Food is most nutritious when it is sourced locally and in season, according to Tánaiste Micheál Martin.
Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, the Fianna Fáil party leader acknowledged the importance of school children learning about where their food comes from.
“I would welcome ongoing educational programmes on that front, in terms of developing a greater understanding of food,” he said.
Deputy Martin also said that from a health perspective, “good nutritious food is far better than some of the processed foods as we know”, and that this too is something school children should learn about.
He said such education is ongoing in Ireland’s schools, through social, personal and health education, adding that learning about native, domestic food production has value.
The Tánaiste’s comments come as nearly 25,000 primary school children joined the Walsh family dairy farm in Oranmore, Co Galway, through an online demonstration this week.
The farm demonstration focused on where the milk on the children’s cereal comes from and was facilitated by Agri Aware and the National Dairy Council (NDC).
NDC director of strategic operations Mark Keller said Wednesday was the “first time we have held both a live and virtual event for schools to celebrate World School Milk Day”.
“NDC runs the EU School Milk Scheme where subsidised milk is available to schoolchildren all over Ireland. Events like this provide a unique opportunity to highlight the importance of dairy as part of a healthy balanced diet and that five servings a day is recommended for those 9 to 18 years old,” he explained.
Agri Aware executive director Marcus O’Halloran highlighted the “importance of showing where our food comes from”, suggesting that it has “never been more critical”.