SURVIVING in a rapidly changing world is the theme of this weekend’s annual West Cork Food Forum.
Part of the world famous A Taste of West Cork Food Festival, the forum takes place this Saturday, September 7th in Baltimore Sailing Club.
Sponsored by Sean and Rose O’Driscoll, this year’s all-day conference looks at: ‘Facing the Challenges of a Rapidly Changing World – Our Survival’.
Among those addressing the gathered crowds will be the chairman Lord David Puttnam, climate activist, educator and filmmaker; Australian Ambassador Richard Andrews; Baroness Bryony Worthington, architect of the UK Climate Change Act; Dr Christie Godsmark, school of public health and the environmental research institute, University College Cork and David Byrne, former EU Commissioner, Health and consumer protection with responsibility for food safety in the EU.
Another festival event takes place that evening to celebrate the centenary of the RNLI Baltimore.
The free event, in Baltimore Harbour from 5pm, will feature a rescue demonstration staged by the RNLI Lifeboat station and the Coast Guard helicopter.
A sell-out event to celebrate and sample all of the finest produce that West Cork has to offer will follow with a drinks reception at Baltimore Sailing Club, and a gourmet seafood dinner at The Lookout restaurant. Pre-dinner drinks will be complimented by a special performance from St Fachtna’s Silver Band.
Australia has twinned with the festival this year and four aboriginal chefs have travelled to experience the unique festival which boasts 265 events and 43 guest chefs.
Speaking ahead of the food forum, Ambassador Richard Andrews, said: ‘This festival, and indeed the West Cork Forum, highlights the love and knowledge the people of West Cork have for their own place, their pride in the quality of the fruits it bears, and their commitment to managing their land sustainably for the future.
‘These are values Australia’s aboriginal people have held for over 60,000 years, and of which Australians today remain proud. Our communities, although separated by land and sea, remain intrinsically linked, thanks to the major role played by Irish people in the building of Australia as it is today. We want 21st century Ireland – and especially West Cork – to be an ongoing part of the story of our national cuisine and we equally want Australia to contribute to the evolution of Ireland’s culinary landscape.’
He added: ‘We look forward to celebrating our mutual commitment during this ground-breaking visit and to sharing an educational experience through the West Cork Forum.’
Chairperson of the festival committee, Helen Collins, said: ‘This year’s topic is undoubtedly of great importance to all of us as citizens of the world, and it certainly holds particular prominence for those of us living in West Cork and familiar with its rich landscape and the huge efforts of its local people in contributing to sustainability, food quality and combating climate change.
‘Our status as one of Ireland’s most prominent food capitals gives us a natural platform to hold such serious discussions on sustainable food safety and environmental health and the West Cork Forum addresses all these issues in depth.’
The festival continues until September 15th.
See atasteofwestcork.com for more.