Carnaun School Organic Diary -June 2006

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Finbarr demonstrates seed sowing techiniques to pupils

Why should a school go “organic”?

If you have a school garden or thinking about a school garden or even thinking of a few plants in containers, you are probably teaching environmentally friendly methods. You are minding the birds and bees and butterflies, you are keeping a frog watch, in your pond, and are wondering about a bat project.

The children are aware that this generation is now the “Keepers of the Earth” and that it is our duty to hand it on in good condition to the next generation. You will also be teaching that it is important not to use artificial fertilisers, harmful chemicals or pesticides and maybe even the rotation of crops, and if you are, you are nearly organic before you know it! I said “nearly organic” because you need to be “certified organic”. If you are drowning “nearly saved” is not good enough! Just go that one step further and apply to a licencing body such as IOFGA. (Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association)

The yearly inspection ensures that you will abide by the organic rules and you will be awarded the accreditation and symbol. This works on similar lines to the International Green Flag awarded to Green Schools by an Taisce. You get credit and an award “for doing the right thing”. In fact, the two awards go well together.

It is a pity that while the Green Flag is being promoted actively in schools by An Taisce and the various County Councils there is really no incentive to promote organic accreditation in schools. Hopefully in a few years both the Green Flag and an Organic Flag will fly proudly outside the schools of Ireland and the pupils and teachers within will know the value of good food and healthy living first hand.

What the students say

Recently the children of sixth class gave their views on organic food! “Organic is a better way of gardening” says Paul Tracey. “Food grown without artificial fertilizer and pesticides has to be much better for your health” was Roisin Qualter’s comment while Melissa Langan thought that “if she had to choose, she would definitely not go for food sprayed with harmful chemicals and pesticides”. David Williams stated that “there is no artificial flavouring or harmful additives in organic food”. “I usually do not like Brussels sprouts” says Michael Mullins but this year I had some from the school garden and they were delicious”. “Some people say that organic food is dearer than what you get in the supermarket” says Paul Mc. Cormack “but you are getting very good quality and it is cheaper in the long run”. “Lots of schools are interested in our organic garden” says Roisin, “and we get lots of email from schools in Ireland and from all over the world so we must be doing something good”.

Finbarr O’Regan is Principal teacher, Carnaun National School, Athenry, Co.Galway

The AIB Galway County Arts Award 2005

Editor’s note: This article was, one of many ,written in Carnaun School, Athenry, from 2006 onwards, for IOFGA’s Organic Matters Magazine, Editor Cáit Curran!

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About this record

Written by Finbarr O'Regan

Published here 18 Feb 2024 and originally published June 2006

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