23 May 2020
By Bryan Smyth
Green Party Councillor in Cork City South West Colette Finn has welcomed the decision by the government to allow farmers markets and allotments to reopen. Cllr. Finn says Covid has highlighted the importance of them both culturally and for food production:
“Farmers markets and allotments have long served as a symbol of community spirit. They provide a vital link between field and plate, increase access to healthy food, and serve to bolster the local economy. COVID-19 has shone a light on the global food supply chain.
“The announcement by the Government at the end of March to close all farmers markets and allotments put our local farmers and food producers in an alarmingly precarious position. It is to be welcomed that our farmers markets and allotments have been allowed to reopen this week. We must ensure into the future that we build systems which will support the local producer to grow food and trade in a safe manner.
“The Allotments in Ballincollig and Churchfield reopened on Monday,” Cllr. Finn continued, “and I am hearing that the allotment growers are delighted to be reunited with their produce. By all accounts, the slugs had a party. The Farmers Market will return to the Coal Quay on Saturday. Cork City Council staff have worked hard to implement public health guidance and are helping growers to trade safely. Some traders have been able to operate during the shutdown by having prepared orders for collection.
“This way of doing business can continue as we learn to live and trade whilst this virus is still in our midst.”
Councillor Finn says that farmers markets and allotments need to be recognised as “critical venues” for providing healthy, affordable food.
“They also help us to understand the critical importance of being able to grow some of our own food. By creating a direct connection producer and consumer we retain a very valuable understanding of what is essential in life. Farmers markets and allotments are an important part of the rich tapestry of food production that we do so well in Ireland. We should value them and maintain them as essential services.”
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