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Incredible Edibles – Empowering children to make healthy food choices

Pictured at the launch of Incredible Edibles are Mike Neary, Incredible Edibles Chairman, Bord Bia; Deirdre O'Shea, Executive Director, Agri Aware; Richard Moeran, Chairman, Agri Aware with pupils Victoria Olaru (9) and Katie Maguire (10).

Agri Aware, the independent agri-food educational body, has launched its annual Incredible Edibles initiative – which teaches primary level students how to grow and cook their own seasonal Irish fruit, vegetables and herbs. Primary school teachers can avail of this free resource by logging on to www.incredibledibles.ie and registering by Friday, February 24.

Schools will receive grow packs including compost, seeds and curriculum-linked interactive educational resources for students – with lessons on food origin, the health benefits of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and cooking tasks. This year’s grow pack includes chive seeds to teach children that the addition of herbs to their meals is a healthy alternative for adding flavour.

Agri Aware’s 2017 Incredible Edibles programme which is now in its ninth year was launched at St Philip’s SNS, Clonsilla with the help of fourth class pupils who love fruit and vegetables and have developed their growing and cooking skills thanks to the Incredible Edibles programme.

Agri Aware’s Incredible Edibles free healthy eating initiative is supported by the Department of Education and the Department of Health, through the Healthy Ireland framework, the Department of Agriculture, Bord Bia and the horticulture industry.

Agri Aware Chairman, Richard Moeran, said, “Agri Aware’s Incredible Edibles project is an initiative backed by industry to enable primary school students to understand the importance of a diet rich in seasonal fruit and vegetables. As a farmer myself, I understand how empowering learning where your food comes from can be. Giving children the tools to sow, grow, harvest and cook their own Irish produce will give them an appreciation for fruit, vegetables and herbs and help them make healthy food choices in years to come.”

Deirdre O’Shea, Executive Director of Agri Aware said, “Every primary school in Ireland now has the resources to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs as a result of Agri Aware’s Incredible Edibles programme. By teaching children how to grow and cook their own food you are guiding them towards a healthier lifestyle. Healthy eating guidelines now suggest that children consume seven, plus portions of fruit and vegetables a day – Incredible Edibles is a free healthy eating resource which teachers can use to increase awareness of the production and consumption of healthy Irish produce.”

Last year over 1,200 schools across Ireland took part in the programme and registration for this year’s project is now open at www.incredibleedibles.ie. Schools will receive grow packs, including compost, seeds and curriculum-linked interactive educational resources for students to complete with their teachers throughout the academic year.

Mike Neary of Bord Bia and Incredible Edibles Committee Chairman commented, "Incredible Edibles is the perfect educational tool to teach children about the importance of eating quality Irish food. We are delighted to see so many teachers encouraging children to enjoy seven, plus portions of fruit and vegetables a day. This year we have added chive seeds as a healthier choice for seasoning meals."

Pictured at the launch of Incredible Edibles are Mike Neary, Incredible Edibles Chairman, Bord Bia; Eleanor Meade, Meade Potato Company; Cathy Fox, Keelings; Martin Flynn, Vegetable Committee, IFA; Breda Leonard, Country Crest; June Dowling, Bord na Mona; Deirdre O'Shea, Executive Director, Agri Aware and Richard Moeran, Chairman, Agri Aware

Pictured at the launch of Incredible Edibles are (l-r) are Victoria Olaru (9), Sophie O'Connor (10), Katie Maguire (10), Ruby Deegan (10) and Valentina Airoldi (9) from St. Philip's SNS, Clonsilla