The big hitters of food are gathering in Waterford this weekend for GIY Growfest 2015 and Waterford Harvest Festival 2015. And they are going to be discussing a topic which may affect most of us during our lifetime. ‘Hospital Food – It’s enough to make you sick’, takes place this coming Saturday 12 September at 2pm in the Grow Tent in Waterford City.

On the panel for this meaty (excuse our pun) discussion is  renowned investigative food journalist Joanna Blythman, whose latest book ‘Swallow This’ reveals yet more horrors in the world of food production. In one instance, she relates how a pizza which was labelled ‘Country of Origin – Ireland’ contained 35 ingredients which had passed through 60 different countries on five continents.  Joanna is not one to hold back when it comes to revealing the dark secrets consumers need to know to make informed choices in food shopping. Speaking about her work, she says ‘Be under no illusion, our large food retailers and manufacturers are making a mint from selling poor people over-packaged, nutrient-light, additive-dense food products, while trumpeting how they are helping them make ends meet’.  It will be interesting to see what she has to say about hospital food, and how  the dodgy subject can be tackled amid widely recognised health service cutbacks.

Joanna will be joined by our very own homegrown real food campaigner Darina Allen, avid supporter of  Irish producers and founder of Ballymaloe Cookery School and Chairperson of Slow Food Ireland.  Darina is never short of an idea or two to create healthy affordable meals, so we are sure she’ll have more than a few ideas up her sleeve for how to address the problem of healthy food on a budget in our hospital wards. Also on the panel are  Dr. Colin Sage of University College Cork,  Professor Donal O’Shea, Consultant Endocrinologist and Physician and Ireland’s authorative voice on obesity, award winning Bloom garden-designer and author Fiann O'Nuallain, and Helena O’Brien,  President of the Catering Management Association of Ireland. Quite a line up to hear in discussion on this very sensitive topic.  It promises to be quite some debate and it could get heated!