Open day to launch School of Food’s ‘Market Garden’ to the South East

The South East’s culinary hub, Thomastown School of Food will launch its newly developed ‘Market Garden’ on Saturday, July 2nd with an open day for the public from 11am to 3pm at their one-acre Community Garden site in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.

John Kelly, Head Gardener, School of Food (left) with Eimear Delahunty and Pat Keating from GIY showing the first produce heading into SuperValu.

John Kelly, Head Gardener, School of Food (left) with Eimear Delahunty and Pat Keating from GIY showing the first produce heading into SuperValu.

The Market Garden was developed with the assistance of Waterford based, sustainable gardening group, Grow It Yourself (GIY) and the financial support of SuperValu, Thomastown. Some of the wonderful vegetables growing at the Market Garden include kale, baby turnips, butterhead lettuce, Swiss chard, courgettes, not to mention more exotic varieties such as yacón and oca.

As part of the open day celebrations the public will enjoy themed walks, willow workshops and seed workshops that are taking place at the School of Food throughout the day. Members of Grow It Yourself will be on hand to answer queries along with the School of Food’s head gardener, John Kelly, who is available to offer one-to-one advice for those wishing to develop their own vegetable gardens.

John Kelly explained, “The garden is managed on a chemical free basis, which means lots of hard work! Fortunately we have a committed group of volunteers who come once a week to help out with this and other aspects of the garden. We are always keen to encourage new people to get involved and would welcome anyone who would like to join us to come along and visit the Market Garden on Saturday, July 2nd.”

Director of the School of Food, Pat FitzGerald said, “The Market Garden has brought a new spirit to our School of Food and shows us what is possible when we work with others to achieve our aims. There is a real joy in seeing this piece of wasteland transformed and providing such wonderful produce that supplies our school kitchens and also our local SuperValu so everyone can enjoy the real flavour of Thomastown.“

The School of Food is a not-for-profit training centre for professional chefs and a Community Garden. In addition to the professional training provided, the School of Food is working with one local primary school, St. Mary’s National School, to develop a school based programme that gives pupils first-hand experience in a vegetable garden.

Bob Jull, Chairman, School of Food commented, “Towns like ours depend on the business community, especially our sponsor SuperValu, and the public for support so that we can ensure this School of Food survives for the future, brings jobs and training for the community and builds a sustainable future for our young people.”

The School of Food is supported by Kilkenny Leader Partnership, the Carlow Kilkenny ETB and Fáilte Ireland which has allowed it to develop as a Chef Training centre. The market garden is a key element of the School’s objective to become a regional food hub for discourse, innovation and learning.

The School of Food looks forward to welcoming visitors to the ‘Market Garden’ on Saturday, July 2nd for an open day from 11am to 3pm at the Community Garden on the Dublin Road, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. For those less green-fingered the School of Food hosts a range of evening and weekend course throughout the year including the upcoming, ‘Pick from the Garden, Cook in the Kitchen’ where participants will harvest from the Market Garden, and then cook what they have harvested. 

For more see: | ‎@KKSOF

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