Agri Aware join forces with Fota Wildlife Park to educate visitors about all things food and farming
Fota Wildlife Park is permanent location for
Agri Aware's Award Winning Bloom 2017 Garden
Kerry footballing legend and primary school teacher, Tomás Ó Sé, yesterday (Tuesday August 22nd) launched the Agri Aware ‘My land, your land – Ireland’ concept garden at Fota Wildlife Park. The garden, which was relocated from Agri Aware’s Bloom 2017 plot, will become a permanent feature at the iconic visitor attraction serving to educate visitors on agriculture and biodiversity. Agri Aware, Ireland’s independent educational body, along with designer Tünde Szentesi, have created a garden that demonstrates how farming in Ireland today with the help of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), is embracing sustainable practices.
Speaking at the launch, Agri Aware’s Chairman, Richard Moeran said, “I am delighted see the Agri Aware’s Bloom 2017 garden continue its journey to its permanent home in county Cork which marks the beginning of a very exciting collaboration between Agri Aware and Fota Wildlife Park. This is an exciting step for the Agri Aware team, to join forces with Fota and deliver an educational programme on the agri-food sector to the hundreds of thousands of visitors that pass through their gates in Cork each year.”
Speaking at the opening of the new garden famed Kerry footballer and teacher, Tomás O’Sé said “I am delighted to be here to launch this fantastic new addition to Fota Wildlife Park. Coming from a rural background myself, I see first-hand the vital role farming and the agri-food industry plays in the local communities. Rural development is of paramount importance in Ireland and farming is the backbone of local communities. As a teacher and a father myself I see the impact that learning about the journey from Farm to Fork has on our young people. You not only empower them to take heed of what they are eating, but it also helps them to gain a greater understanding of the entire agri food sector. The visitors passing through this garden include consumers of tomorrow, as well as our future farmers, agri-food leaders and hopefully a few GAA stars! I want to take this moment to applaud Agri Aware for their pioneering work over the past several years in educating our young people about farming and food and I wish Fota Wildlife Park and Agri Aware every success with this venture”.
The new garden at Fota Wildlife Park will demonstrate the variety of farming practices that can be seen across the countryside, including Ireland’s 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 which will be used during educational programmes at the park. Lynda McSweeney, Head of Education at Fota Wildlife Park who is spearheading the relocation to the park said: “We are delighted to join forces with Agri Aware and deliver an educational programme on the sustainable systems of the Irish agri-food sector to the thousands of visitors who pass through the Park each year. This resource will serve to educate visitors on how our woodlands, native trees, grasses and associated wildlife can co-exist with agricultural practices.”