Green Party election candidate, Trish Forde-Brennan has welcomed the launch of a campaign today by Food Minister Trevor Sargent to encourage school children to grow five Irish fruit and vegetable crops in the classroom. The Incredible Edible packs, prepared by Agri Aware, are being sent to schools nationwide this week.
Ms. Forde-Brennan said: “This is a great scheme with a wide range of benefits. As well as learning about healthy eating and local Irish produce, school children will be encouraged to get involved with growing their own food at home as well as in the classroom. In an era, when we are encouraging the consumption and purchase of locally produced food, we need as much education as possible on the issues involved, and there’s no better place to start, than in the classroom.”
The programme has received exceptional cross-industry support, allowing over 200,000 school children to participate, at no cost to the schools involved. In total 360,000 seeds and plants and 60 tonnes of compost will be divided and sent to every school in the country.
Green Party Minister for Food Trevor Sargent said the potential educational benefits of this campaign are immense. “Developing the food growing skills and encouraging good eating habits of the next generation will help make Ireland become a more resourceful and healthier society in the years to come,” he said.
The Incredible Edibles programme is a follow on to Agri Aware’s Meet the Spuds, Potato Growing Challenge in 2008. Each pack contains strawberries, potato, onions, cabbage and lettuce and will be accompanied by a DVD. Students will create a growing diary and document their agricultural adventure from sowing and planting in February to harvesting in June.
“Many of us may remember generations before us growing their own food and I hope this scheme will highlight the nutritional and cultural significance of Irish fruit and vegetables to those, who may never have seen a row of spuds or a strawberry bed in anyone’s garden or vegetable patch,” said Ms.Forde-Brennan