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Teagasc and MTU launch the Irish Agropreneur series

Teagasc and MTU recently launched the first of a series of online interactive workshops known as The Irish Agropreneur Series. This series, established within the EU funded project AgroBRIDGES, aims to support the development of short food supply chains (SFSC) across Europe. It seeks to build bridges between producers and consumers and rebalance farmers’ market position by empowering them with knowledge about new business and marketing models that are based on SFSCs.

The first event involved Short Food Supply Chain producers and other members of the agroBRIDGES Multi- Actor Platform Forum, Ireland. It had as its theme: Running and sustaining a profitable SFSC in Ireland. 

Speakers at the event included James Burke, CEO James Burke & Associates and Network Manager, The Dublin Food Chain; Colm Foley, Teagasc & Bia Innovator Campus’ in-house Food Technologist; Rebekah Keaveny, Project Development Officer, Green Offaly and Jacinta Dalton, Head of Department, Culinary Arts & Service Industry at The Atlantic Technological University (formerly known GMIT Galway International Hotel School).

Explaining the rationale behind The Irish Agropreneur Series, Professor Maeve Henchion, Teagasc, said; “the idea to organise a series of interactive workshops for Short Food Supply Chain Producers was inspired by findings from the agroBRIDGES report on European and regional analysis of producer and consumer needs which was led by Teagasc. The purpose of the workshops was to discuss the challenges that hinder the development of SFSCs into viable businesses in Ireland and help producers find possible solutions to those challenges.”

Study findings from the agroBRIDGES project were shared with producers during the workshop to inform them about the overall SFSC situation in Europe and SFSC development in Ireland. This was followed by a general discussion on the food and drinks landscape in Ireland where James Burke and Colm Foley shared insights on the various phases of development of Short Food Supply Chain Businesses. Rebekah Keaveny also spoke on Green Enterprises as a viable business option for SFSC producers and during the panel discussion session facilitated by Dr Jennifer Attard, from MTU, challenges relating to public procurement of local produce were discussed by Jacinta Dalton. Specific insights on how SMEs could participate in the public procurement process and case studies on Green Enterprises were also provided at the event.