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Further 5 Farmers Markets awarded Good Practice Standard - 39 Markets signed up since launch at Bloom 2009

Ciarán Cuffe TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food announced the award of the Farmers' Markets Good Practice Standard to a further 5 markets bringing to 39 the number of markets operating to the Standard since its launch at Bloom last year. Speaking at the Artisan Food Market at Bloom, the Minister congratulated the markets, saying he was delighted with the success of the voluntary Code and that markets across the country had reached and in some cases exceeded the voluntary good practice standard since its launch at BLOOM 2009.

Farmers' Markets displaying the Good Practice Standard undertake to hold markets regularly; to stock a substantial proportion, ideally at least 50%, of local produce from the county or neighbouring counties; to accommodate seasonal and local garden/allotment produce as well as compliance with food safety/labelling rules and criteria on good governance.

The Minister stated "Farmers' Markets provide producers with a cost effective direct route to customers. I believe Farmers' Markets will play an ever more important role in delivering income to producers and good value to the public.  My colleague Minister John Gormley will open a world conference on markets in Dublin later this month, which provides an opportunity to reflect on the further potential contribution retail markets can deliver to the economy and sustainable employment".

Minister of State Cuffe stated "For hundreds of years markets have been at the heart of our towns and cities. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is playing its part in flying the flag, and raising standards for local markets. However, I believe local authorities also have a crucial role to play in providing, nurturing and supporting local markets. In recent times there has been a focus on the strong economic benefits of local food production and sales. The economic multiplier effect can support local producers. Local food typically has a smaller carbon footprint than produce that travels from far away. Local markets can boost awareness of regional products and lead to increased sales. Many of us have visited local markets while travelling in countries such as France, Italy and Spain.  There is real value in food markets that allow consumers to purchase fresh local fruit and vegetables for everyday use. I want local authorities to encourage and foster local markets. This will boost the local economy, support tourism and create employment.

I am also working with the Department of Environment Heritage and Local Government to provide planning guidance on how markets can help revitalise the centres of our cities and towns. Within the Department of Transport the Smarter Travel Policy recognizes the economic as well as the transport function of our streets and public spaces. The beauty of crossing over three Government Departments is that you get the opportunity to 'join the dots' of sustainability, and that is something that markets can deliver".

The Minister congratulated Bord Bia for identifying food and sustainability - its theme for BLOOM 2010 - as key to a successful future for Irish produce. "There is an increasing demand by consumers for products, which create a less negative impact on the environment.  In this regard, I believe that Ireland has particular advantages, including well maintained fertile soil, a plentiful water supply and a rich food culture which owes much of its diversity to varied routes to market including farmers markets".   Bord Bia lists the 39 markets on its website at www.bordbia.ie

Note for Editors

The markets awarded the Good Practice Standard in June 2010 are:

Monaghan Farmers Market,
Longford,
Kinvara,
Erris,
Dingle.

Background

- The Code of Good Practice is voluntary and all farmers¿ markets operating in the State are eligible to apply. A non-refundable application fee of €50 per market applies.

- The Code of Good Practice is intended only as the minimum eligibility criteria.  Market management may apply stricter criteria.

- Following successful application, a certificate and banner will be awarded to markets demonstrating on-going compliance with listed criteria. The banner and certificate may be displayed in a public place at the market location.

Date Released: 03 June 2010