The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed has announced the six projects that will receive funding this year from his department, under the Rural Innovation and Development Fund, for initiatives to promote and develop agri-food tourism in rural areas.

‘Agri-food tourism’ is essentially the practice of touring rural regions to visit areas of well-known agricultural produce and to sample and taste the local or regional produce or cuisine.

Agri-tourism includes a wide variety of activities that may also involve staying on-farm, participation in agricultural endeavours or buying produce direct from a farm or market.

In his announcement, Minister Creed said: “I am pleased to support a number of exciting initiatives across the country in the vibrant sector of agri-food tourism.

“Food Wise 2025 highlights the natural synergy between agri-food and local tourism. I believe that agri-food tourism is of great importance for rural areas in order to showcase their people, landscape, history and culture through agricultural produce, food and drink, and local cuisine.

In addition, it provides opportunities for rural businesses, including farmers, producers and artisans, to develop their products and services, connect with the community and visitors to an area, and improve skills and best practice.

The minister has awarded funding of over €277,000 across six separate agri-food tourism initiatives, following a competitive process under the Rural Innovation and Development Fund.

The agri-food tourism projects also encompass local food, farmer and artisan market schemes that support local and seasonal food producers and artisan crafts.

According to the Department of Agriculture, funding will go to the following initiatives:

  • Astec Global Consultancy – ‘Agri-Food Tourism Experiences’ – Bringing Visitors Home – The provision of opportunities for local agricultural communities and families to offer unique culinary experiences direct to the tourist (€44,060);
  • Carlow CC – ‘Food Trail Development Project’ –Agri-Food Tourism Cluster Development that will provide training and mentoring for food business with promotional activities and training to showcase and develop food talent in Carlow (€47,950);
  • Donegal County Council – ‘ISLE Tourism’ – ISLE (Islands Sustainable Living & Education Tourism) tourism project is an innovative sustainable tourism and education project focused on the Donegal Islands and coastal areas, including seafood, aquaculture, and artisan island food (€49,250);
  • Kilkenny County Council – #tastekilkenny (phase 2) – Phase 2 of ‘Taste Kilkenny’, To support the further expansion of #TasteKilkenny through 7 elements that include cluster expansion, promotional activities, training and mentoring as well as the development of the food network (€40,250);
  • O’Connell Marketing, Sales and Communications – Co. Wexford Agri-Food Tourism – The development and promotion of the events and activities linked with the County Wexford Food Tourism Strategy, involving a range of stakeholders (€46,883);
  • Waterford City and County Council – Food, The Waterford Way – To expand and develop the Food Tourism proposition in County Waterford through the development of connections between the Waterford Way food trail and farmers markets (€49,000).
The successful projects were chosen by an evaluation committee with members from the Department of Agriculture, Bord Bia and Failte Ireland following a competitive procurement process.