Food Sustainability Takes Centre Stage at Waterford’s Harvest Festival

Visitors to Waterford’s Harvest Festival this weekend (September 8 to 10) are invited to step into a world of culinary curiosity and thought-provoking discussions. GIY (Grow It Yourself) will present a captivating lineup of talks and debates that delve into the heart of pressing food issues with a series of free talks on the “Food Matters” stage, proudly sponsored by Waterford Chamber Skillnet.
Picture: Patrick Browne

The food sustainability talks will see some of the country’s most esteemed food writers, chefs, activists, journalists and business people gather to discuss the important topics of our food chain, offering an educational, engaging and entertaining debate each day. 

The hosts of the event and who will help to guide the conversations and lead some of the discussions are GIY’s founder, the renowned author and broadcaster Mick Kelly and the award-winning food writer and chair of the Food Writer’s Guild, Caroline Hennessy.

Topics for discussion include: Using Food Waste in the Garden; GIY—Getting Started; Food Matters—Love Soil; Biodiversity Centre—Top 10 ways to help Pollinators; Food Matters—Stop Food Pollution; Finding Magic & Medicine in your garden; Irish Tree Explorers—The importance of Urban Trees; Birdwatch—Ireland’s Garden Birds; Regional Action For Global Change; Food Matters—Support Local; Biodiversity Centre—Top 10 ways to help Pollinators; and Food Matters—Eat More Plants.

The esteemed panelists, carefully curated for their wealth of experience and dedication to food-related matters, will gather in the Food Matters tent at John Roberts Square for talks on the hour during Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The panellists include Niall Hatch from Birdwatch Ireland, Kevin Jephson from Ardkeen Food Stores, Niamh Phelan from Biodiversity Ireland, Pat Fitzgerald from Fitzgerald Nurseries…and many more.

The Harvest Festival is funded by Waterford City & County Council and organised by GIY who are bringing sustainability right to the heart of the festivities. Plus, the festival will be run on HVO (Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil), there is a complete plastics ban and all traders will be using compostable materials. There will be refill water stations and a wash-up station for reusables.

Seeds and Plants

Everyone will have the opportunity to get stuck into some GIY as over 3,000 free plants and thousands of free seeds will be given away to food growing enthusiasts during the weekend.

The festival offers an array of free events for everyone to enjoy. There will be a vast Harvest Festival Food and Drinks producer market as well as a live music stage. There will also be an assortment of entertainment and things to see, do and eat.

For the food fans, Waterford’s rich food heritage will be key, celebrating the city’s diverse restaurants, eateries and producers with Waterford’s finest chefs offering free cookery demos on the Taste Waterford Kitchen Stage at Garter Lane.

In the Junior GIYer’s zone on O’Connell Street, families can enjoy the Wooly Farm, where children can learn more about our furry and feathered friends. Artist Aga Krym will create a new living art installation with Slí Waterford, based on the UN sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger.

In addition, Cool Food School and GIY will be hosting workshops on seed sowing, growing and cooking food and Monty Potts will be on hand to help out.

Honey Show
Photograph: Patrick Browne

There will be art workshops, Fun Drums and at Waterford City Library kids can enjoy storytelling and colouring sessions and the Waterford Honey Show will be open for visitors.

The Waterford Harvest Festival is a weekend-long celebration taking place from Friday, September 8 to Sunday, September 10 and will see the city come to life with markets, special dining events, panel discussions and plenty more. For further details and to browse the full programme of free entertainment and events, see

Related Content:

The Countdown is on for the Biggest Harvest Festival Market to Date

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