Recently two of our pupils, Emma from Mr Fagan’s 6th class and Tymoteusz from Mr Donnellan’s 5th class, wrote a letter to Carambola, who are our lunch providers and sponsors of our sports teams.

In their letter below they asked two questions:

1) Can we reduce the packaging on our school lunches?

2) Where does the food in our lunches come from?

Audrey Hennessy from Carambola, who deals with our school, promptly responded and organised a meeting with the Green Schools representatives.

That meeting took place today with Audrey and Colm O’Brien, MD of Carambola. The Green School reps explained what their role is in the school and some of the things they have been doing this year, with each person getting a chance to speak and share ideas.

Colm addressed the questions Emma and Tymoteusz had raised in their letter. He explained the H.A.C.C.P. system developed by N.A.S.A to ensure food safety and hygiene for astronauts was adopted in food preparation in Ireland, which is why we need a certain level of packaging on our lunches. He also said, regarding packaging, that Carambola is looking into biodegradable packaging and replacing plastic with paper packaging where possible.

Regarding their second question, Colm shared that it hadn’t been something they had focused on before but when they looked into it, that 7 out 10 items in our school lunches are from Ireland. The committee were happy to hear this as the results of the Global Citizenship survey raised questions about knowledge of where our food comes from and how far it has had to travel (carbon footprint).

Colm said that Carambola intend to work on reducing this number and revealed some exciting ideas that they have in the pipeline regarding our lunches and offsetting their carbon footprint by helping other businesses to reduce their carbon emissions. Something they plan to get pupil input on in future.

This just tells us what an impact one letter or the work of a small group can have. It reinforces in our students that their voice can be heard and that we can work together with businesses to create a better future for our world and it reiterates the message we see time and again regarding climate change, that small changes can make a big difference.

We thank Audrey and Colm for taking the time to come and speak with our Green Schools Committee and for their continued support to St Dominic’s N.S.