Surrounded by intermittent showers and amazing scarecrows designed and fabricated by the local school, the community of Ballon warmly embraced the concept behind ‘Food Rescue’, a public awareness event highlighting the economic, social and environmental impacts resulting from food waste. Children from the Ballon National School designed creative food rescue posters, some of which even had innovative recipes to use leftovers and less than perfect food. The Festival was opened by local County Councillor John Murphy and Mindy O’Brien from VOICE of Irish Concern for the Environment.
The Ballon Street and Food Rescue Festival, one of only three Irish events recognised by the European Sustainable Development Week, saw a large crowd of people who enjoyed the musical talents of the Rathanna Band, KHA Choir, Disarm the Geese, John Kelly, Dolmen Set Dancers and the Shakers throughout the day. Local talented chefs fired up the BBQ to create an extensive buffet of chicken, hamburgers, salads, potatoes and fruit salad for dessert, all made from food that was destined for the bin due to short use-before or best-before dates. Mindy O’Brien from VOICE, which developed the Food Rescue initiative, gave an introductory talk on food waste, its impacts and how to reduce it in our homes.
Local celebrity chef, Anne Neary from the Ryeland Cookery School, tempted the gathering with delicious mushroom appetisers, which used stale bread as a tasty crust. The main course with a sumptuous salmon and dessert was a rhubarb tart which used stale digestives on the crust to absorb the liquid…very creative and fabulous!
Like the Pied Piper, the Rathanna Band led a procession of children up the hill to participate in traditional games, races and a display of meggers (horseshoe throwing). They were later awed by a magician’s slight of hand. Parents enjoyed a talk on how to compost their food and garden waste given by Paul Cutler, Head Gardner at Altamont.
The Ballon Street and Food Rescue Festival had something for everyone and illustrated the community spirit and progressive environmental enterprise that permeates the culture in Carlow. Ballon last year received the first Tidy Town Waste Prevention Award for their Siopa Glas Shop, which sells previously loved items such as clothes, shoes, bric-a-brac, bikes, etc with all the profits going back into the community. It was a real community day. Thanks to all who helped in any way to make the day such a success and to Carlow County Council and Voice Ireland for their support.
Pictures by Maire George
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