Online seminar: Connecting soil and human health

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Farmers and consumers in Wexford, in the South-East of Ireland, can together cut health costs and increase quality of life by uniting in a deliberate consuming of healthy farm fresh food, said agribusiness and food expert Brendan Byrne of SFP (Soil-Food-People).

The free to the public, one-hour seminar titled “Community Health from the Ground Up” was held on Zoom on Thursday 23rd April at 7.00 p.m.

The seminar organiser, Brendan Byrne, a graduate of UCD, who runs a popular podcast titled, ‘Salt of the Earth’, said County Wexford and Ireland is facing a tsunami of chronic diseases that are driven by poor diet and poor nutrition.

He said: “Eating healthy farm fresh food is preventative medicine at its best and it will reduce the need for medication, pilgrimages to doctors and clogged up hospitals, while freeing people to live happy, healthy, quality lives.

“Healthy food consumption reduces health problems and furthermore healthy soils and healthy food produces healthy people. There is big benefit to every man, woman and child and to the local and national economy.

He said further: “Diabetes, heart disease and obesity are examples of this trend.  The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) and numerous individual experts have already warned us. However, we are ignoring their warnings because we are hooked on junk food and an easy way out. But a heavy price is being paid already and it will be worse in years to come. Let’s move from emphasis on disease treatment to emphasis on disease prevention”.

Politicians and business, medical, health professionals and community organisation leaders including Irish Country Women’s Association, Irish Farmers Association, Macra na Feirme, Muintir na Tire and sports and other voluntary organisations were invited to the seminar which was free to the public.

Five keynote speakers covered a range of topics including “Chronic Disease Realities”, The Answer is in the soil”, “Empowering people”, “Nourishing your mind” and “Positively Green.

The speakers were Ivor Cummins, chief programme manager of Irish Heart Disease Awareness, David Atherton, CEO of Thomson & Joseph, who is UK-based dairy nutritionist and soils expert, Tara Kelly, research associate and lead dietician at Diabetes Digital Media(DDM) UK, Pat Mulcahy, Ballinwillin House Farm, Ireland’s only combined organic farmed venison, wild boar and goat farm and Declan Coyle, leadership training consultant who is creator of the Green Platform.

The meeting also includes individual testimonial, along with contributions from local farmers, Eamonn Crean of Greenhill Fruit Farm and Liam Byrne, Macamore Buffalo.