Food Heartland ready for NI Year of Food & Drink 2016

Agri-food producers from the Food Heartland are ready for the NI Year of Food & Drink 2016, today launching both their new Food Heartland Brand and plans for the year.

The ‘Food Heartland’ showcases Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon borough’s abundance of specialist artisan food and drink producers and is one of the key growth areas for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
The Food Heartland Forum, funded by DARD Regional Food Programme, is a unique public and private sector partnership between council, agri-food businesses and various support bodies to drive the local agri-food sector forward. Working with Food NI, Tourism NI, and local event organisers, the Forum is trailblazing ahead with its new Food Heartland brand with Tourism NI now citing it an example of best practice.
Council is fully committed to supporting and promoting the agri-food sector in a number of ways, including:

• Celebrating local food and drink at key local events
• Presenting special visitors to the Borough with Food Heartland Hampers packed with delicious local produce
• Funding a Food Heartland Export Support Programme
• Developing an Armagh Bramley Apple Supply Chain project to champion this unique product with world renowned status
• Food Heartland Forum workshops throughout the year with the producers setting the agenda
• Food Heartland Awards, hosted by the Lord Mayor in the spring to celebrate our quality creators and passionate producers

Lord Mayor, Councillor Darryn Causby who launched the brand together with a number of Food Heartland companies said, “This Borough is home to a great number of outstanding food & drink producers. Today marks the start of an exciting year for the agri-food industry, our borough and Northern Ireland. 2016 will be a busy year and we are keen to grasp this golden opportunity of NI Year of Food & Drink and celebrate the great people behind our world-class food & drink produce.”

In addition to these plans the Council has a year long series of events planned throughout 2016 starting with a breakfast month in January right through to December when the Food Heartland producers will promote their wares at St George’s Market Belfast.

For those interested in further information or joining the Food Heartland Forum please contact Sarah-Jane Macdonald, Economic Development on 028 38 312 572,