Day one of Bord Bia's Bloom saw 17,5 patrons walk through its gates and, following a two-year hiatus, patrons got the chance to see sheep being shorn and cows being milked right in the middle of the food village.

Agri Aware was responsible for the sheep shearing and milking demos, which took place throughout the day.

School kids came to see the action and learn more about farming and food production.

Between Thursday and Friday, over 700 primary school students from 30 different schools across the country that are taking part in the Incredible Edibles programme are set to attend, Agri Aware said.

The kids will get a tour of the farmyard, which features Angus beef cattle, a dairy cow and sheep.

Director of Agri Aware Marcus O'Halloran told the Irish Farmers Journal that it is hugely important to communicate the role of agriculture and the role the farmer plays in food production to the non-farming audience.

"This is a key event for us in the events calendar. It's not the Ploughing or it's not the Tullamore Show - you are really connecting with that inner city and urban audience.

"A lot of people in Ireland consider themselves only one generation away from a farmer, but when you look at the Glanbia milk carton for Avonmore, four out of five people haven't been on a farm," he said.

O'Halloran added that there is a real "disconnect" around food production, adding that most people just assume the milk will land in the carton.

Spanning over a 70ac site, the garden and food festival has been running for 16 years.

It is expected over 100,000 people will attend Bloom over the bank holiday weekend.

President Michael D Higgins in his opening address at Bloom said that retail prices for Irish vegetables were "artificial" and "being sold as loss leaders".

"We should be doing all we can to address their [producers] needs, which are unique, including in terms of how damaging retail practices have been for these producers," he said.