CLONAKILTY will mark their Fairtrade 15th anniversary this September with a fair and gala dinner featuring local sustainable produce.
They have the distinction of being Ireland’s first Fairtrade town, a title which they were awarded in 2003.
Jennifer Sleeman, who will celebrate her 89th birthday this year and will be a guest of honour at the Gala Dinner, was the visionary who encouraged Clonakilty to be recognised as a Fairtrade town. A life-long activist and campaigner, Jennifer understood that the conversation about food and ethics is mutually dependent, a way of thinking that is now an integral part of the ethos in Clonakilty.
Allison Roberts, treasurer of the Clonakilty Fairtrade Committee said: ‘I am passionate about sourcing my own food as local as possible, but some things can’t be sourced in Ireland, or even in Europe and that is where Fairtrade starts to come in. Fairtrade is essential for certain parts of the world where small farmers do not have the means to sell their produce ethically without the support of a larger co-operation.’
She added: ‘To celebrate 15 years of Fairtrade we want the Fairtrade movement in Clonakilty to link up more firmly with all other local and ethically minded food producers and movements here in West Cork. The benefit of all of these types of businesses and groups have to our town are immeasurable. It is essential that such groups work and celebrate together to keep up spirit and momentum.’
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of Fairtrade in Clonakilty, the group will host the fair and dinner in Fernhill House Hotel on Sunday 16th September from 7pm.
A menu has been specially created by celebrated Deasy’s Caitlin Ruth who said: ‘Using food produced locally is key to what we do in Deasy’s Restaurant. September is a great time of year for all kinds of growers, we have gluts of perfect vegetables everywhere and makes choosing food that is so abundant and local the obvious thing to do. When food is this fresh, so perfect and accessible, it makes cooking exciting.’
Allison, also the founder of Exploding Tree/Clonakilty Chocolate, Ireland’s only Fairtrade bean-to-bar chocolate maker, added: ‘We look forward to celebrating with some amazing local food producers along with those of us who source our ingredients ethically from further afield. It will be an evening to remember.’
Special guest speakers will be announced closer to the event.
• Tickets for five-course menu and a glass of wine, cost €50 from www.flavour.ie/fairtrade