“In a year in which there has been a newfound appreciation for the simple pleasures in life, it is perhaps no coincidence that the winners of the 2021 Irish Food Writers’ Guild (IFWG) Food Awards reflect the basic foundations of Irish food,” said IFWG Chair, Kristin Jensen, who announced this year’s winners today.
Now in their 27th year, the IFWG Food Awards celebrate local producers and food heroes who have brought joy to the lives, livelihoods and tables of so many, before and especially during COVID-19, but whose commitment to producing great food and drink will endure long after the pandemic.
The Green-Schools Food & Biodiversity theme is the recipient of this year’s Community Food Award from the Guild. The newest theme of the Green-Schools Programme aims to teach crucial skills associated with food and commensality to school-going children.
The winners of the 2021 Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards are:
- Food Award: Abernethy Butter, Co. Down. Pix: Abernethy Butter
- Food Award: Ballymakenny Farm Irish Heritage and Specialty Potatoes, Co. Louth. Pix: Ballymakenny Food Potatoes
- Food Award: Tom Durcan’s Spiced Beef, Co. Cork. Pix: Tom Durcan Spiced Beef
- Irish Drink Award: Kinsale Mead Wild Red Mead – Merlot Barrel Aged, Co. Cork. Pix: KINSALE MEAD
- Outstanding Organisation Award: NeighbourFood, Co. Cork. Pix: Neighbourfood
- Environmental Award: Ballymore Organics, Co. Kildare. Pix: Ballymore Organics
- Community Food Award: The Green-Schools Food & Biodiversity Theme. Pix: Greenschools
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Marion Roeleveld, Killeen Farmhouse Cheese, Co. Galway. Pix: Killeen Farmhouse Cheese
“The past year has seen a seismic shift in how people are thinking about their food with a renewed focus on traceability, sustainability and most importantly this year, supporting local. These have been the three key tenets of the IFWG Food Awards and the work of the Guild for almost 30 years,” said Kristin Jensen.
“If this pandemic has any silver lining, it is the light that has been shined on the incredible, resourceful and innovative food producers of Ireland that have responded to the challenge, giving back to communities and ensuring a continued supply of and access to the highest-quality home-grown produce. Today’s winners have an innate passion for food and their commitment is nothing short of vocational. This is our way of recognising their achievements and our way of saying well done and thank you.”
Community Food Award – The Green-Schools Food & Biodiversity Theme
Within the school system, we teach language with which to communicate and we teach maths with which to navigate, but we do not teach crucial skills associated with food and commensality. A two-year food education programme aims to change this for a portion of students throughout Ireland. Devised to teach children about food in an engaging and creative way, the programme was successfully piloted in eight primary schools and is now being expanded nationwide, with 45 schools joining this year and a further 65 joining next year. The programme is wide-ranging, taking an expansive, hands-on approach to education, fostering inquisitiveness about where food comes from, how it is grown and how it affects all our lives. Green-Schools provide cooking kits to all the participating schools as well as the seeds for the garden, teaching resources and ongoing support from their staff. The cooking kit provides children with the equipment to practise skills during the cooking workshops such as peeling, grating, knife safety and different chopping techniques. Many chefs from around the country have also come on board and are helping reiterate the learning from the cooking workshops by doing their own cooking demonstrations with the children. The programme is a welcome addition to Ireland’s food education landscape.