Fruit flight fright at Loreto over food miles

By dAVID TUCKER

Jessica D Ruane, Muireann O'Gara (in black outfits), and Ella and Amber Wright (in blue outfits). Teacher Karina Johns is on the right.
Jessica D Ruane, Muireann O'Gara (in black outfits), and Ella and Amber Wright (in blue outfits). Teacher Karina Johns is on the right.
Mary Eviston and Eimear Gallagher in the fruit 'hats' with the 'food miles' airliner in the background.

four students from the Loreto in Wexford are raising awareness of how far some of our fruit travels before it hits the supermarket shelves and impact of all those food miles on the environment.

Capitalising on the 'One Good Idea' campaign run by the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland, students held an Awareness Day as part of their CSPE course in which some them dressed as airline stewardesses delivering 'hazard' information about food miles, instead of the usual safety instructions about how to don a lifejacket and how to assume the brace position.

Four students: Muireann O'Gara, Jessica Ruane, Amber Wright and Ella Wright were successfully chosen as one of the top 15 junior teams in Ireland to go on and compete nationally as part of the campaign.

Their teacher Karina Johns said the aim is to investigate how far fruit has travelled to reach our supermarket shelves.

The students are trying to encourage people to reduce the size of their carbon footprint by making informed choices when it comes to purchasing fruit and want to encourage people to sign a pledge to replace just one fruit in their weekly shop with any other fruit that has travelled a shorter distance.

This, they hope, will in turn reduce the size of each individual's carbon footprint, encourage us to be more fuel efficient and make us aware of the impact we can have on our environment and climate change.

Their slogan is: 'Foster Fruitful Decisions - Reduce the Route of your Fruit!'

To promote their campaign the students held a successful and colourful awareness day in school last week.

Apples were distributed to students courtesy of Ballycross Apple Farm to highlight and promote locally-produced produce.

Karina said the students ran a number of competitions, one of them 'Guess how many miles A bowl of fruit salad has travelled' - this turned out to be a staggering 54,119km (33,628 miles).

They also organised a cake design competition to demonstrate the problems caused by the carbon footprint and climate change.

Poster competitions were held, maps of the world were put on display to show students how far their fruit had travelled, and there was a fund raiser so they could afford prizes for the competitions. They were also presented with a hamper from Sam McCauley's to use as a main prize.

The organisers enrolled the help of Molly Kielty in 4th Year to design a carbon fruitprint logo which they got enlarged to 9 feet high as a pledge for people to sign to 'Reduce the Route of Your Fruit'.

The students are in the process of conducting a survey of shoppers online to find out if they read the labels on their food to see how far it has travelled.

They also involved English classes as they got them to write letters to local supermarkets to enquire about costs and quality of fruits coming from abroad. Geography classes got involved by plotting where each fruit found in each supermarket travelled from and they calculated the fruit miles.

The highlight of the awareness day was when the girls delivered a presentation in the foyer about their project. With the girls dressed up as air stewardesses, a recorded voice over played on a loop from loud speakers in the foyer while the girls acted and this recording warned the 'passengers' of the problems caused by excessive fuel consumption. The 4th Year students got involved and helped to make a video of all the events that took place on the day.

They hope to play this video in assemblies at a later date and also to entered into the competition.

On the day of the food flight, 'passengers' were warned that their oxygen masks needed to be worn because of the toxic gases being created and they were also told to put on their life jackets as climate change was imminent, sea levels were on the rise and floods were coming!

Wexford People

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