Callan, Castlecomer, Thomastown, Kilmacow and Piltown are all in the running in the landmark competition which has a prizefund of up to €775,000. Any rural town or village with a population of over 500 was eligible to enter and Kilkenny LEADER Partnership’s CEO Declan Rice says competition is already growing between the communities.
“We are now engaging with these communities, helping them to fine-tune their plans. We are extremely impressed with their ideas and their vision for a sustainable Town of Food. Our judging panel has also been confirmed and we are delighted to have Kilkenny-born entrepreneur Bobby Kerr, Colin Jephson from Ardkeen Quality Food Store; Helen McDaid, Food Tourism, Failte Ireland; Tommy Cooke, Chairman of BNS and member of the board of Teagasc and Declan McCann, Evaluation Committee Member KLP, on board.”
Kilkenny Food Strategy Coordinator, Kilian Duignan said a range of supports from Kilkenny LEADER will also be available for the shortlisted, runner-up applicants. “We are very encouraged by the number of competing towns, with their enthusiasm and level of expertise.
“We are now working with these communities. Competition is really intense – you’d know these were keen hurling hubs which are well used to doing battle with one another. We really look forward to crowning our ‘Town of Food’ on April 9th.”
The supports on offer are comprehensive. The winning town would potentially be eligible for up to €500,000 of grant aid for capital works as well as LEADER support and grant aid of up to €100,000 towards a three year program of food related training and education courses.
The ‘Town of Food’ could also be eligible for marketing costs of up to €75,000 towards the promotion of the ‘Town of Food’ concept and up to €50,000 towards operating the marketing plan over a two year period. Up to €50,000 is also on offer over a 30-month period towards a Coordinator for the project and the winning town will also receive the continued support of the dedicated Kilkenny Food Strategy Coordinator to ensure the success of the project.