Agri Aware continues to educate Irish students about the benefits of healthy eating

Agri Aware, Ireland’s independent agri-food educational body, says healthy eating and knowledge of the farm to fork pathway for Irish students has always been a key message to shape the future eating habits of our country.

It follows the news that Britain looks set to incorporate horticulture into its primary school curriculum: Ireland has already been delivering the key messages about food origin and the health benefits of fruit and vegetables to students over the past 5 years.

Supported by Bord Bia and the Irish horticulture industry, significant resources were attributed to the delivery of Agri Aware’s ‘Incredible Edibles’ project, giving every primary school across Ireland the opportunity to grow fruit and vegetables and to learn about their health attributes. Agri Aware’s ‘Incredible Edibles’ project is recognised at European level; the Chairman and Executive Director, Bernard Donohue and Dr. Vanessa Woods, were recently invited to participate in a European Obesity Stakeholder conference in Brussels, to advise our European neighbours about this key initiative to shape the eating habits of future generations.

Agri Aware’s Chairman, Bernard Donohue says the announcement of the possible addition of horticulture to the British school curriculum shows the importance our UK neighbours are putting on food and nutrition and especially the crucial role of healthy eating habits for primary school students. He also pointed out that this is a message that Agri Aware has long been promoting, through its Incredible Edibles programme.

 

“Agri Aware’s Incredible Edibles project is about new habits and new attitudes to healthy eating,” said Mr Donohue, “and crucially, about encouraging their formation from as young an age as possible. The more involvement that parents, schools and teachers can have in creating these habits and promoting a love of fresh Irish potatoes, fruits and vegetables in children’s diets, the better for everyone, especially the children themselves.”

The Incredible Edibles initiative is now in its 5th year, linking horticultural activities to other elements of the Irish school curriculum. It has received resoundingly positive feedback from teachers who have taken part since its creation. Of those surveyed, who took part in last year’s project, 98% believed the Incredible Edibles tasks were beneficial in helping to promote a healthy diet among students. Mr Donohue says this figure reflects the popularity of the programme and shows that healthy eating is of interest to both teachers and students.

General Secretary of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, Sheila Nunan, pointed out how beneficial it was to have the majority of Irish schools already doing work in this field as part of Agri Aware’s Incredible Edibles programme. “Teachers are and have long been very enthusiastic about the Incredible Edibles project,” Ms Nunan said, “and they report back that their pupils enjoy it immensely too.”

Agri Aware’s 2013 Incredible Edibles programme will be officially launched on 21 February 2013 in Family Farm, developed by Agri Aware and Dublin Zoo. Visitors to Family Farm can view the Incredible Edibles garden, where thousands of students also have an opportunity to learn about healthy eating. Schools registered for the Incredible Edibles programme receive resources such as: grow-pots, compost, a raised bed, a range of seeds, log books, lesson plans, educational DVDs and much more.

For more information, visit www.incredibleedibles.iewww.agriaware.ieand www.thefamilyfarm.ie.

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