The Kerry Food Hub has announced the official opening of ten new 1,000ft2 food-production units, as well as the launch of its artisan online marketplace.
Newly established units are part of the not-for-profit community project located in Firies, Co. Kerry, comprising four existing production units including 40 employees across four local food producers.
The Kerry Food Hub said:
“This expansion will allow new food entrepreneurs to enter the market and facilitate established brands to scale up, delivering 162 local jobs and contributing an estimated €3 million in new income to the Kerry economy.”
The project was founded in 2016 by local farmer David Gleeson who assembled a group of local social entrepreneurs to enhance employment opportunities in the region, making it a “better place to live”.
The food hub also launched its artisan online marketplace, artisanmarket.ie, which focuses on sales and the exchange of information between local food producers and buyers in the retail and hospitality sectors.
Producers can grow and reshape the local food ecosystem across traditional industry borders, while the platform also facilitates the creation of innovative business models, according to the project.
“The platform offers the opportunity to re-think how we support our local food producers, providing a sharper focus on what consumers and visitors want to experience – great local food,” the food hub said.
The Kerry Food Hub
Investment of €2 million ensures that The Kerry Food Hub will be a crucial source of employment within the local community, according to Gleeson.
The project is supported by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment through Enterprise Ireland, and received over €1.2 million under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) and the Regional Enterprise Transition Scheme (RETS).
Regional director for the mid-west and regional programmes at Enterprise Ireland, Jerry Moloney said that the project will deliver a key piece of infrastructure for the southwest.
The food hub is also financially supported by the local community, North East West Kerry Development, Kerry County Council, Kerry Group and Clann Credo.