Minister of State with responsibility for Research & Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development, Martin Heydon today announced the extensive expansion of the food innovation centre, The Kerry Food Hub, located in Firies, County Kerry.
Through significant Enterprise Ireland investment, the centre will grow from four 1,000sq ft units employing 35 people to 14, 1,000sq ft units, delivering 100 direct and a further 62 indirect local jobs. The Kerry based not-for-profit community project was the vision of local farmer David Gleeson. He founded a group of local social based entrepreneurs with the aim to enhance employment opportunities in the region and make the community it serves a “better place to live”.
The expansion of the Kerry Food Hub and the launch of a tailored online B2B Artisan Marketplace connecting hospitality providers with local Artisan producers aims to simplify the process of buying Hero Foods OR "Food with a story”. The platform aligns, and directly responds to an identified tourism industry need - specifically the need to showcase local ‘hero’ foods to visitors.
Speaking this week, Minister of State with special responsibility for Research and Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development at the Department of Agriculture, Martin Heydon said, "Today is yet another notable milestone as we move to a robust re-localised focus on food and the agriculture supply chain. Digital transformation reshapes the market relationship by creating new bridges between independent local artisan food producers and buyers. I am confident the combination of dedicated food-grade production space and the B2B eCommerce Marketplace will inspire opportunities and develop the next generation of producers in the region, delivering national impacts for the sector."
Chairman & Founder, David Gleeson added, "Without support from Enterprise Ireland this expansion project may not have been realised. In addition, this initiative has been supported by the local community, North East West Kerry Development, Kerry County Council, Kerry Group and Clann Credo. This €2M investment will ensure the hub acts as a key source of employment within a local community that has experienced significant population growth but has lacked economic development."