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Agri Aware bringing a farm to your classroom virtually returns after successful pilot year

September 21, 2023

Michael Geary

Agri Aware is delighted to announce the return of the popular Farming Through the Seasons for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Launching at this year’s National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co. Laois, the popular primary school resource is back for teachers and students to engage with.

Primary school students across the country will be able to see what a day in the life of a farmer entails at different stages of the year through virtual visits from a range of farming enterprises.

In its pilot year, Farming Through the Seasons was a tremendous success with the programme finishing last June with its summer session.

In total, the programme impacted 19,649 students across 519 primary schools with participation in the programme coming in the form of live participation through webinars and also watch backs on YouTube.

Breaking down those figures of students who engaged in the programme further, 61% were from rural areas and 31% from urban areas.

Feedback from the programme was also very positive with 96% of teachers saying they would recommend the programme to a colleague.

For this academic year, Agri Aware aims to increase the number of webinars and also the farms to include pig and horticulture enterprises.

This project is once again being brought to schools thanks to the generous support of Agri Aware patrons Tirlán, ABP, Kerry Group and Dawn Meats.

For many primary school students, their first experience of where their food comes from shopping with their parents in the supermarket. Farming Through the Seasons is an important programme to combat the ever growing disconnect between Irish food producers and consumers about how food is produced.

Farming Through the Seasons can help to break that disconnect at a young age and show children how the food they eat end ups on their plate.

This programme not only helps to show children where their food comes from but also acts as a brilliant opportunity for Irish farmers to showcase the outstanding standards they implement on a daily basis on their farms in terms of animal welfare, food production, the environment and farm safety.

Commenting on the return of Farming Through the Seasons, Agri Aware Executive Director Marcus O’Halloran said: “Farming Through the Seasons was a tremendous success last year that we were keen to continue this year.

“It helps to bridge that knowledge gap that exists about consumers not knowing where their food comes from and for us to be able to bridge that gap at any early age is very important.

“It’s our responsibility to educate children where their food comes from and to showcase to them what Irish farmers are doing to produce quality and sustainable food.

“We are grateful for the continued support from Tirlán, ABP, Kerry Group and Dawn Meats who have mobilised to help bring farmers into classrooms virtually across the country with us.

“We are hoping to build on the success of the programme this coming year and introduce more farming enterprises to showcase the diverse range of quality and sustainable food products being produced on Irish farms.”

Also speaking at the launch of Farming Through the Seasons was Chairman of Tirlán, John Murphy. He said: “Every day our family farms are working hard to produce nutritious food in a sustainable manner. We are delighted to support this great initiative from Agri Aware.

“Our farmers are proud to tell the story of Irish food and it is great to have the opportunity to bring farms to life virtually in our schools and for our future generations.”