Thursday 17 October 2019

Louth County Council host 'Stop Food Waste' programme in local schools

Tara Walker backing the ‘Stop Food Waste’ series
Tara Walker backing the ‘Stop Food Waste’ series

Louth County Council recently held a six week programme in St. John's and St. Paul's National Schools in Drogheda to promote the "Stop Food Waste" message to parents.

We all waste food in Ireland. While there are many reasons why, there are also common themes such as the fact that we buy too much, prepare too much food or our daily plans simply change. Day to day it might not seem like much but when added up, food waste is a big problem for your pockets and the planet. In fact, it is estimated that the average amount of food being thrown out by a household costs up to €700 per year.

With this in mind, the Community Section of Louth County Council secured funding from the EPA as part of their "Stop Food Waste" campaign to run a programme in Louth. When contacted St. John's and St. Paul's were delighted to get involved in the programme, particularly as they have fantastic kitchen facilities and a parents room in their new school, which was opened last year.

The programme involved six weekly cooking demonstrations which highlighted key areas in the battle to reduce food waste including planning, shopping, cooking correct portion sizes and food storage. The programme was a particularly local affair as the person tasked with cooking the food was Tara Walker, owner and chef tutor at East Coast Cookery School in Termonfeckin. Tara also has a monthly cookery slot on local radio station LMFM and appears regularly on Virgin Media's Weekend AM programme.

Though food waste is a serious topic, Tara ensured that the classes were both relaxed and fun. Twenty seven parents from the schools took part and shared pictures of their meals on social media each week. Tara presented one of her cookbooks to the participant who produced the most impressive meal each week and was very impressed by the enthusiasm and engagement of the parents.

Gerry Kelly, presenter of the appropriately named "Late Lunch" on LMFM, was the special guest on the last day of the programme and interviewed the parents, teachers and Tara Walker for his show. Gerry was so impressed with the programme that he invited the parents into the LMFM studios for Tara's Pancake Tuesday show.

Speaking about the programme, Barry Eaton of the Community Section of Louth County Council said that "when we received funding from the EPA, we could not have envisaged how successful the programme would become. I would like to acknowledge the role played by Regina Clarke and Maura Halvey-Maher, Home School Liaison Teachers for facilitating the event and particularly the parents whose enthusiasm and good natured participation made the event fun for all. Tara Walker proved to be a great ambassador for the stop food waste movement and she cooked simple, nutritious meals which the parents easily replicated at home". He also informed that due to the success of the programme, the next series will be run in May at the Connect Family Resource Centre in Moneymore. For further details on the Stop Food Waste programme and to access a range of downloadable guides and tips, please visit

Drogheda Independent