Leitrim Organic Farmers Cooperative

Leitrim Organic Farmers Coop was established in 1998 with the objectives of developing markets for its members produce and providing education and training. Since then the Cooperative has gone from strength to strength and so have its members.

We were delighted to have John Brennan from Leitrim Organic Farmers join us for the Kus Kus Virtual Learning Week and learn about the many routes to market the coop promotes and provides for its members.

An Chistin, Castlerea

An Chistin is a state-of-the-art training and community kitchen located in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon which currently offers a full-time 48 week QQI Level 5 Course in Professional Cookery under the auspices of the GRETB.
The overall aim  of An Chistin (Irish for Kitchen) is to assist unemployed people in the area of Castlerea and surrounding areas which are not otherwise catered for and to aid them to move towards employment by providing community based training and work experience leading to a nationally recognized qualification.
Find out more on https://www.facebook.com/anchistinthehub

Leitrim Food Directory and Sourcing Guide

The Leitrim Food Directory and Sourcing Guide is a Taste Leitrim initiative from Leitrim Local Enterprise Office and Leitrim County Council which is designed to connect restaurants and the retail sector with our local artisan food and drink producers and the wealth of wonderful produce on our doorstep in the county.

From farms to butchers, organic growers to sourdough bakers, small batch producers of preserves, sauces and dressings to local honey producers and chocolatiers, sushi and fresh seafoods to dairy ice-cream, kefir and cheese, to craft beers and gin distilleries and coffee –  we have a wealth of produce that we want to bring to the fore on menus across Leitrim and further afield.

See Leitrim Producers – Taste Leitrim for more details

The Food Hub

The Food Hub is a best practice food production and education facility based in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim. Since it’s establishment in 2004, it has emerged as Ireland’s premier artisan multi tenant food production enterprise centre, established by a social enterprise.

Food Production Units – The Food Hub provides 26,000 sq ft of premium food production space across 14 independent work units as well as 6,000 square feet of office space.

Community Kitchen – The Food Hub houses Ireland’s first time-share production unit where emerging food businesses can produce their products in a fully equipped kitchen!

The Food Hub facilitates Food Sector Training and delivers sectoral training programmes for the food sector – from start your own food business programmes to culinary skills.

We were delighted to interview Fergal McPartland of The Food Hub for our Kus Kus Adventures of Food Entrepreneurs Irish Multiplier Event. You can watch back the interview here:

Bia Innovator Campus

BIA Innovator Campus is a step change project that will transform the food entrepreneurship landscape in the West of Ireland. Co-located at the Teagasc campus in Athenry, it addresses a seismic need for regional food workspace infrastructure and support services and creates an exceptional bundle of food production units and co-working kitchens, learning and innovation in one location.

BIA Innovator Campus offers prospective food entrepreneurs a starting point to either begin or grow their business and connect to a community of food entrepreneurs and the agencies who will support them.

We were delighted to interview Elaine Donoghue of Bia Innovator Campus for our Kus Kus Adventures of Food Entrepreneurs Irish Multiplier Event. You can watch back the interview here:

Kus Kus Learning Event – Feb 2021

Feb 22, 2021

You can register and join us on this week long event here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Q7CuU0meSGebbBzkdymTnw

Leitrim Food Strategy

Feb 20, 2021

The Leitrim Food Strategy directly responds to Food Harvest 2020’s recommendation to invest in ideas, knowledge and skills, encourage innovation and creativity, and recognise new opportunities for collaboration across the food supply chain and with other competitors.

Food is something that connects us all. It is a driver of employment and health and a significant part of Leitrim’s economic, social, environmental and cultural identity. This Food Strategy, funded by Leitrim County Council, has been careful to play to our strengths. The focus is on being locally relevant, pragmatic, scalable and implementable. We start the Strategy by counting blessings – what makes us special. And there is a lot.

Feed who Feeds you Platform

The Ministry of Agriculture launches this platform from which any producer, in a simple and quick manner, may register and, subsequently, advertise their products and baskets available for order/delivery (and associated conditions); any consumer, with comfort and safety, may search by County and products (organic or not) and thus identify the producers in their region and order their products.


Make Food not War

The purpose of Make Food Not War is to bring the community together through vegetarian cuisine and traditional music from the Middle East, Africa and South America. Food made with heart by refugees and migrants living in Lisbon.

World cuisine to integrate refugees

The Make Food Not War project promotes dinners focused on cuisines from the Middle East, Africa, South America and Asia. Besides providing delicious meals, the project also works as a platform for integration and empowerment of refugees and migrants living in Portugal. It was launched in October 2016 in response to the war situation in Syria by Paulo Alvares, who already knew of several social projects using Middle Eastern cuisine as a way to financially help refugees. He joined Associação Crescer and Cozinha Popular da Mouraria and the aromas of the Middle East filled the kitchen.

Cozinha Popular da Mouraria (Mouraria’s Popular Kitchen), in Lisbon, is a social organisation that functions as a multicultural centre for sharing and learning, where everyone cooks and eats together. The project promotes entrepreneurship and conviviality through various activities aimed at the local community, and also encourages local production, fighting food waste.

The motto of the Make Food Not War project – Food as a vehicle for social change – is to invite refugees and migrants living in Lisbon to cook the most delicious delicacies of their region, which are then served at monthly lunches and dinners in various associations in the historic area of Lisbon. Thus, the link to the community is once more strengthened, as the places that welcome Make Food Not War are invariably other associations, which also boosts the local Lisbon community. Grupo Desportivo Adicense and Sociedade Boa-União, in Alfama, or Grupo Desportivo da Mouraria for example, have already hosted the initiative.

“To begin with, we made an “Arab Master Chef”, with 25 people from Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria and Eritrea. They formed groups of five people and after ‘castings’ a first group of cooks was chosen to cook in Mouraria’s Popular Kitchen”, said Paulo Alvares. The money raised from the meals (starters, soup, various main courses, desserts and drinks at will) is distributed among the refugees. The main purpose of the project is precisely to help those in need financially, until they find work. “When we see that they are beginning to have a more settled life we will call another group”.

The first lunches were served only to friends until one day the President of the Republic knocked on the door. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa sat at the table to support the cause and, of course, to eat, which gave wide publicity to the project.

We didn’t ask for crowdfunding, we didn’t ask for support from the government or from the City Council. Nor did we apply for any funding or said we would help migrants and refugees. First, we did it, then we spoke about it. We invested the little money we had and  pushed forward; three years later we are still here. We built bridges of dialogue instead of walls of discord. We put people in contact using traditional food as the link between different cultures. The revenue from these events goes to migrants and refugees and all those who work there. We set the tone for other businesses in this field such as Mezze, Tayybeh, etc. And since refugees and immigrants are not all from the Middle East, we have moved to other latitudes: events from Venezuela, Ghana and Nigeria.

Contacts and reservations:



Jinny’s Bakery explores multiple routes to market

Jinny’s Bakery was established in late 2003 as a small bread making business in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim. In the first week, Sinead Gillard made and sold 16 loaves under the Jinny’s Bakery brand. Jinny is Sinead’s nickname. From that very modest start, sales have grown to over half a million-euro annual turnover with the business employing over 10 staff. Now selling throughout the West and Dublin, the company also exports to France. 

Award winning ways

Jinny’s have won every award possible for the artisan bakery and have ambitious plans to continue their success into the future. Jinny’s Bakery product range includes cakes, scones, sourdough wholesome breads which have a strong health emphasis while maintaining superior taste and texture. Innovation is at the heart of their growth and with over 80 customers. The achievements of Pascal Gillard and his wife who together with their hard-working bakery crew have built a business with renowned impressive standards. For every one of their 15 years in business, they have achieved an increase in sales year on year. Their stout bread and carrot cake have been described as ‘vivid in flavour’. They deliver untold pleasure to the eater with their beautifully controlled crust and lovely crumb. 

Jinny’s growth is as a result of multiple routes to market

One of their most recent achievements is that three of their products – Irish Stout Bread Mix, Grace’s Granola and the Sourdough Croutons – have been included in SuperValu’s Food Academy Programme. See Jinny’s Bakery – SuperValu Listing.

Jinny’s have also been part of the Aldi #GrowwithAldi campaign

May be an image of 1 person and text that says '스 ALDI Aldi Ireland @Aldi_Ireland Look who's Growing with Aldi this Christmas! Find your favourite products in store from Sunday from our amazing Irish suppliers. In store for a limited time only. #GrowWithAldi Jinnj's Bakery Pascal & Sinead Gillard Co. Leitrim Grow with Aldi On sale SUN 15 NOV Stout Bread Mix €3.65 610g JINNY'S SARIHA TONtR READ Grow With Aldi aldi.ie'

Jinny’s also have an online shop:  Buy Online – Jinny’s Bakery & Tearoom, Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim

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Pascal and Sinead’s also opened Jinny’s Tearooms in 2019, it’s an inspired new food experience offering specialty teas and coffees, with delicious snacks, and light bites with emphasis on wholesome, local ingredients.

See the source image

Prospective food entrepreneurs can learn a lot from this dynamic duo. They embody all the key characteristics of a good entrepreneur –  hard work, determination, growth mindset, commitment to quality to name a few.

We were delighted to interview Pascal and Sinead of Jinnys Bakery for our Kus Kus Adventures of Food Entrepreneurs Irish Multiplier Event. You can watch back the interview here: