The 14th Waterford Harvest Festival is set to take place from September 8th to 10th, with a strong emphasis on supporting local and Irish produce. Organised by Grow It Yourself Ireland (GIY) and funded by Waterford City and County Council, the festival aims to promote food sustainability and showcase the Irish apple. Festival directors, Rosy Bent and Shona Dubois, expressed their desire for festival-goers to prioritize local and Irish products in their grocery shopping and dining experiences. They highlighted the festival’s market, restaurant events, food trail, and harvest supper as opportunities for attendees to enjoy the rich food heritage of Waterford and its award-winning producers.
In addition to celebrating local cuisine, the Waterford Harvest Festival aims to educate visitors about the region’s food heritage. Talks on food sustainability will feature leading food writers, chefs, activists, journalists, and business people discussing topics such as GIY, food pollution and waste reduction, and supporting pollinators. The festival is committed to sustainability in all aspects, using Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO) for operations, implementing a complete plastics ban, and ensuring traders use compostable materials. Water stations for refilling bottles and a wash-up station for reusable items will also be available. Furthermore, the festival plans to distribute over 2,000 plants and countless seeds to food growing enthusiasts throughout the weekend.
Founder of GIY, Michael Kelly, highlighted the festival’s focus on sustainability and the Irish apple. He explained that the apple would serve as the central theme of the festival, including the Harvest Festival dinner menu at Grow HQ. Kelly emphasized that the Waterford Harvest Festival is a significant event in the city, marking the end of the summer festival season and offering a unique food experience for locals and visitors alike. The festival will showcase Waterford’s diverse restaurants and producers, with the Harvest Festival Market spanning several streets and squares in the city. The market will feature a wide range of traders, while the Taste Waterford kitchen stage, sponsored by Waterford’s Local Enterprise Office, will host demonstrations by local food producers and chefs.
Families attending the festival can enjoy the junior GIYers’ zone on O’Connell Street, where children can learn about farming and interact with animals. Artist Aga Krym will create a living art installation in collaboration with Slí Waterford, focusing on the United Nations’ sustainable development goal of zero hunger. Workshops on seed sowing, growing, and cooking food will be hosted by the Cool Food School and GIY. Monty Potts, the fun garden expert character from the GIY almanac, will also be present to assist participants. Additionally, art workshops, drumming sessions, storytelling, and coloring sessions will take place at Waterford City Library.
Special events at the festival include a restaurant trail and live music performances on two stages, organized by Trevor Darmody of the Waterford Academy of Music and Arts. Waterford will also host the World Honey Championships, where visitors can meet honey producers and participate in a tasting competition. All festival events are free, with the exception of the Harvest Festival supper, for which tickets can be purchased in advance on the festival’s website.