Research by the EPA has shown that Irish people generally have a strong understanding of use-by and best before dates, but this is not translating in to good food management behaviours around dates, with 52% of people saying food passing the best before date is one of the main reasons they throw food away!
Stop Food Waste have an amazing guide which really is the best resource for delving deeper. Find the Green Stop Food Waste Guide HERE . There are also lots of supports for businesses so check out the Food Waste Charter HERE.
Across the world, we collectively eat just 1% of all the edible plant species we can eat. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, there are between 20,000 and 50,000 discovered edible plant species, which is a hefty selection of plants to start adding to your plate. But the truth is, only 150 to 200 are regularly consumed by humans. In fact, 75% of all the food eaten in the world come from just 12 plants and 5 animal species. The reason for this is economic efficiency, but an industry so deeply embedded in the health of our planet and ourselves can’t play by standard economic rules. There is still so much food out there for us to discover. If we want to create more sustainable plates of food, we need to understand more about all foods – the ones we grew up with and the new plant-based alternatives.
In this episode we’re all about the small producers and the value of “supporting local” because if we don’t look after them we’re never going to fix our broken food system. Farmers and small producers face increased pressure from market forces to produce more and more for a fraction of the price that their produce is sold for. This is not sustainable for our fragile food system.
Growing food reveals our lack of knowledge about the natural world. Leaves curl up and turn yellow, and seedlings disappear due to nocturnal visits by slugs. Commercial farmers turned to chemical solutions to tackle this issue, but the disadvantages associated with fertilisers, pesticides, and packaging have become apparent. Although these quick fixes have assisted in the short-term production and distribution of food, the long-term consequences of soil degradation, water pollution, species loss, and human health impacts are the tragic legacy of food pollution. Join us to discuss the actions needed to stop food pollution
Many menus and supermarkets advertise seasonality, creating the impression that all produce is available year-round. However, this is far from the truth. The ability to follow the seasons with an understanding of what can be grown during each season is vital for the planet. Growing your food connects you to seasonal rhythms, which become essential when growing seeds. These small, unpromising seeds require favorable seasonal conditions to mature into edible plants. As climate change continues to create unpredictable weather patterns, planting during the correct season becomes increasingly crucial. To grow successfully, it’s essential to follow the four growing seasons: seed sowing and transplanting in spring, harvesting in summer, a time of plenty in autumn, and a period of rest in winter.
Growing your own food is an excellent way to gain knowledge about food. Soil plays a crucial role in the food-growing process, and experienced growers are aware of this fact. Although the bare, empty beds might seem insignificant, they are the key to cultivating healthy and flavourful food. Maintaining soil that is rich in micronutrients results in delicious produce while also providing an opportunity to store carbon underground. Back gardens offer the most important resource for human and planetary health – soil. The consequences of a hotter planet will include scorched earth, with the outer layer no longer able to sustain life. However, recognising soil’s potential as a carbon sink is critical in addressing the climate emergency. Learn the importance of maintaining your garden beds and how to Love Soil.
“Food Matters” is a six part documentary series exploring food sustainability in Ireland. The food system is a major contributor to the climate emergency but the choices we make each day about food can be some of the most useful pieces of climate action we can take personally.
Fortunately, there are inspiring solutions to the problems in our food system happening here in Ireland. Mick Kelly travels around Ireland to explore food sustainability and meet the people and projects that are helping to change the food system one meal at a time.
Building on the impact of the RTÉ series ‘GROW COOK EAT’ (now on Amazon Prime with over 12 million views), the new series explores and demystifies the complexity of the global food chain and introduces the passionate people who are making a difference in Ireland.
Mick is the founder of GIY, a social entrepreneur, author, TV presenter and hacker grower. He worked in the IT industry for 10 years before starting GIY in 2008 after a chance encounter with a pesky bulb of Chinese garlic in a supermarket. In the time since he’s most proud of working with an amazing team of changemakers to build GIY in to a leading social enterprise, and build a home for the movement at GROW HQ in Waterford.
He co-presented/produced 3 series of Grow Cook Eat for RTE which is now watched around the world on Amazon Prime. He is an Ashoka Fellow, a member of The Irish Food Writers Guild and a board member at ChangeX. He has written 4 books and columns on food for The Irish Times, The Irish Independent and Food & Wine Magazine. He was the 2017 Local Food Hero in the Food & Wine Awards.
Food Matters Contributors include: Regina Sexton, John Gibbons, Anja Murray, Padraig Fogarty, Jim Power, Rory O’Connell, Mairtin Mac Ionamaire, James Foley, Jordan Bailey, Dr Steve Collins, Pat Lalor, Andrea Gilligan and Conor Pope.
The journey took us to Cork Rooftop Farm, Aimsir, Cloughjordan Community Farm, Neighbourfood, Coolydoody Farm, Wicklow Wolf; Kilbeggan Oats and more.