Farm Safe Schools pilot programme aims to kickstart farm safety conversations in classrooms nationwide
Agri Aware, AgriKids and the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), supported by FBD Trust have teamed up to bring the Farm Safe Schools pilot programme to Irish classrooms. The first of its kind, collaborative, pilot programme aims to engage, educate and empower Irish children to become farm safety ambassadors and in doing so help create a safer, brighter future on Irish farms.
According to the Health and Safety Authority, 23 children have died on Irish farms over the last decade as a result of farm accidents. The Farm Safe Schools team are calling on Irish primary school teachers to sign up to this innovative programme, which will provide children with key knowledge and skills that could save lives and kick start conversations within classrooms and Irish homes nationwide.
Co-developed by Agri Aware, AgriKids and IFA, The Farm Safe Schools programme has the potential to bring a dedicated farm safety education platform to every school in Ireland.
The interactive educational programme is designed to assist teachers in educating their students about the potential dangers associated with farming and agriculture, and is part of a national strategy, aimed at reducing the number of accidents on farms and in the countryside.
As an existing component of the SPHE curriculum, this programme will also provide Irish primary school classrooms with fun, interactive resources and webinars all tailored to the Farm Safe School ethos.
In order to become accredited Farm Safe Schools, teachers must cover three topics in each programme module (two topics for infant classes) and show evidence of learnings achieved for each. Teachers can create a web page, a logbook or blog page to showcase their classes’ hard work on raising farm safety awareness. They are also encouraged to share their progress via social media, using the hashtag #FarmSafeSchools.
The modules focus on the main farm hazards most pertinent to children including farmer and field safety, animal safety and machinery safety. There is also an opportunity to win prizes and to become recognised nationally that you are making a positive contribution towards farm safety in the wider, rural community.
As well as achieving the status of becoming a recognised ‘Farm Safe School’, participating schools who show excellence in each module and overall will have additional opportunities to gain rewards through the ‘FBD Farm Safe Schools Champions’ initiative.
Speaking about the new, dedicated Farm Safe Schools pilot programme, Agri Aware chairman, Alan Jagoe, who is a dairy and tillage farmer from Co Cork said:
“We are delighted to collaborate on this new Farm Safe Schools programme with AgriKids and IFA. As a farmer myself, with three young daughters, I know how important farm safety is on Irish family farms. Farm accidents have a devastating impact on Irish families and their livelihoods each year.
“I would encourage teachers nationwide to sign their classes up to this programme which is seeking to engage children from a young age on the topic of farm safety and encourage them to form life-long, positive farm safety habits. On behalf of Agri Aware, I would like to thank FBD Trust for its support of this dedicated farm safety programme,” said Mr Jagoe.
Alma Jordan, who set up Ireland’s leading farm safety platform, AgriKids in 2015, added that she feels the collaboration will lead to kick-starting conversations on farm safety both in the classroom and in households across Ireland and help create a positive culture around farm safety nationwide.
“After running AgriKids school workshops, a new objective, to bring a dedicated and supported farm safety programme to our children was realised. It is with a shared sense of relief and pride that I view the launch of this pilot between AgriKids, Agri Aware and IFA, supported by FBD Trust,” said Ms Jordan.
“We have a huge opportunity to not just create more dialogue and conversations on the topic of farm safety but to also create a greater sense of unity on the topic and an opportunity for everyone to contribute to a safer farm future for all. We all have a role to play in creating a safer culture and attitude around farm safety.”
IFA President Tim Cullinan said the new initiative to deliver a dedicated farm safety programme through schools will be an important part of raising awareness around farm safety.
“The school setting – whether in the classroom or remotely – is an excellent approach to reinforce an essential message. The experience that Agri Aware has with schools, combined with the child-centred approach of AgriKids, is an excellent partnership,” he said.
FBD Chief Commercial Officer, John Cahalan welcomed the new Farm Safe Schools programme and stated that FBD Trust is proud to support the pilot programme.
“Over the past 10 years, children have accounted for 10% of all fatalities as a result of accidents on farms. Now is the time to create a positive safety culture on farms and to succeed it is imperative that we target the farmers of the future as well as the farmers of today,” said Mr Cahalan.
“At FBD Insurance we welcome any opportunity to promote safe farm practices and we are proud to support this fantastic safety initiative, Farm Safe Schools, which aims to engage children at a young age, to teach them essential farm safety practises that will serve them well throughout their lives and to empower them to become farm safety champions.”
If you would like your school to be included in the programme pilot, which is running from March-May 2021, visit www.farmsafeschools.ie and register your school now! We will be in touch with all participating schools to confirm final details and next steps.
Primary schools nationwide show resilience and creativity in preparing to plant their own spring gardens this March despite school closures
Over 1,600 primary schools and 43,000 primary school children nationwide are showcasing resilience and creativity by preparing to plant their own spring gardens and learning all about fresh, Irish produce, despite school closures.
Agri Aware’s Incredible Edibles programme is a free, healthy eating and growing project that has been running in Irish primary schools for 13 years. Participating schools receive free grow packs that contain everything teachers and pupils need to start their very own school garden.
1,600 schools are signed up to the curriculum linked programme this year and although schools are currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, teachers and students are showing excellent resilience and creativity in finding unique ways of learning all about food origin and fresh, Irish produce through online teaching, while preparing to plant their own spring gardens in March.
One school in Co Wicklow completed a mini-project all about food origin and identifying Irish produce through online learning with their teachers. Wicklow Educate Together National School students put together posters, booklets and a fact file based on where the food in their kitchen fridges and cupboards comes from.
“We researched and learned that some food is grown in Ireland, such as strawberries and potatoes, but foods like bananas are only grown in hot places, like Africa. One pupil told us how their granny milks the cows and uses the milk to make butter and cheese,” said the Third Class students who are taught by Mercedes Russell and Eamonn O’Hanrahan.
Meanwhile, Fourth Class girls in Scoil Bhride Cailini in Blanchardstown, Dublin also got busy examining the difference between foods grown in Ireland and abroad and the meaning of the Bord Bia Quality Mark.
“One girl found a kiwi and said that it couldn't grow in Ireland because our climate isn't warm enough. Another girl then said that Ireland has the perfect climate for growing lovely carrots though – and she is right,” said the Dublin Fourth Class girls.
Ms Elizabeth Lane’s Junior, Senior, 1st and 2nd classes in Loughfouder National School, Co Kerry have also been examining the difference between processed and unprocessed foods in their kitchens and making posters.
“In our online classes this week we have been talking about the origins of food, how most of our foods come from the farm and the foods that we eat are processed or unprocessed,” said the Kerry students.
Meanwhile, Eileen Murphy’s pre-school class in Apple Tree Farm, Montessori, Goresbridge, Co Kilkenny, who are also taking part in Incredible Edibles, had a video call with a dairy farmer.
“He showed us around his milking parlour. We also read the story of The Little Red Hen which is all about making bread. We also learned that some vegetables grow underground and we eat the roots not the leaves of these vegetables and other vegetables grow overground,” said the pre-school children.
Commenting on the resilience teachers and students partaking in Incredible Edibles are showing, Agri Aware chairman, Alan Jagoe said: “I’d like to commend the teachers and students taking part in Incredible Edibles this year and I’d also like to thank parents for their support of the project in aiding their children take part in online learning.”
“While schools are closed, teachers are showing great commitment to the project by making use of the wealth of free, online resources provided on IncredibleEdibles.ie and sharing
Agri Aware teamed up with top performance nutritionist Daniel Davey on February 2nd to host an AgCredible Instagram Live series focused on the importance of eating sustainable, Irish produce from family farms in order to achieve health and fitness goals.
Davey, who is a performance nutritionist with Dublin GAA and Leinster Rugby team members and is from a sheep farm in Co Sligo, has over 80,000 followers on Instagram. Davey, was joined by Agri Aware chairman and dairy and tillage farmer, Alan Jagoe for a Live Instagram event where the pair cooked a black pudding frittata and overnight porridge oats.
They chatted about their farming backgrounds, the importance of eating locally, animal welfare, health and much more. Over 130 people tuned in to the Live event, while the recorded video has already been watched over 3,000 times.
Agri Aware is looking forward to working with Daniel in the near future to further communicate and build awareness around the important work farmers do in producing sustainable produce to the highest animal welfare standards. You can watch the event recording here