Amber Davis, of Loughfouder National School, Knocknagoshel, Co Kerry
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.
“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