The Food and Drink Network committee comprises of 15 local representatives from across the local food and drink sector working in collaboration to showcase the positive work being done within the local food industry.
This committee will be responsible for making decisions on behalf of the wider network of which any food or drink related business can be a member of.
Catherine Goligher is the Food Tourism Project Officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council.
She explained that the establishment of the Food Network was a key action of the recently launched Food and Drink Strategy Action Plan for 2019-2025.
She said the Strategy outlined the importance of a Food and Drink Network that would allow local businesses to work closely together to promote and develop the local food & drink offering within the Council area.
She said the Network will take an active role in shaping and delivering the activity that will grow the city and region as the leading food destination on the island.
The Chairperson of the newly formed Network is James Huey from the Walled City Brewery with Selina Horshi from The White Horse Hotel taking the role as Vice Chair.
James Huey explained that the first activity of the Network is to participate in a learning journey to Galway in mid-April where the committee will meet with the lead stakeholders in Galway Gastronomy to garner learnings from their journey and in particular how they have worked collaboratively to achieve European Region of Gastronomy in 2018.
He explained: “Some of the key actions for the network over the next six months include delivery of a branding strategy and marketing plan for ‘LegenDerry Food’. T
“he network will also be involved in a series of familiarisation trips around the City and District to ensure the network itself is fully versed and knowledgeable about our local produce, the development of an online directory for food and drink and also participation in a local food accreditation for producers and restaurants so the consumer can easily recognise and support local produce.“
Jennifer O’Donnell, Tourism Manager with the Council said that the Network will also support delivery of food and drink events throughout the Council area and that they are advancing with plans for a LegenDerry Street Food Festival which will take place in July and a week long Slow Food Festival to take place in the autumn.
“This is a fantastic step forward for us towards achieving the goals set out in the Food Strategy towards building on our reputation as a stand-out food destination and are really looking forward to working with the Network so we can develop our LegenDerry Food brand and develop a full calendar of food events throughout the year,” she added.
The Food Network, branding strategy and accreditation work is funded by the Interreg project NICHE.
Food sector businesses in the Council area interested in getting involved in the Network are urged to contact Catherine Goligher firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.derrystrabane.com/food