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In full Bloom - Agri Aware's Bloom garden features in this weeks Irish Country Living

Agri Aware's Bloom garden features in this weeks Irish Country Living.

Agri Aware celebrates agriculture with its unique Bloom Garden - ‘My land, your land – Ireland’

Agri Aware, Ireland’s independent educational body, will bring agriculture to life in the heart of Dublin with a unique show garden at Bord Bia’s Bloom festival in the Phoenix Park.

Now in its 20th year, Agri Aware aims to communicate the importance of Ireland’s farming and agri-food sector to the general public through their exciting and interactive concept garden, entitled “My land, your land – Ireland”.

The garden will show how farming, with the help of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), is embracing sustainable practices and producing safe, affordable, quality and traceable food for Irish consumers and the export market.

Agri Aware’s executive director, Deirdre O’Shea, is excited about the garden.

“We are always looking for new ways to engage our audience and educate the general consumer about the importance of our agri-food sector and the ‘My land, your land – Ireland’ garden is an exciting new way to do this.”

The red shed

Agri Aware’s garden tells the story of Irish agriculture and food through a farm-to-fork food circle, which has been cultivated into the garden by designer Tünde Szentesi.

It will demonstrate a variety of farming practices that can be seen across the countryside, including our unique grass-fed dairy and beef systems, a woodland area, a fruit and vegetable garden, and a diverse range of crops and trees.

A traditional hedgerow and wildflowers will also be on show in the garden, as well as a composting area and a water conservation unit showing the measures taken by farmers to protect our environment and countryside.

At the heart of the garden is a traditional red hay shed. It will feature a kitchen and dining area with live cooking demos and topical workshops with leading figures in the agri industry. It promises to be a real hive of entertainment.

Other interesting features include in-season fruit, vegetables and crops, agri-food personalities, farm animals and sounds, which will all bring the garden to life.

Agri Aware’s chair Richard Moeran is delighted with the initiative.

“Showcasing our fantastic agri-food sector through a show garden at Bloom is something I am very proud to be involved in.

“The garden will bring the journey of Ireland’s agri-food industry to life. It is vital that Agri Aware continues to educate the general public, through novel and engaging ways, on the importance of our agri-food sector and the role CAP plays in ensuring safe, traceable and affordable food for the consumer.”

Guests

During Bloom, Agri Aware will host a variety of well-known personalities from the agriculture and food industries. Speakers at the workshops/talks will include: Paddy Bruton (Forestry Services), Joe O’Connor (Truly Irish), Paul Nolan (Dawn Meats), Mairead Lavery (Irish Farmers Journal),Pat O’Neill (O’Neills Bacon), Lynda McSweeney (Fota Wildlife Park) and a few surprise guests along the way.

If you are interested in attending any of these workshops and learning about their specific areas in the sector, register your interest by email to info@agriaware.ie before Friday 26 May.

“The garden will be a hive of activity during the five days of the festival,” says Deirdre. “There is something for everyone so do call in.”

Fota Wildlife Park

After Bloom closes its doors, the Agri Aware team and garden designer Tünde Szentesi will begin work on moving the garden to Fota Wildlife, Park where it will be a permanent feature at one of Cork’s top visitor attractions.

“It’s a really exciting step to join forces with Fota Wildlife Park and deliver an educational programme on the agri-food sector to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who pass through their gates in Cork each year,” says Richard. His words were echoed by Lynda McSweeney, head of education at Fota Wildlife Park.

“This resource will serve to educate visitors on how our woodlands, native trees, grasses and associated wildlife can co-exist with agricultural practices.”

The facts behind Agri Aware’s garden

Agri Aware’s “My land, your land – Ireland” garden is part of a 12-month campaign to communicate the importance of CAP to the general public, co-financed by the European Commission. The garden is co-funded through a number of industry patrons, including Bord Bia, the IFA, Forestry Services, Dawn Meats, Truly Irish, Staines Law, O’Neills Bacon, and the National Ploughing Championships. Agri Aware would like to thank all those who are sponsoring its “My land, your land – Ireland” garden at Bloom, as well as all patron members who make it possible for Agri Aware to carry out its various educational and public awareness programmes and initiatives on behalf of the agri-food industry.

Tickets up for grabs

If you’d like to visit Bloom in the Park, then Agri Aware has five sets of two tickets for Irish Country Living readers. Just answer the following question and post your entries to Agri Aware competition, Farmers Journal, Bluebell, Dublin 12 or enter online at www.farmersjournal.ie/competitions.

Question: When Bloom ends, where will the Agri Aware garden be relocated? Closing date Friday 26 May.