Food On The Edge 2017 Puts Food on the Education Agenda

Food On The Edge director JP McMahon has launched a campaign to put food education on the curriculum of primary schools in Ireland and on the agenda of the Department of Education.

Launching the Food On The Edge 2017 – Education Agenda campaign at the Galway Educate Together National School, JP McMahon said, “We need a food subject on our primary school curriculum to help children to understand where food comes from. Food is as important as maths. We need a food subject that takes in agriculture, farming, science, geography and history.”

The campaign is also an effort by JP to widen the reach of Food On The Edge and the sixth class children at Galway Educate Together National School (GETNS), along with their principal John Farrell, helped launch the campaign, with the schoolchildren wearing the official Food On The Edge 2017 t-shirt, which bears an image of a potato with the slogan “I Am An Immigrant”.

GETNS principal John Farrell said, “We’re very happy to see food highlighted as an important subject for the children to know about but also as a a great way of coming together socially to celebrate our differences. Anything that brings understanding to people of different backgrounds and others can only be good for children.”

JP said, “One of the reasons we chose ‘I Am An Immigrant’ as this year’s Food On The Edge T-shirt slogan was the potato. The potato is not from Ireland. The potato came from Peru about 300 years ago. We have been eating food for about 10,000 years. The potato is a recent immigrant to Ireland. Immigration is such a pressing topic at the moment. Ireland has been so involved in immigration over the last 200 years, from people leaving and also we have a lot of people coming now, that it’s important to realise that we all have an immigrant inside us so that we create a diverse society.”

JP’s Food On The Edge: Education Agenda campaign stems from the major theme of this year’s Food On The Edge symposium, which is Action: Reaction. JP said, “After three years it was time to reflect on the issues we’ve been talking about and try to change or act on them. The Education Agenda campaign is my attempt at promoting action.”

JP has also invited the sixth class children of GETNS to write an essay on the subject of food and a number of them will take to the stage at the end of the second day of Food On The Edge on the 10th of October in the Black Box Theatre in Galway to read aloud their essays.

Food On The Edge on the 9th and 10th of October will be a mix of 15-minute talks by speakers and panel discussions with more than 50 international and Irish names on the programme.

This year’s line-up includes international cult chefs and stars of the Netflix series Chef’s Table, namely Nordic chef Magnus Nilsson of Fäviken, Slovenian chef and winner of 2016 Best Female Chef in The World Ana Roš of Hiša Franko restaurant, plus trailblazer Niki Nakayama, owner of n/naka restaurant in Los Angeles. Irish chefs on the line-up include Niall McKenna, Domini Kemp, Anna Haugh, Robin Gill, Cúán Greene and the Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year finalists.

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Follow the official hashtag #FOTE2017 for regular updates.