Over 25,000 primary school children from 1,000 schools took part in a recent Incredible Edibles Keep Well Day, which showcased how children are keeping active in the garden and eating healthy to keep well this spring. On March 25th thousands of students and their teachers joined the two Incredible Edibles Keep Well virtual events, which featured well-known fitness trainer, Ray Lally, aka The Happy Fitness Guy, and horticulturist, Brian McCarthy.
The Happy Fitness Guy, who has a slot on RTE’s Today Show, hosted a fun-filled fitness session with children and their teachers and showcased the importance of keeping active in order to look after their physical and emotional well-being. Then, Brian McCarthy who runs Cork Rooftop Farm in the centre of Cork City, wowed viewers with an engaging tour of his skyline farm and answered all their sowing and growing questions.
The Incredible Edibles Keep Well event was held in conjunction with Healthy Ireland’s Keep Well Campaign, which is part of the Government Plan for Living with Covid-19 – Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021. The Incredible Edibles programme, sponsored by Bord Bia, Healthy Ireland, Department of Education and Skills, SafeFood and the Irish horticulture industry, communicated and delivered an impactful month-long campaign in March 2021, which tasked primary schools nationwide to showcase how they were keeping well, eating well and being active in the garden.
Agri Aware’s Incredible Edibles programme is a free, healthy eating and growing project that has been running in Irish primary schools for 13 years. Over 43,000 primary school children and 1,600 schools are taking part in this year’s programme. Participating schools receive free grow packs that contain everything teachers need to start their own school garden. Students have showed excellent resilience and creativity in finding unique ways of learning all about food origin and fresh, Irish produce through online teaching, while preparing to plant their own spring gardens in March. For the month of March, Incredible Edibles delivered educational and fun activities as part of the Keep Well campaign and in line with Task 3 of the project – Planting and Growing.
Schools submitted videos showcasing how they keep active to keep well and participants are currently taking part in art and recipe competitions aimed at highlighting how they are eating well to keep well. Interactive worksheets featuring key, healthy eating advice from Healthy Ireland were also made available to schools on IncredibleEdibles.ie since January and were a vital resource to students and teachers during the recent online teaching period.
Speaking about the Incredible Edibles Keep Well campaign, The Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan T.D. said: “Encouraging children to eat a healthy diet is a key objective of Healthy Ireland and we have been very happy to support the Incredible Edibles programme for many years now.
“This programme lays a foundation for children to adopt healthy behaviours and habits which will last a lifetime, and which they in turn, will hopefully be able to pass on to their own children some day. I want to thank all of the students and teachers who took part in the recent Incredible Edibles Keep Well day and I wish them every success with their projects,” said Minister Feighan.
Healthy Eating Executive at Bord Bia, Dr Elizabeth Finnegan also added: “The pandemic has put the outdoor classroom firmly back in focus as an important educational space for children. We were pleased to see a record number of schools registering to participate in the Incredible Edibles Programme this year. Additionally, people are reaping the wellbeing rewards that gardening and related activities bring. “The past year has shown us just how important and effective being outside in the fresh air is for maintaining and boosting our physical and mental health. Bord Bia are delighted to be in a position showcase the important work Incredible Edibles is doing in schools as part of this national campaign, promoting the fun and interactive ways children, schools, families and communities can get active in the garden,” said Dr Finnegan.
Agri Aware chairman, Alan Jagoe thanked Healthy Ireland and Bord Bia for the opportunity for Incredible Edibles to be apart of the Keep Well campaign. “It was an honour for Agri Aware to be invited by Bord Bia to showcase how Irish children are eating well and keeping active in the garden for the month of March, as part of Healthy Ireland’s Keep Well campaign. The Keep Well campaign is in line with the ethos of Incredible Edibles, which has been educating Irish school children about the importance of growing and consuming Irish fruit and vegetables for a healthy, balanced diet for the last 13 years,” said Mr Jagoe. “On behalf of Agri Aware I would like to thank Bord Bia and Healthy Ireland for the opportunity for Incredible Edibles to play a part in the Keep Well campaign. I would also like to thank teachers and students for getting so involved in the campaign in what has been a challenging time for them due to Covid-19 restrictions over the last year. We hope that the campaign has equipped teachers and students with long-lasting knowledge on how they can keep active and well for years to come, as well as lots of fun memories too.”