Tipperary Food Producers are a country based group of artisan producers who have combined forces with 12 schools throughout the county to run an innovative Food Connect Programme. This programme is the first of its type in Ireland and has a core objective of linking students within the schools and local food producers. Each school have been matched with a producer in their locality and 4 students have spent a week at a time with their respective producers.
James Whelan Butchers were matched with 4 transition year students from Cashel Community School. The students carried out daily market research, social networking, customer service and created online content for our websites. The students kept a record of their daily activities on the Tipperary Food Producers – Food Connect Blog. You can see how the students got on here – Food Connect Blog. Meanwhile, their fellow classmates were carrying out some market research of their own including research into the competitive market of butchers in Ireland, how various meat is sourced locally and how similar businesses market themselves online. The food connect programme will culminate in a final presentation in the new year summing up the experience of the students and the research found by the class.
The Food Connect programme featured in Monday night’s episode of ‘Ear to the Ground’ as host Ella McSweeney visited students from the Abbey school on Crowe’s Farm in Dundrum, Co. Tipperary. The students learned all about the farming process at Crowe’s Farm and also got hands on experience in the production of the final product. The episode concluded with a Food Extravaganza event at the Clonmel Park Hotel, where 16 members of the Tipperary Food Producers Network showcased their products in stalls and cooking demonstrations were given by Sheila Kelly (Bordbia) and Sarah Baker (Cloughjordon Cookery School). There were Food Connect Students from 5 different schools there on the night, covering the event via social media (Twitter/Facebook). The Food Connect programme is proving a huge success and is sure to continue in the years to come. You can watch the episode of Ear to the Ground featuring the students from the Abbey School who participated in the Food Connect programme by clicking on the link below.
We hope you enjoyed reading this post by Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers. Pat is a 5th generation butcher, cook book author and the director of James Whelan Butchers with shops in Clonmel, the Avoca Food Market Monkstown and Avoca Rathcoole. Sign up to our newsletter for more updates from James Whelan Butchers