New curriculum-linked book to promote Irish agriculture in schools

A new curriculum-linked book using poetry and illustrations to simplify the science of sustainable Irish farming and food nutrients is to be made available to every primary school in Ireland.

Launched today (November 16), the book entitled ‘Irish Food, From A-Z’ is aimed at educating four to 12-year-olds about Irish farming, food, culture and health.

It will be delivered to school principals in over 3,200 primary schools and to teacher training colleges across Ireland next week.

Teachers will also be able to register for a webinar with the book’s author, Dr. Vanessa Woods, who will discuss the content and explain how it can be used in the classroom.

The book was almost two years in the making and covers a wide range of topics such as food nutrients, sustainability, traceability, soil health, grass-fed Irish food, greenhouse gases and carbon sequestration, biodiversity, the importance of a balanced diet, dental health, farm safety and Irish culture.

An excerpt from the book by Dr. Vanessa Woods

Commenting on the launch, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence Simon Coveney said: “This engaging and informative curriculum-linked book provides students with fantastic insights into where the food we eat comes from and the importance of the nutrients in our food for our health and wellbeing.

Ireland’s rich tradition and culture of farming and food production is underpinned by world-class scientific research and it deserves to be more widely understood.

“‘Irish Food, From A – Z’ will make an excellent resource for teachers and young students across the country.”

Dr. Vanessa Woods

The book has been written by Dr. Vanessa Woods, a scientist and consumer engagement professional, who is focused on informing and educating Irish consumers of all ages about the story of sustainable and nutritious food grown by Irish farmers.

Dr. Woods grew up on a farm in Athboy, Co. Meath. She holds a BSc in Microbiology from NUI Galway and a PhD from University College Dublin.

She has also served as chief executive of Agri Aware, the independent agri-food educational body, and works with the European Commission as an evaluator of EU Horizon 2020 funding proposals.

Dr. Woods explained she wrote ‘Irish Food, From A-Z’ to help encourage science-based discussion on food nutrients, healthy eating and the green climate agenda in primary schools and homes across the country.

The book will be accompanied by a science-based supporting document for teachers which will go into issues more in-depth.

“The book is targetted at school-age children but has been designed to be enjoyed by all ages. I wanted to get people to stop looking at food as a commodity and start seeing it as a conveyor for nourishing nutrients to promote health and well-being,” she told AgriLand.

“Irish farming families have been farming for generations, working in harmony with nature, as custodians of the landscape for future generations.

Our farmers grow quality, safe, traceable, sustainable and nutrient-dense Irish food at an affordable price for consumers.

“The work of Irish farmers is underpinned by world-class science as they seek to become more sustainable. However, not everybody is aware of this science and we have a duty to find better ways to lead consumers to knowledge.”

‘Irish Food, From A-Z’ is also available for sale to members of the public online.