For this week’s social enterprise series, Irish Country Living caught up with Imelda Mullen, organiser of the community-based social enterprise, The Cottage Market Cavan.

The enterprise has gone from strength to strength since its inception during the lockdown, now running a number of initiatives aimed at supporting local producers in Cavan and the surrounding counties.

The enterprise runs four seasonal markets in Cavan, which promote local producers and showcases local culture.

The two-day markets host arts and crafts, local live performance acts as well as workshops. However, for Imelda it is more than just about bringing local producers together and providing them with a place to sell their products.

“It is the socialising aspect of it. It is the creating local futures – that is what we want to do. We want to give people an opportunity to live and work here in Cavanand especially growers and food producers, so we provide the route to market for that in terms of the local green box and our seasonal markets.”

The Local Green Box is another initiative setup by Imelda.

Launched during the first COVID 19 lockdown, the initiative is setup as a click and collect service, consumers can place orders directly through the service, which is then fulfilled by over 20 local producers and made available for collection every Friday in Ballyconnell and Cavan Town.

“They only harvest what they have sold so there is no waste? whatsoever, so it is really good like that and you are not standing at a stall all day hoping to sell … it is all presold.”

In addition, The Cottage Market Cavan also started an initiative called ‘The Dineyard’, which runs sporadically throughout the year, in areas of rural Cavan such as pubs where food may not be served.

“We set up an area where we bring in food vans, where people can come to socialise in that area… we put on music and it is just to bring people into the towns and have something different going on.”

Imelda says Imelda credits a lot of her success to Click and Collection an Irish ecommerce platform, which enabled her to overcome the market challenges that occurred due to lockdown.

She is also currently in the process of building a new website, which is expected to go live within the first two weeks of August.

Sat 10 & Sun 11: September: Autumn, Harvest Market.

Sat 3 & Sun 4: December: Winter, Christmas Market.