The Northern Ireland team working with the Belfast Food Network recently made a fruitful connection between a social and therapeutic horticulture project and a local café, strengthening local supply chain connections, and bringing lovely fresh veg into one of our favourite cafes.
L’Arche Belfast is a lovely project which provides social housing for people with intellectual disabilities, and also runs a number of spin off projects around growing, cooking and arts. L’Arche provides recreational placements as well as training placements for people, and has recently been expanding their production. L’Arche residents are familiar faces in the cafes along the Ormeau Road in Belfast, which is why it made total sense for one of the local cafes to start buying from their Green Buds box scheme, and telling their customers where the veg is coming from.
KaffeO is a local café with a Nordic theme. All the food is made on site using quality raw ingredients, and try to select ethical producers. They serve great vegan and vegetarian food and local smoked salmon. KaffeO invited some of L’Arches talented gardeners to visit the kitchen and see their produce being transformed into delightful healthy meals for the café. Two project participants are actually now doing work placements in Kaffe-O’s kitchen, where they get to work with the produce first hand.
Both organisations are interested in a farm to fork mentality where producers can see veg being used and enjoyed by people who value the love and care that has been put into it. This is also one example of wider work the Belfast Food Network is doing to promote our thriving food economy, built on healthy, fresh, local organic and seasonal produce.
If your project in Northern Ireland is producing a surplus and would be interested in being linked with a local business, get in touch, to see what they can do for you.