SinCE-AFC Project Members Gather in Donegal to Learn About the Circular Economy

Last week Donegal Local Enterprise Office hosted the 5th SinCE-AFC Project meeting and study visit, welcoming representatives from Greece, Italy, Hungary, Poland and Bulgaria to Donegal to learn about how businesses in the county are making the Circular economy work for them. The study visits took place on Wednesday 3rd and Thursday 4th November. The Since-AFC project focuses on the circular economy, a restorative approach of economic development models. The circular economy provides the potential to use one’s own waste as resource input to others’ productive chain, thus offering a longer life cycle of the products and a more environmentally friendly business approach.

SinCE-AFC project partners and their stakeholders visiting EnviroGrind as part of their visit to Donegal. Photo by Joe Dunne.

Over the course of the two days, the project partners and their stakeholders visited businesses around Donegal that have adapted sustainable solutions to running their businesses. On Wednesday, the group was welcomed by Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise Donegal, before setting off to Pettigo on a site visit to EnviroGrind for a tour of the facility, which offers long term sustainable solutions for the processing of organic waste material through its state of the art in-vessel composting process. EnviroGrind processes organic waste material from sources such as gardens and parks, domestic and commercial catering, fish and shellfish.

On day two of the trip, members visited Cill Ulta in Falcarragh, a social enterprise dedicated to reviving the economic and cultural resilience of its community by promoting ecological awareness, regenerative agriculture and horticulture, sustainable energies, and the development of the circular economy. Manager of Cill Ulta, Eithne Nic Lochlainn and Erin Gonseth, Horticulturist shared the story of Na Tithe Gloine and showed delegates around the glasshouse and tunnels.

SinCE-AFC project partners on a study visit to Cill Ulta in Falcarragh to learn about the centre for sustainability, which promotes food sovereignty, sustainable energies and more. Photo by Joe Dunne.

Throughout the trip, three Donegal Food Coast restaurants showcased the best of Donegal food; delegates dined in Quay West Donegal Town, The Yellow Pepper, Letterkenny and Castle Grove House Hotel, and were hugely impressed by Donegal’s food and hospitality offering.

Earlier this year, as part of the Since-AFC project, Local Enterprise Office Donegal hosted a successful online learning event about the circular economy.

The online attendees heard from Charlie McConalogue, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, as he delivered the opening address, and Vasiliki Papadopoulou, the SinCE-AFC Lead Partner from Greece gave an introduction to the workshop and project generally.  Patrick Barrett from the Department of Agriculture discussed the need to increase circularity and decrease waste in the agri-food sector and beyond by working together to adopt more circular economy practices. Representatives from companies who have adopted circular economy practices also spoke at the event including Sally O’Kane from Frylite, Stefanos Kamperis, who spoke on behalf of Staramaki in Greece, and Alvan Hunt from Hexafly Biotech who gave an overview of the Circular economy and the circular bioeconomy, outlining the environmental efficiency of insect protein and sharing the vision that drives his business.

Online attendees and speakers attending the Zoom event in September.

SinCE – AFC is being developed along with the ongoing EU action plan for the Circular Economy and aims to involve SMEs of the Agri-Food chain in the circular economy.

Find out more about the project – CLICK HERE