Students of food and agriculture at seven third level colleges north and south of the border will gather in Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) for the 4th Annual Great Agri-Food Debate on Thursday 14th February 2019. The Great Agri-Food Debate is a joint initiative between Dawn Meats & McDonald’s.
Students from WIT will be joined by a record six other third level colleges to make this the largest Agri-Food debate so far. Teams from University College Dublin, University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology; Queens University Belfast; IT Tralee; and CAFRE, Loughry Campus will all make the journey to Waterford for the two-day event, featuring six debates, culminating in the final, in which students will debate the motion “Vegan diets are better for people and planet”.
The protection of the planet is a theme that will dominate the debate proceedings, with other motions including “Farm supports drive sustainable agriculture”; “The consumer will pay a premium for sustainable food” and “The world can’t feed 10bn people and prevent catastrophic climate change”. Issues that have dominated editorial pages such as Ireland’s climate change commitments, mitigation measures, plastic waste and veganism will be unpicked by participants and rigorously debated.
The judging panel will include industry leaders from finance, food safety, retail and agriculture such as Tara McCarthy, CEO Bord Bia; Niall Browne, CEO, Dawn Meats; H.E. Deike Potzel, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Ireland; Brendan Gleeson, Sec. General, Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Pamela Byrne, CEO Food Safety Authority of Ireland.
Commenting, Niall Browne, CEO Dawn Meats said: “This annual event was conceived to encourage debate amongst students and challenge our thinking on issues of importance to the agri-food sector. More than 40 participants with a wide breadth of perspectives, from 7 colleges across Ireland have chosen to take part this year. In continuing the trend from previous years, we are not shying away from presenting controversial topics to students for debate. As challenges in our society evolve, so too does the response of the farming and agri-business community.”
This year’s debate will take place at WIT’s Sports Arena on Thursday 14th February. The first semifinal debate will start at 10.30am, followed by another at 11.50, with the final to take place at 14.30.