A new Food Hub in Castlerea could provide a big boost to people looking to get into the industry or establish a new business.
The project was launched at a special event in Athlone IT last Friday which brought together a large number of existing Food Hubs from throughout the country and the bodies that support them.
The Castlerea Food Hub, which is to be known as “An Chistin” will be a community led (by Enterprise Castlerea) food production enterprise and education hub. It will serve as a training facility for 16 would-be Chefs and a facility where food entrepreneurs can bring a product from idea stage right through to production stage, without incurring significant start-up costs.
A Food Hub in Drumshanbo, which has been widely cited as a best practice example for such a project, was established in 2006 and now houses 60 jobs on site in eight companies. Four of the businesses are currently developing export markets and the facility is set to expand.
The project is being supported by Roscommon County Council and the Food Incubators Regional Alliance. The Alliance is made up of the key enterprise, education and community stakeholders that have a commitment to developing the regional food sector as a stimulator of training, job creation and community regeneration. Those involved are:
• Roscommon LEADER Partnership
• Roscommon County Council and Roscommon Local Enterprise Office
• Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board
• Momentum, Co. Leitrim
• The Food Hub, Co. Leitrim
• Upper Shannon Erne Future Economy project
• Athlone IT
• Enterprise Castlerea
Further details of “An Chistin” will be announced in due course.
Michael Fitzmuarice TD said that the proposed food hub “is an excellent project and one that deserves to be supported and I will be doing everything I can to ensure that it is a success. I congratulate Benny O’Connell and others who have got the project this far.”
“This is an excellent example of communities in rural Ireland supporting themselves and this project deserves all the support that it can from state agencies local and national and I will be working hard along with my colleagues on it’s behalf into the future to ensure it is a success” he concluded.