SCARECROWS, COOKING AND MUSIC IN BALLON!
Surrounded by intermittent showers and amazing scarecrows designed and fabricated by the local school, the community of Ballon warmly embraced the concept behind ‘Food Rescue’, a public awareness event highlighting the economic, social and environmental impacts resulting from food waste. Children from the Ballon National School designed creative food rescue posters, some of which even had innovative recipes to use leftovers and less than perfect food.
The Ballon Street and Food Rescue Festival, one of only three Irish events recognised by the European Sustainable Development Week, saw a crowd of around 150, who enjoyed the musical talents of the Rathanna Band, KHA Choir, Disarm the Geese, the Shakers and John Kelly throughout the day. Local talented chefs fired up the BBQ to create an extensive buffet of chicken, hamburgers, salads, potatoes and fruit salad for dessert, all made from food that was destined for the bin due to short use-before or best-before dates. Mindy O’Brien from VOICE, which developed the Food Rescue initiative, gave an introductory talk on food waste, its impacts and how to reduce it in our homes.
Local celebrity chef, Anne Neary from the Ryeland Cookery School, tempted us with delicious mushroom appetisers, which used stale bread as a tasty crust. We went on to the main course with a sumptuous salmon and dessert was a rhubarb tart which used stale digestives on the crust to absorb the liquid…very creative and fabulous!
Like the Pied Piper, the Rathanna Band led a procession of children up the hill to participate in traditional games and races. They were later awed by a magician’s slight of hand. Parents stuck around either to participate in some set dancing with the Dolment Set Dancers or find out how to compost their food and garden waste with Paul Cutler.
A big thanks goes out to the Ballon Improvement Group for making this event truly memorable and to Carlow County Council for its financial assistance and loan of their wooden cabins.
The Ballon Street and Food Rescue Festival had something for everyone and illustrated the community spirit and progressive environmental enterprise that permeates the culture in Carlow. Ballon last year received the first Tidy Town Waste Prevention Award for their Siopa Glas Shop, which sells previously loved items such as clothes, shoes, bric a brac, bikes, etc with all the profits going back into the community.