NUI Galway has signed the Charter for the Galway and West of Ireland Region of Gastronomy which commits the University to a range of initiatives to support food culture in the region as part of its designation as European Region of Gastronomy 2018.
A community opening ceremony for Galway’s European Region of Gastronomy 2018 took place in the Spanish Arch yesterday evening which was followed by a family céilí.
The launch also showcased local food producers to spotlight the region’s dynamic food sector and rich food heritage.
The initiatives NUIG has signed up to will include featuring local produce in campus food outlets; hosting high-profile food-related conferences and a series of public lectures on theme related to gastronomy and food culture.
The 17 restaurants on the University campus serve approximately 30,000 customers each week and under the Charter, campus caterers have committed to sourcing as much produce as possible from local producers and suppliers as well as supporting food waste minimisation actions within the home and workplace.
Dr Philip Smyth, Head of Shannon College of Hotel Management, which is now a college of NUI Galway, said: “Our food culture is vitally important for our health and wellbeing, and signing the charter highlights the University’s commitment to supporting this important sector.
“We look forward to working with our campus community to highlight the richness of our region of gastronomy and to support sustainable development and innovation.”
Over the coming months, the University will host a range of high-profile food conferences, including the Good Food Ireland Conference and Food on the Edge.
As part of the programme of events on sustainability, the University in partnership with Teagasc will host an Agri-Food Seminar on Sustainability as well as a Beef and Sheep Workshop in June.
Ann Duggan, Commercial Manager at NUI Galway, commented: “Local seasonal produce forms the key ingredient across menus on a daily basis and the five catering companies providing services on campus are enthusiastically working with growers/ producers and wholesalers to create nutritional, tasty dishes for our campus community of approximately 20,000.
“We also welcome over 10,000 conference delegates and visitors to campus annually. In recent years local, artisan and craft producers have exhibited at receptions for international delegates which has added enormously to the enjoyment of their experience in Galway.
“Food is central to the delegates’ experience and having such a wealth of wonderful fresh produce on our doorstep differentiates Galway and gives us a strong competitive edge when competing for international events.”