Education holds the key to tackling food waste issue

Food waste is one of the world’s biggest sustainability issues, but one which is easily preventable with the introduction of education.

That’s the view of Galway chef Jess Murphy, who is from New Zealand, and who is to speak at a seminar on food and sustainability that will precede a high profile farm walk on June 12.

The walk is on the farm of Darran and Denise McKenna of Derrygasson, Co Monaghan, last year’s overall winners of the National Dairy Council and Kerrygold Quality Milk Award.

Jess Murphy said the area of land needed to grow food that ends up in landfill is larger than the size of China.

“We must increase awareness and education. It will be key to tackling this global issue,” said Jess, of Kai Restaurant in Galway.

The award-winning chef said demand for food and drink has changed. Consumers now want their food to be produced in a sustainable environment.

Jess Murphy
Jess Murphy

“For many consumers the primary consideration is addressing climate change, water sustainability and economic sustainability, including food waste. This will also be mirrored on products bought in supermarkets with traceability, ecological impact and info on carbon footprint all becoming crucial issues for consumers in the 21st century,” she said.

The National Dairy Council in association with Teagasc, Ornua and Lakeland Dairies will host the farm walk and seminar on the McKenna farm.

Speakers at the Teagasc hosted seminar will include Dr Marianne Walsh, senior nutritionist with the NDC¸and a representative from Ornua Consumer Division.

Visiting farming families and new entrants into dairying will see first-hand the types of achievable steps which can raise and maintain quality standards.

Topics covered will include farm performance, the production of high-quality milk, sustainable milk production while caring for the environment, reduced antibiotic use and the concept that grass fed milk tastes better.

Tom O Dwyer, Teagasc dairy knowledge transfer specialist, said the McKenna farm is great example of a top-class dairy farm.

All dairy farmers and those thinking of entering the sector should come along on June 12 to see the farm for themselves and meet the family

- he said.

At least five generations are known to have farmed in Darran and Denise’s family farm in Derrygasson.

Their nephews and nieces are all available to help out in times of need and their neighbour Cormac also assists with relief milking.

Lakeland Dairies chairman Alo Duffy said the co-op is proud to have Darran and Denise as suppliers. Winning the 2018 NDC / Kerrygold Quality Milk Award was an incredible achievement.

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