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Students show their support for Local Food 16 October 2008

Students on their lunch break at the Isle of Man College were given food for thought as to why their staple diet should be underpinned by home grown produce.

As part of the College’s Green Week, the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) laid on a prominent display in the college foyer, in support of local farmers and food producers.

Featuring the slogan “Thanks for Choosing Manx” the stand included every day examples of the island’s rich food harvest, such as bread, eggs and potatoes. As well as food, Green Week also focussed on other environmental issues including waste, energy, transport and biodiversity.

The College has been keen to back the DAFF support of Green Week with Deputy Principal Ronald Barr and Student Welfare Officer Julie Bibby playing a leading role. “We produce some wonderful food on the island and it is important that we bring this to the attention of our students,” said Dr Barr. “The issues concerning the environment are something that should play a greater part in the syllabus here. Who wants to buy beef imported from Malawi when we have superb beef here. Our aim should be to make Manx the Mark of Excellence.”

Student Leonie Duggan said she thought it was a great idea to promote green issues. “It’s important that everyone is made aware of how important it is to look after the environment and also to support local food producers,” she said.

DAFF Minister Phil Gawne, was encouraged by the students’ reaction. “We had plenty of very positive feedback on the day. It was great to hear so many words of encouragement especially for our Manx farmers. With agriculture being such an important part of island life, we feel it is very important that everyone in the island, of all ages, is encouraged to eat our own home produced food.”

Meanwhile, the event looks set to be a springboard for future initiatives between DAFF and the College. Early next year, DAFF Minister Phil Gawne is due to make a half day visit to the College to forge closer ties between the two organisations.

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