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To: Norma Foley, Minister for Education

Teach Kids to Grow Food: Make Organic Horticulture a Leaving Certificate subject

Photo by Kenan Kitchen on Unsplash
Make Organic Horticulture a Leaving Certificate subject.



Why is this important?

Learning to grow your own food organically in a world where food security is a growing concern, is a valuable life skill.  Young people deserve to have the opportunity to learn to grow healthy food to ensure their ability to manage the impact of an increasingly volatile global food production system.

A Leaving Certificate subject that would award 50% of the marks for practical work - as is the case with music, for example - would ensure that students can develop and maintain a school garden and orchard under the expertise of a properly qualified teacher, thereby enhancing their school environment and providing freshly produced organic food for their school's canteen. 

23% of the global land surface has reduced productivity as a result of unsustainable, industrial, agriculture practices (1). Organic agriculture, which has benefits for biodiversity, soil health and water quality, is a key tool in halting and reversing this trend. Unfortunately, Ireland has one of the lowest rates of organic farming in Europe (2), which means the government should make a concerted effort to encourage the uptake of organic food production at both large and small scale. 

Introducing a subject in Irish secondary schools that would allow teenagers to learn how to grow their own food sustainably would be a positive step in contributing to Ireland's food sovereignty. The subject should be based on the principles of agro-ecology, to ensure that students learn how to grow food in a way that protects and enhances biodiversity. Chemical herbicides, many of which are known to be carcinogenic, have no place in a school environment and should not be part of the curriculum. 

At a time when the climate and biodiversity crises expose our food production models to ever greater vulnerabilities, it has never been more important to build local, resilient and sustainable food systems. We call on the Minister for Education, Norma Foley, to give young people the skills to make this happen by introducing Organic Horticulture as a Leaving Certificate subject.

 
(1) IFOAM Organics International: https://www.ifoam.bio/why-organic

Updates

2024-05-26 10:59:43 +0100

100 signatures reached

2024-05-20 16:40:49 +0100

50 signatures reached

2024-05-16 19:26:53 +0100

25 signatures reached

2024-05-16 16:45:11 +0100

10 signatures reached