FOLLOWING the success of a pilot Transition Year food education unit developed by the Taste Council* in association with Bord Bia, ‘The Future is Food’ has received recognition by the National Council of Curriculum Assessment (NCCA) and is now available nationwide to secondary schools through both the NCCA and TASTE Council websites.
‘The Future is Food’ introduces Transition Year students to the Irish food and drinks industry, with the aim of broadening the knowledge and understanding of the local, artisanal and speciality foods sector amongst future generations. Through this interactive education programme, students are provided with an opportunity to actively engage with aspects of the food sector, giving them practical insight and real-life experience. This unit is ground-breaking in that it is bringing chefs and food producers from local communities into the schools to work with the students on a voluntary basis. These budding entrepreneurs and innovators will have the opportunity to develop their own unique food product or work in partnership with a local producer on an existing product.
Complimenting the TASTE Council on developing ‘The Future is Food’ unit, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D. said, “This is a tremendous opportunity for Transition Year students to work with artisan food businesses and food champions in their county. Food and the business of food are hugely important to Ireland. The food sector is an exciting place to be today for hard working entrepreneurs. Students signing up for ‘The Future is Food’ unit will get a taste of the food industry, take pride in local food businesses that create jobs and develop valuable skills and experience that will stand to them in their future career choices.
The food sector is hugely versatile. It has roots in every county and exports quality products to 170 markets worldwide. It is ambitious and innovative and on the lookout for talent. The TASTE Council and the 7 schools which piloted the project deserve great credit for delivering an exciting and immensely practical programme. I encourage schools to promote it,” he continued.
Kevin Sheridan, co-founder and Managing Director of Sheridans Cheesemongers Ltd. and Chairman of TASTE Council of Ireland commented, “artisan food producers and chefs across the country are signing up as volunteers to pass on their skills, knowledge and passion to the next generation. This unit reflects the innovative and dynamic nature of our artisan food sector and the collaborative spirit of those involved.”
Cait Noone, Education Spokesperson, TASTE Council of Ireland and Head of the College of Tourism & Arts in Galway Mayo Institute of Technology said, “We are delighted that ‘The Future is Food’ unit has been formally recognised by the NCCA. The students who participated in the pilot scheme thoroughly enjoyed the programme and got fantastic industry insight, as well as practical experience. We also saw how their personal and social skills were enhanced through the programme, as they learned how to communicate and work with others, process new information, critically assess potential issues and boost their creative skills.”
Teresa Brophy, Consumer & Trade Marketing Manager, Bord Bia, commented, “This programme is significant in its focus on the future of our food and drink industry. By offering students a glimpse into how the industry works, we hope that it will inspire future generations of farmers, growers, producers, chefs and above all, consumers. Bord Bia is delighted to be working on this initiative with the Taste Council.”
290 Transition Year students and 16 teachers in seven schools participated in the
‘Future is Food’ pilot programme from September 2013. These were: Coláiste Chiaráin in Croom, Co. Limerick; Abbey Secondary School, Tipperary; Avondale Community College, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow; St Mary’s High School, Middleton, Co. Cork; Newtown Secondary School, Waterford; St. Laurence College, Loughlinstown, Dublin 18, and Alexandra College, Milltown, Co. Dublin.