From Incredible Edibles to AgCredibles, read what Agri Aware has been up to in January!
Click the button below to listen to Agri Aware Director Deirdre O'Shea's chat with journalist Tamara Payne about the role of women in agriculture.
Tipperary native Marcus O’Halloran has been appointed to the role of Executive Director of the Irish agri educational body, Agri Aware.
Marcus is currently working for the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) as the Regional Executive for counties Tipperary and Clare. He has held numerous roles within the organisation including Countryside Development Executive.
Marcus holds the distinction of being the first Agricultural Science student to be elected to the prestigious position of president of the students’ union while in his alma mater - UCD.
During his term as president he delivered numerous successful events, raised substantial funds from external partners and significantly increased participation rates in events.
Joining the team
Speaking this week, Marcus said he is looking forward to taking up his new post.
“I am delighted to be joining Agri Aware as Executive Director. The agri industry is facing many difficult challenges with public perception of our production systems under constant attack,” said Mr O’Halloran.
“The organisation has supported the positive message of agriculture to the public for 20 years and will play a pivotal role in turning around this negative narrative into the future.”
Agri Aware Chairman, Alan Jagoe, said he is looking forward to Marcus joining the Agri Aware team.
“Marcus will bring a host of new skillsets and experience to the organisation and will be a dynamic team leader at a time of considerable change in the industry,” said Mr Jagoe.
“Promoting the positive message of agriculture to the general public and communicating the important role that Irish farmers play has been never more important. I wish Marcus the very best of luck in his new role”.
Marcus will take over the role from current Executive Director Deirdre O’Shea at the end of February.
Today (December 1st) Agri Aware launched its December Social Media Campaign, “What does buying local mean?”, to raise awareness among consumers about the importance of buying local and supporting Irish farmers and food producers this Christmas.
The campaign aims to celebrate Irish farmers and small businesses across the country by expressing the many benefits of supporting local businesses and buying seasonal products for their festive feasts this Christmas.
The three-week long campaign will feature a daily video from various Agri Aware patron members, sharing with consumers what buying local means to them, up until Christmas Day. The videos aim to tell a collective story that by supporting Irish farmers and small businesses, you are supporting Irish jobs, communities, businesses, and the wider circular economy of Ireland.
The videos will be broadcasted across Agri Aware’s social media channels and website. There is also a competition for the public to get involved in the campaign by liking and sharing the videos, and using the hashtag #BuyLocalBuyIrish to be in with the chance to win a family pass to Dublin Zoo. Head to www.agriaware.ie/buylocal for more information.
Alan Jagoe, Chairman of Agri Aware said in regards to the campaign: “Buying local and buying Irish means supporting the farmers of Ireland, who work tirelessly to produce food for both the 4.8 million people living in Ireland and 50 million across the globe. Money that is spent locally is put back into the communities and wider economies of Ireland, harnessing the magic of the many small towns and villages that make our Irish countryside so unique and homely”.
Thousands of pupils set to sow, grow and cook with Agri Aware’s Incredible Edibles programme
Agri Aware today (Monday 4th November) launched its national healthy eating initiative “Incredible Edibles”. Now in its 12th year, the free initiative for primary schools aims to educate students on how to sow, grow and cook an array of Irish fruit and vegetables to help them get their 7 a day! Schools across Ireland will receive free grow packs including compost, seeds to grow their own school garden along with curriculum-linked interactive educational resources – including lessons on food origin, the health benefits of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and cooking tasks.
According to the National Children’s Food Survey 2019, conducted by the Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance (IUNA), intakes of fruit and vegetables are still low amongst 5 – 12-year olds in Ireland, about 3 servings per day, well below the recommended 5 to 7-a-day.
Agri Aware’s Incredible Edibles is a free healthy eating initiative that is supported by the Department of Education and the Department of Health through the Healthy Ireland framework, the Department of Agriculture, Bord Bia and the horticulture industry.
Speaking at the launch, Chairman of Agri Aware, Alan Jagoe said: “There are a number of benefits to school gardens. As a farmer myself, it is great to see children learn first-hand how to grow and cook their own healthy foods, as well as learning about the work carried out by Irish farmers to produce food for 50 million consumers worldwide. By empowering students in this way, you are guiding them towards a healthier lifestyle. Healthy eating guidelines now suggest that children consume seven+ portions of fruit and vegetables a day – Incredible Edibles is a free healthy eating resource which teachers can use to increase awareness of the production and consumption of healthy Irish produce”.
To register your school for the project or for further information visit www.incredibleedibles.ie
It’s Hedgerow Week! This week aims to emphasise and promote the importance of protecting the quality of our native Irish hedgerows in order to support habitats for all species who rely on them.
To celebrate Irish Bioeconomy Week, Agri Aware, Beacon Bioeconomic Research Centre and UCD Agriculture & Food Science teamed up to bring the 5th class students of D7 Educate Together an educational module “Gut Health – It’s a pig deal!” in the family farm at Dublin Zoo. The students got to learn how after a piglet is weaned from its mother, the transition from milk to solid food can cause bad bacteria to grow in the pig’s large intestine, leading to sickness and infection.
Natural remedies to encourage the growth of good bacteria and fight off bad bacteria are mushrooms and seaweed.This is because they both contain special types of carbohydrates, which don’t break down easily in the stomach. Instead, these carbohydrates get broken down in the large intestine, and help to improve pig gut health!
The students then received a tour of family farm, with a special stop at the pig’s pen to have a go at feeding them mushrooms themselves and a certificate of achievement to bring home!
Winners of the 2019 Incredible Edibles project unveiled at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin
On Friday, (October 11th, 2019) Agri Aware, Ireland’s agri-food educational body were joined by 3rd and 4th class pupils of St. Oliver Plunkett's National School, Killina, Co. Kildare at the National Botanic Gardens where they were crowned winners of the 2019 Incredible Edibles project. The lucky students got to dig in to a day of learning about all things gardening with a planting workshop, a tour of the native Irish plants, Viking house and the infamous Palm glasshouse!
The Incredible Edibles project undertaken by some 1300 schools in 2019 aims to educate and empower children with knowledge of the full farm to fork journey, with schools receiving a free kit containing all the must have tools to start their very own school garden. From compost to seed potatoes, the pack also includes a host of accompanying curriculum linked educational resources. The importance of empowering students through food education is paramount to ensuring health in later life.
Speaking about the project Alan Jagoe, Chairman of Agri Aware said “It is great to see the impact the Incredible Edibles programme has had on the school children here today. Whilst new figures relating to obesity are positive with 78% of children within a healthy weight range, awareness and exposure to fruit and vegetables is important for a healthy balanced diet as they grow. This year over 1300 schools participated nationally, which equates to around 47,000 students right across Ireland, learning where their food comes from and how to produce food for themselves. The aim of this programme is to encourage healthier diet habits and ultimately lead to healthier children and adults down the line”.
The initiative is supported by the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Health and Children, through the Healthy Ireland framework, the Department of Agriculture, Bord Bia and the horticulture industry.
Registration is now open for the 2020 Incredible Edibles’ project and you can visit www.incredibleedibles.ie to register today!
2019 Incredible Edibles Second Prize Winners Take to the Fields of Country Crest.
On Tuesday, September 24th, 2019, Agri Aware, Ireland’s agri-food educational body, recognised the third-class pupils from Gorey Central School in Co. Wexford, as the 2019 Incredible Edibles runner-up winners. Over 1,300 schools across Ireland participated in the 2019 Incredible Edibles programme. The second prize winners received a VIP visit to Country Crest, where they were taken on a guided tour around the farm. The students learned all about the company’s biodiversity and sustainability measures as well as visiting their wind turbine, and cattle feeding unit. Country Crest not only provided goodie bags of fruit and potatoes for all pupils, but they also presented a polytunnel to the school to help them to continue their gardening journey.
Michael Hoey; Country Crest Co-Founder and Managing Director welcomed the primary school students to their farm. “It’s brilliant to see how these young school children have embraced the Incredible Edibles project, their enthusiasm for learning how to grow fruit and vegetables, and their appreciation of healthy seasonal food and where it comes from.”
Alan Jagoe, Chairman of Agri Aware stated, “As a farmer and father to three young girls, I know the importance of teaching them where their food comes from as well as enabling them to make healthy choices for their present and future health. Incredible Edibles encourages children from a young age to sow, grow and eat their own seasonal Irish produce, which greatly influences their food choices and results in a greater understanding of healthy eating.”
Agri Aware will prepare to launch the 2020 Incredible Edibles project on Friday, October 4th, 2019. For more information and to register, please visit our Incredible Edibles website www.incredibleedibles.ie.
Agri Aware Ireland’s agri-food educational body have joined forces with BEACON Ireland’s national Bioeconomy Research Centre and IFFPG (Irish Farm Film Producers Group) for this year’s Ploughing Championships.
Many visitors will remember Agri Aware’s Red Shed from previous years – this year the shed will take visitors on an interactive journey to find out more about the exciting research going on in the Bioeconomy sphere across Ireland and the positive role it plays in Ireland’s agri-food industry with the development of new packaging, products and more.
There will be a packed “Shed-ule” of activities for visitors to enjoy. Highlights including daily debates on plastics, the role of the agri-food sector in the bioeconomy etc; live experiments, panel discussions, giveaways, interactive displays and more. Organisations included in our panel discussions include: Friends of the Earth, the EPA, IFA, Clean Coasts, BEACON, IFFPG, Department of Environment, An Táisce, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Repak and many more.
In a time where focus is on feeding a growing population and climate change mitigation there are some really interesting solutions for a circular economy on the way. Many see Ireland as having the potential to become a global leader in this area through a co-ordinated approach that harnesses Ireland’s natural resources and given the role agri-food business and farming has in society here we have a competitive advantage in this area.
You can visit us at Row 17, Stand 382