Ireland celebrates its Food Sovereignty. #FoodSov

Food activists, curious eaters, harried, hurried producers and many more came together in Ireland to have food sovereignty proclamation meals. This date – 24th April – was also the 100th anniversary of the  1916 Rising – the start of Ireland’s independence movement, and the day the Irish proclamation of Independence was read out. So what happened?

foodsov banner

Food Sovereignty meals were held all over Ireland on 24th April last, to make the 100th anniversary of the reading of the Irish Proclamation of Independence. This initiative emerged from conversations held on line and in person by activists in the build up to last Sunday. Already, a wide ranging group of people had come together to write up a food sovereignty proclamation in 2015 – what was organised last Sunday was a way to come together, to enjoy the bounty and to tell the world about it.

Cloughjordan Community Farm’s meal

What’s most inspiring about this event is that it was unorganised – it was a completely autonomous, self-arranged set of meals from the farthest tip of the island in Donegal to Kerry down in the south west and even further afield.

photo by Taragh Cosgrove of Frogswell’s Garden meal Mayo

It was a way for people to connect up with each other- locally and globally – through a mass food solidarity movement and also through the simple act of breaking bread with friends, neighbours and kindred. It was civic engagement via food.

This was a meet, eat and tweet event, with social media connecting people up all over the place

There were many expressions  of local, fair and environmentally aware, of traditional, embedded and made with care. This was a day for the broadest spectrum of agroeco meanings  – from seed saving and a farmers’ right to a decent, stable living, to local access to safe, clean food  – to get to express themselves.  It was also just a great excuse to get together – for a chow down and a natter.

caroline rowley clare
Clare photo by Caroline Rowley

Many of the places that held meals are visioning and manifesting new ways of doing food better. The good folk of the Growery (a community food growing hub) in Birr and Hannah’s Gardens; the Urban Co-op in Limerick (a community  owned grocery, buying from local producers) the Organic College in Dromcollogher  and the Community Farm in Cloughjordan (a member owned and operated CSA), the Mayo organic group and the East Clare Community co-op…and many more besides…

christine mackey  meal leitrim
photo by Christine Mackey at the Leitrim Sculpture Centre’s meal

Other meals were smaller, more personalised affairs, but with the same key message – even this time of year (very early in the season for Ireland) its possible to connect with people and place via great, meaningful food. There was more foraged food than at other times of the year – plenty of nettle pestos, soups and even gnocchis – there were also salad tunnel crops, traditional and regional specialities (such as pigs blood puddings, local beers and cheeses), lots of fab veggies, many sourdough breads, homemade wines and lemonades, kale crisps and a veritable cornucopia to delight. Picnics were held on islands

photo (c) john wilmott eaters on route to lough key
photo (c) John Willmott and some of the eaters on route to Lough Key

National flags were made from the contents of people plates (and tweeted)

  While far flung Irish  got in on the act too.

In Tasmania

In France

judith tricolour
part of Judith Hitchman’s meal – an (Irish) tricolour in south west France

  And in Peru too

eoin craven in potato park Peru
Eoin Craven in Potato Park Peru
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Aine Ni Cheartigh of the Urban Co-op Limerick reading the food sovereignty proclamation

  Some stood up on chairs and read aloud the food sovereignty proclamation. All came together to celebrate what right about food. Good food can be great.In total, it appears that people in 20 of the island of Ireland’s 32 counties got involved – and some more than once – along with Tasmania, Peru and France.

Next year? the 101 anniversary? Who knows…maybe more!

To finish, check out these classic contrasting social media messages, from Caroline Hennessy and Bia Beo respectively – its a broad movement is food sovereignty…

raw food sov pic bigger


Many of the events were added to the facebook event page – see them here

The #foodsov hashtag performed really well – see it on twitter here

Here is the full food sovereignty proclamation which you can sign – go on do it now!

Here are all our previous articles on food sovereignty

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About Oliver Moore 213 Articles

Dr. Oliver Moore is the communications director and editor-in-chief with ARC2020. He has a PhD in the sociology of farming and food, where he specialised in organics and direct sales. He is published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies, International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. A weekly columnist and contributor with Irish Examiner, he is a regular on Countrywide (Irish farm radio show on the national broadcaster RTE 1) and engages in other communications work around agri-food and rural issues, such as with the soil, permaculture, climate change adaptation and citizen science initiative Grow Observatory . He lectures part time in the Centre for Co-operative Studies UCC.

A propos d'Oliver Moore
Oliver voyage beaucoup moins qu’auparavant, pour ce qui concerne son activité professionnelle. Il peut néanmoins admirer par la fenêtre de son bureau les mésanges charbonnières et les corbeaux perchés au sommet du saule dans le jardin de sa maison au cœur de l’écovillage de Cloughjordan, en Irlande. L’écovillage est un site de 67 acres dans le nord du Tipperary. Il comprend d’espaces boisés, des paysages comestibles, des lieux de vie, d’habitation et de travail, ainsi qu’une ferme appartenant à la communauté. Les jours où il travaille dans le bureau du centre d’entreprise communautaire, il profite d’une vue sur les chevaux, les panneaux solaires, les toilettes sèches et les jardins familiaux. 

Ce bureau au sein de l’écovillage constitue en effet un tiers-lieu de travail accueillant également des collaborateurs des associations Cultivate et Ecolise, ainsi qu’un laboratoire de fabrication (« fab lab »). 

Oliver est membre du conseil d’administration de la ferme communautaire (pour la seconde fois !) et donne également des cours sur le Master en coopératives, agroalimentaire et développement durable à l’University College Cork. Il a une formation en sociologie rurale : son doctorat et les articles qu’il publie dans des journaux scientifiques portent sur ce domaine au sens large.

Il consacre la majorité de son temps de travail à l’ARC 2020. Il collabore avec ARC depuis 2013, date à laquelle l’Irlande a assuré la présidence de l’UE pendant six mois. C’est là qu’il a pu constater l’importance de la politique agroalimentaire et rurale grâce à sa chronique hebdomadaire sur le site d’ARC. Après six mois, il est nommé rédacteur en chef et responsable de la communication, poste qu’il occupe toujours aujourd’hui. Oliver supervise le contenu du site web et des médias sociaux, aide à définir l’orientation de l’organisation et parfois même rédige un article pour le site web. 

À l’époque où on voyageait davantage, il a eu la chance de passer du temps sous les tropiques, où il a aidé des ONG irlandaises de commerce équitable – au Ghana, au Kenya, au Mali, en Inde et au Salvador – à raconter leur histoire.

Il se peut que ces jours-là reviennent. Pour son compte Oliver continuera de préférer naviguer en Europe par bateau, puis en train. Après tout, la France n’est qu’à une nuit de navigation. En attendant, il y a toujours de nombreuses possibilités de bénévolat dans la communauté dans les campagnes du centre de l’Irlande.