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Festival of Farming and Food – SFI Science Week at Teagasc 2019

This Science Week (November 10-17), the Festival of Farming and Food will take place at venues all around the country. With almost 30 events taking place over eight counties, ranging from workshops for schools, open days, exhibitions and public lectures. The theme of this year’s Science Week is ‘Climate Action’ and this theme has been incorporated throughout the event programme to help people understand climate change, how science and technology can help us create a positive climate future and the impact we as individuals can have on climate change.

For Science Week, Teagasc has produced the publication ‘Agriculture and Climate Change – Your Essential Fact Pack’, which will be distributed at events. According to Teagasc Director of Research, Professor Frank O’Mara: “There is so much comment from different sources on the role of agriculture in climate change that it can be confusing; so, in this fact pack, we explain some of the basic facts in an easy to read style.”

In addition, there will be native tree saplings and native wildflower seed papers for attendees to bring home and plant in their gardens.

Along with a large number of events aimed at schools and careers in science, there are a number of events aimed at the general public:

On Sunday, November 10, in Kilkenny’s MacDonagh Junction shopping centre, which was formerly a workhouse, researchers will show how science has advanced to protect against potato blight. Let us know what you think trees do for us in our interactive exhibit and see how forestry can help reduce climate change effects and sequester carbon. There will also be an exhibit on biodiversity and a chance to make a plant cell from paper!

On Monday, November 11, the ‘Vision of Research’ evening event takes historic Oak Park House in Carlow (Teagasc’s Head Office). Featuring the most innovative and compelling images of research and innovation activities taking place all over Ireland, there will be a chance to meet the researchers and find out more about the science behind the images. The winners of the 2019 competition will be announced on the night. Attendees will also get a unique opportunity to take an historic tour of the house.

Also, on the evening of Monday, November 11, at Teagasc Grange in Meath, Teagasc joins forces with the EU Health and Food Safety Office for the public lecture ‘Antibiotics, Animal Health and Climate Action’, chaired by Minister for European Affairs, Helen McEntee, TD.

On Thursday, November 14, in Teagasc Moorepark, Fermoy, TV presenter Kathriona Devereux will host the ‘60 Minute Science’ event ‘Feeding the Future: the Science of Sustainability and Climate Change’.

Also, on Thursday afternoon, November 14, at Blanchardstown Library, Dublin, at the ‘A Slice of Science’ event, attendees will get to meet science researchers of food, horticulture and spatial science from Teagasc Ashtown.

Three of Teagasc’s researchers (Katie Starsmore, VistaMilk; Dheeraj Rathore, Oak Park; Aoife McHugh, UCC/Teagasc) will be participating in this year’s ‘I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here’ online competition in the Food Zone. This is an online STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) engagement competition that gets people from all areas of science talking with curious school students across Ireland (https://imascientist.ie/).

Catriona Boyle, Project Leader, said that: “Teagasc staff and students from research, advisory and education have embraced the challenge to create a unique programme of fun and informative events around the county. This is the largest-scale programme of events we have ever run for Science Week and we look forward to welcoming attendees to all of our events”.

All of the Festival of Farming and Food events are free thanks to sponsorship by Science Foundation Ireland and Teagasc.

See https://www.teagasc.ie/about/research--innovation/science-communications-and-outreach/science-week/ for more details on how to attend.

The publication ‘Agriculture and Climate Change – Your Essential Fact Pack’ can be downloaded at: https://www.teagasc.ie/media/website/publications/2019/Climate-pack.pdf.

Michael D’Arcy, TD, Minister of State will attend the Anyone4Science show at 2pm on Monday, November 11, during Science Week at Teagasc Johnstown Castle.