2016 Press Releases

Harvest time on campus for Farm to Fork 'first'

27 Sep 2016
Students and staff gathered at the iconic Quadrangle today as the first harvest of vegetables and herbs from the KSG UCC Farm to Fork programme arrived on campus by traditional tractor and trailer.

UCC students and staff gathered at the iconic Quad today for the arrival of the first harvest of vegetables and herbs from the KSG UCC Farm to Fork initiative, the first of its kind in any university in Ireland.

The Farm to Fork initiative was developed by KSG Catering Ltd, the largest Irish-owned catering service provider, in partnership with UCC, with crops grown on the university land and then harvested for use in the campus restaurants.

KSG Catering operate the farm in conjunction with Nigel Martin, a farmer in Curraheen who has assisted with the planting, growing and harvesting on the farm located close by. Eight acres of crops planted in late Spring are now yielding a harvest of fresh vegetables and herbs including carrots, turnips, parsnips, beetroot and herbs such as rosemary, mint and thyme. 

The farm will continue to produce these crops for the UCC restaurants until February when the ground will be ploughed and replanted for the next cycle of growth through spring and summer.

Staff and students alike including Professor John O'Halloran, Vice-President for Teaching & Learning and Chair of the Green Campus Forum at UCC, enjoyed the fresh harvest produce as they tucked into Beef and Vegetable Stew in the university restaurant today.

Professor John O’Halloran said: “As the world’s first Green Flag Campus, we are delighted to see that the Farm to Fork project is coming to fruition with the produce being used directly by KSG in the campus restaurants.  As they say, If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far go together and I think that is particularly relevant for this project. UCC and KSG worked collaboratively to further develop our Green Campus with sustainability to the forefront of our mission.”

Michael Gleeson, Managing Director of KSG commented: “This has been a really exciting project, which has operated in full partnership with the college and we are delighted to be growing on UCC land to support the campus restaurant operations in a unique way.  The vegetables from the farm are excellent quality and they are now used in a range of dishes on our menus.

"Food is our passion and we have a consistent focus on sustainability and we are thrilled to be growing our own food.  KSG Catering has also won the 2016 Irish Food Made Good Champion award from the London-based Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) for its activities on the UCC Campus and the national award was presented to KSG by Jamie Oliver and Raymond Blanc earlier in 2016.”

The goal of the project is to provide sustainable local healthy produce for KSG’s thirteen restaurants and cafes, directly connecting the ecosystem to the plates of students and staff daily on campus. 

Eolann Sheehan, UCC Student Union President said: “With all students and staff recently returned to campus we’re delighted to hear of this healthy environmentally friendly initiative. It’s important for students to have healthy options to fuel their body and minds as they undertake the academic year ahead.  We’re very proud of our green campus for developing local produce rather than importing from thousands of miles away.”

Dr Michael Murphy, President of UCC, said: “Our mission at UCC is to advance excellence in every aspect of university life.  With a firm focus on sustainability and healthy living we are delighted to work with KSG Catering on delivering a local healthy menu for our student population. Having been awarded the international Green Flag for environmental friendliness in 2010 and also the ISO50001 standard in energy management we are keen to constantly build our sustainability awareness and limit our carbon footprint.”

For further information or imagery: Mari O’Leary or Karleen Smyth at O’Leary PR on 01-6789888 

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF