The official relaunch of the Limerick Food Partnership (LFP) by Cllr. Michael Collins, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, took place on Monday 07 December in Limerick Milk Market. The Food Partnership - a collaboration between community, voluntary and statutory organisations involved in food-related initiatives - aims to raise awareness, improve access and increase the supply of healthy food options in Limerick city and county.
Earlier this year, it played a vital role in coordinating the supply of food to homeless people and vulnerable families in Limerick city and county during the first Covid-19 lockdown. During this time, members of Limerick Food Partnership delivered 8,427 food packages to families across the city and county.
This work occurred at a time when many voluntary and public organisations which were supporting those experiencing food poverty were either unable to operate or had their actions limited.
Therefore, the Limerick Food Partnership played a vital role in supporting the most vulnerable in Limerick city and county this year.
Since the end of that lockdown, LFP has continued to work with the most vulnerable in the city and county to support them in accessing a regular healthy food supply. Plans for 2021 include a focus on providing practical training courses for families on preparing and cooking healthy food as well as raising awareness of healthy eating.
Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Michael Collins said: “I’m delighted to be launching the Limerick Food Partnership whose key focus is awareness raising, improving access and increasing the supply of healthy food options to its target communities across Limerick.
“Limerick has such a wealth of food producers that it is important that there is a greater awareness of their produce, not just to support the industry, but to promote the advantages of buying locally produced, highest quality food and drink.
“More and more people are concerned about where and how their food is produced so local produce will tick a number of boxes including supporting jobs locally, more sustainable production and climate action”
“Limerick has proven that it works best when we all cooperate. This partnership will do that for the food sector.”
Joint Chair of LFP, Fr. Seamus Enright, C.Ss.R, stated: “The Limerick Food Partnership and the Redemptorists are currently working together on the Christmas Hamper Appeal. Getting hampers into approximately 6,000 homes in the lead up to Christmas is probably one of the biggest food initiatives in Limerick each year”.
Professor Niamh Hourigan, Sociologist and Vice-President of Academic Affairs at Mary Immaculate College, and Joint Chair of LFP said: “The LFP played a vital role during 2020 in supporting those who were experiencing food poverty in Limerick city and county. This is a very important initiative, which engages directly and indirectly with the homeless, families in emergency accommodation and other vulnerable communities. The work of the Partnership will continue to grow and develop in 2021 providing a vital umbrella network for organisations involving in food poverty issues in the region”.
There have been community-based food initiatives in Limerick City for over 20 years with the LFP in existence since early 2000’s. Limerick Food Partnership is being officially relaunched in 2020 in recognition of the significant issues emerging around food poverty in Limerick city and county.
It provides not only a network and support for partner organisations, but is also directly involved in supporting food supply, training and education. The challenges of 2020, both the Covid-19 pandemic and poverty caused by repeated lockdowns, really highlighted the clear need for the partnership and collaboration, and so the relaunch of the Limerick Food Partnership is particularly welcome at this time.