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Gildernew drives local produce message at Test Fest 2008

8 August, 2008

Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA addressed local business and community leaders at the launch of Taste Fest 2008 at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast today.

During Féile an Phobail each year, Curley's, now owned by Sainsbury's Supermarkets, host the event described as a celebration of Irish produce and showcasing local food and drink products. Over 50 exhibitors from across the island participated in cookery demonstrations and sampling to the delight of Kennedy Centre visitors during the event.

The Minister congratulated organisers and exhibitors alike for highlighting the wealth of quality local food available on our doorstep. She said: "This is the third year of the Taste Fest and I would congratulate the organisers on this hugely successful event. I know Curleys have a tradition of supporting our local producers and indeed through their very own slogan, 'Buy local - we do!' encourage their customers to do just that and buy local. I know Sainsbury's have also made clear their intentions to purchase local produce wherever possible which again is very encouraging for the future.

"Shoppers should also recognise that by choosing local produce not only are they providing their family with nutritional goodness, but they are also voting for fewer food miles and supporting local producers in rural communities."

The Minister added: "The variety of products on display at the Taste Fest once again goes to prove the underlying strength of our agri-food industry and the quality of its products.

"If producers, processors and retailers continue to work together, with governmental assistance where needed, and deliver what the consumer wants, I believe that we will achieve a further increase in the use of local produce for the benefit of all." ENDS

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