Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has highlighted the role of education in food systems transformation.

Last week, the minister addressed Food is the Future, a virtual event focused on young people in food systems.

Minister McConalogue said that “we need to facilitate the voices of youth to be heard and to allow them to fully participate in debates related to agriculture and food systems”.

“Half the world is under 30. Policymakers and the leaders of today must identify new opportunities for the leaders of tomorrow to be actively engaged in enabling food systems transformation,” he said.

“We need to teach our young people in school about food, its composition, its nutritional values and its link to healthy diets and well-being.

“We also need to help our young people to understand the environmental, social and economic costs of food waste and food loss.

“Education and training is the key to bridging the growing disconnect between young people and sustainable food production and consumption.”

Minister McConalogue also acknowledged the importance of youth organisations, such as Macra na Feirme, as they have “a critical role to play in supporting the social, economic, cultural, personal development and well-being of young people in rural areas, including young farmers”.

UN Food Systems Summit

Last week, the UN Food Systems Summit took place as a virtual event.

President Michael D. Higgins delivered Ireland’s national statement to the summit.

The president said that the need for action “is now more urgent than ever”.

“We meet in the shadow of a global pandemic; in a world struggling with new, rising, deepening inequality; a world scarred by unprecedented levels of conflict and instability; and facing climate and biodiversity emergencies which threaten our very future on this planet.

“Ending world hunger and ensuring the right to food for all must be placed firmly at the top of the political agenda.”