The problem that Learn Local seeks to address is food poverty and poor nutrition. In 2021, 445,890 people in Ireland experienced food poverty. The problem has two layers, causes and consequences. The causes come from low income but fundamentally poor knowledge around accessing and cooking good, nutritious food. Basic life skills have been taken over by convenience and we are now seeing the direct result of this through poor concentration, increased sickness, obesity. Two groups in Ballymun in Dublin (the intented target audience of Learn Local) collectively have 800+ children cross their door on a weekly basis. Some of the children lack the basic social skills around eating.
Learn Local provides cooking and nutritional education to children in schools. Teaching children at a young age will broaden their palette, and influence good food choices for themselves and in the future, their families in which will break the generational cycle that is contributing to food poverty in the area of Ballymun. Learn Local will act as part of a larger initiative, the Ballymun/Finglas food forum, which was founded by local community members and business owners with an aim to reduce food poverty and increase food security, and education around food.
Ideas Academy 2023
Since commencing the Ideas Academy, Eilis has adjusted her idea, prior to starting with a group of people in order to accommodate a wider cohort. She now feels confident that she can tailor a programme, once specific needs have been identified. “I feel that the programme was hugely beneficial to me as someone who would have very limited knowledge around social enterprise, and business in general… I have gained a fantastic group of peers who are all very supportive of each other. I have learned that, yes my Idea can definitely contribute to solving a problem, with the right supports, capital and resources.”
Eilis has run a parents programme and two young people’s workshops within a youth service setting and has a Primary school, Secondary school, three youth service groups, and a parents group willing to run pilots. Eilis was awarded €2,500 of seed funding at the end of the Ideas Academy programme which will go towards buying equipment and produce for sessions, facilitation fees and the creation of an evaluation and impact report following the pilot.
“This funding and support is a game changer for the pilot projects that will be run! … I believe that Learn Local will change children’s lives in future when it comes to their Food education, culinary skills and literacy. This seed funding will go directly into the schools that need it most, and drive impactful change in the Irish curriculum.” Eilis Davenport
Eilis Davenport is the founder of Learn Local