The ‘Artisans Market Day’ event at Alexandra College is a super way for students to channel their creative talents.

This initiative teaches them about food production, marketing, budgeting and highlights the general business skills involved in setting up a food enterprise.

The 2018 Artisans Market takes place on the 28th of April, from 11.00am – 2.00pm and is supported by The Joan Davies Foundation.

Our Transition Year students have been divided into four groups, each forming a company that will sell their delicious produce at the Alexandra Artisans Market.

This year we can look forward to tasting food from:

Each of the four companies are asked to donate a percentage of their profits to a charity of their choice, which also teaches them about corporate social responsibility.

The event is inspired by the Taste Council and Bord Bia initiative ‘The Future is Food’ which challenges second level students to create an enterprise based on fresh food. The purpose of participating is to provide the pupils with an active learning experience. Students participating experience what it is like to work as an Artisan food producer, developing and producing a food product, while working with established Artisans who act as mentors and guides.

The TY students in Alexandra College set up food companies each spring. They must research and choose their own products and suppliers, and even grow their own vegetables and plants in our poly-tunnel here on the Alex campus. They then design innovative and exciting recipes which are always received well by customers at the Artisan food market.

Alexandra College Alumnae have generously provided funding to help the pupils present a very professional business to the public.

We hire marquees and source cooking and catering equipment; meanwhile, kitchens all over Dublin are transformed into busy (and messy!) food production hubs.

Like all good projects, it is necessary to acquire funds to help the students’ prepare for the day and to run the Artisan Day event – all of this can be very costly.

The hire of the equipment needed to facilitate the four companies is the bulk of the expense but other costs are also incurred. From a marketing budget to prize money, Alexandra College are looking to seek sponsors who would like to support the annual event. This event is highly valuable in teaching the TY students valuable business skills. The College wants to keep on growing the event, reaching new heights of success each year.

Students are encouraged to embrace the challenges along the way with optimism and creativity, and their parents/guardians assist by offering practical support.

In order to understand the concept of artisan food, the pupils visit a selection of farmers’ markets and speak to suppliers of vegetables, fruit, bread and a diverse range of food products.

We have found that this leads to students forming excellent relationships with artisan producers as they negotiate with them, cutting deals and agreeing ondelivery dates.

Early on the morning of Market Day, the marquees are erected in the quadrangle and the students prepare their stalls to be ‘customer-ready’ by 11.00am.

The practical skills of growing and harvesting fruit and vegetables, setting up an actual company, marketing and financing a company and ultimately preparing a community market day will stay with the pupils for the rest of their lives. This project contributes hugely to the holistic development of each individual student who takes part in the Transition Year Programme.

Final awards are presented to the girls on their TY graduation night on 16th of May.

So it’s aprons at the ready for what promises to be a delicious day out!

 


If you are interested in becoming a valued sponsor of the event please contact Rebecca Connolly (rebeccaconnolly@alexandracollege.ie).

Alexandra College and particularly the TY students would be very grateful.

 

Below are some photos from last years Artisans Market Day