EPA publishes Junior Cert resource pack on reducing food waste to tackle climate change

The EPA has produced an educational resource pack to support over 20,000 Junior Certificate students to learn about sustainable living through the Home Economics curriculum.

Reducing food waste is one of the most effective actions we can take to address climate change. The resource pack is be used by Home Economics teachers to engage students on food waste prevention. The pack supports the new Junior Cycle curriculum and is available to all post-primary schools across the country. You can download the resource pack here.

EPA publishes Junior Cert resource pack on reducing food waste to tackle climate change
food waste resource pack Home-Ec-Course

Laura Burke, EPA Director General, said:
“With over 200,000 tonnes of food waste generated in Irish homes every year, it is clear that we need to change how we manage our food from shopping to storage to cooking. The participation of teachers in the development of this resource ensures that it is of a high standard, and relevant to the curriculum.”

The pack is a valuable resource for Home Economics teachers and provides information and tools to teach students about food waste prevention and the important link to climate change. The pack contains an introduction for teachers; posters & handouts with attractive images; and activity pages on planning & grocery shopping, food storage, cooking & preserving.

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Mr Richard Bruton T.D welcomed the resource, stating:

“Managing our resources properly is crucial to securing a better, more sustainable Ireland for future generations. We know that 70% of food waste is avoidable and that this costs Irish households approximately €700 per year and contributes significantly to Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions.
This resource is a useful tool for teachers and will help students understand the importance of reducing food waste. It includes a number of practical steps, such as planning meals, making shopping lists, using proper storage methods etc, that students can apply in their own lives.
More broadly, we must do more to bring climate action into the classroom. Curriculum must reflect the importance of this issue and promote informed understanding. The Climate Action Plan commits to the development of new short course on climate action for Junior Cycle. It is crucial that our young people are informed and engage with, what is the biggest challenge of their generation.”

Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Joe McHugh TD also welcomed the resource:

“Educating our students about Sustainable Development is key to ensuring responsible citizenship into the future. This resource promotes the active participation by young people in preventing food waste, which will positively impact on us, our children and future generations.”

Speaking at the launch of the resource at the annual conference of the Association for Home Economics Teachers, Amanda McCloat Head of the Home Economics Department at St. Angela’s College said:

“This is a very useful resource for teachers. We are delighted to have been involved in the review process. Home Economics education empowers students with practical food literacy skills which are essential in helping to combat the problem of food waste.”

The resource was developed through the EPA-led Local Authority Prevention Network and is a collaboration between Galway City Council, Galway County Council, Roscommon County Council, Mayo County Council, VOICE Ireland and St. Angela’s College, Sligo.

In 2015, Ireland along with almost 200 other countries, committed to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These goals include a specific commitment on food waste: “By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses”. The national Climate Action Plan also includes commitments to meet this target, stating: “We shall develop a strategy with the food sector and the food cloud to deliver our commitment to 50% reduction of food waste.”

Ireland’s National Waste Prevention Programme is a Government of Ireland initiative, led by the EPA, which supports national-level, strategic programmes to prevent waste and drive the circular economy in Ireland. The programme’s priority areas are food waste, construction & demolition, plastics, agriculture, resources & raw materials and local waste prevention. Further information on the programme is available here . The programme leads the national food waste prevention campaign for householders.

Strand 1 of Junior Cycle Home Economics focuses on developing students’ food, health and culinary skills. Students are enabled to develop a healthy, sustainable attitude and positive relationship with food through practical experiential learning. The application of practical food and health literacy skills is integral to this strand and includes menu planning; shopping; cooking; and food waste.

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