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Agri Aware’s Environmental Innovators programme opens after successful pilot year

September 9, 2023

Michael Geary

Agri Aware in collaboration with BiOrbic Bioeconomy SFI Research Centre are delighted to announce the opening of the Transition Year (TY) programme Environmental Innovators for 2023-2024 after a successful pilot year.

This programme challenges TY students to create sustainable food solutions as well to generate an awareness of the many challenges facing our global food system.

The students who take part in the programme are tasked with proposing sustainable food solutions for the future.

Environmental Innovators will introduce students to the various challenges that our environment faces due to the food system and also the challenges the food system creates for the environment.

Globally human consumption of our natural resources has increased in line with the demand for food. This means that the ways that our food gets from farm to fork must evolve to meet global sustainability objectives.

The students of today are the decision-makers of tomorrow. The Environmental Innovators programme encourages innovative thinking, problem-solving and global citizenship through sustainable food systems education.

The programme consists of the four main chapters of Waste, Climate, Biodiversity and Land Use with interactive video, mapping and debate tasks offered throughout. The end-of-programme project ask is for students to propose their own ideas for the world’s future food system.

Over 7,500 TY students from 169 schools took part in the programme nationwide in the first year of its roll-out. Five top group finalists were chosen to attend the event and showcase their idea to a number of leading agri-food stakeholders, giving them the opportunity to meet like-minded peers and to demonstrate their learning over the course of the programme.

Once again this year, the finalists will be invited to present their ideas to leading agri-food stakeholders. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to meet like-minded peers and demonstrate their learning over the course of the programme.

Speaking at the launch of the Environmental Innovators programme ahead of the 2023-2024 academic year, Agri Aware Executive Director Marcus O’Halloran said: “We were delighted and very impressed with the response to the pilot year of Environmental Innovators.

“It was very encouraging to see so many students and teachers alike get involved with the programme in its first year.

“Agri Aware is delighted to once again team up with BiOrbic this year to deliver the programme and we are very intrigued to see what sustainable food solutions students propose for the future.”

Also speaking at the launch of this year’s Environmental Innovators programme was Kevin O’Connor, Director of BiOrbic. He said: “BiOrbic is delighted to continue our support of Agri Aware’s Environmental Innovators programme. The energy and creativity of the students is inspiring. Young people, as innovators of the future, are empowered by this programme as it helps them to develop and showcase their ideas not only to their peers but also to their communities.”

Agri Aware Executive Director Marcus O'Halloran and BiOrbic Director Kevin O'Connor at the UCD O'Brien Centre for Science