annette Kenny, Bord Bia (will take questions on Distribution).

Date Released: 14 November 2007