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Pictured L-R is John Kelly, Head Gardener, School of Food with Eimear Delahunty and Pat Keating, from Grow it Yourself International

The Kilkenny School of Food, a community initiative led by volunteers in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, has had its first major success by gaining the support of the local SuperValu. Its crops, sown and harvested on site at the former boy’s national school, will now be available in SuperValu Thomstown shopping aisles.

Opened in January 2015, the School of Food’s one acre Market Garden, grown with the assistance of Grow It Yourself (GIY), boasts a wide selection of vegetables, fruit, herbs and salad crops which have been planted for use in the Chef Training and Cookery classes. A portion of the garden has been dedicated to rare and unusual vegetables such as sweet potato, oca and yacón.

Thanks to the support of Supervalu, the School of Food have a fully fitted training kitchen, classrooms and an incubation kitchen and will now proudly display their produce on SuperValu shelves. The Kilkenny School of Food aims to be an acclaimed training centre for aspiring and experienced professional chefs and a food hub for discourse, innovation and learning, achieved through strategic partnerships and community collaboration.

Commenting about the project, Ciara Humphreys, SuperValu Food Academy Project Support Manager, said: “We are delighted to support the School of Food on this exciting project and giving Kilkenny shoppers the chance to taste the best of local produce. As our stores are owned and operated by local entrepreneurs, we understand the importance of community and do more than any other grocery retailer to support local initiatives. We hope to see the Kilkenny School of Food go from strength to strength and help to produce the next success stories of the Irish food industry.”

Head Gardener at the Kilkenny School of Food, John Kelly, added: “It is really exciting to see community food projects take off and it is our great hope that this new initiative will bring a range of benefits to Thomastown. We couldn’t have done it without the support of local businesses like SuperValu and we’re delighted that the first crop has been harvested and is already on sale in SuperValu.”

SuperValu serves over 2.6 million customers every week and has 221 stores nationwide. Together with its retail partners, SuperValu employs approximately 14,500 colleagues, making it one of the State’s largest private sector employers. 75% of everything on SuperValu’s shelves is sourced or produced in Ireland. SuperValu continues to source locally wherever possible and purchases almost €2 billion worth of goods from Irish suppliers which help to sustain 30,000 jobs in the Irish economy.

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