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New Offaly appointment at Bord Bia

Thursday, 1 February 2018

New Offaly appointment at Bord Bia thumbnailPictured at the Taste of Offaly 2017 was Dr Elizabeth Finnegan, Managing Director of Booley Foods, Celebrity Chef Patron of Michelin Derry Clarke from L’ecrivain and Áinne Finnegan, Booley Foods.

DR Elizabeth Finnegan, daughter of Kathleen and Michael Finnegan from Banagher, Co. Offaly, has been newly appointed as Healthy Eating Programme Executive with Bord Bia.

A Food Science and Health graduate from the University of Limerick, Dr Finnegan will take on key responsibilities pertaining to healthy eating and food education in primary schools with the Irish Food Board in February.

On her new role, Dr Finnegan believes that "radical thinking on food education both in schools and in the home is needed more than ever and that early intervention and cross-sectoral collaboration is the key to long-term success".

The eldest of three girls from an entrepreneurial farming family in Co. Offaly, Dr Finnegan demonstrated a keen interest in food enterprise and learning from an early age. "As the adage goes 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks', thus, we are reminded of the critical importance early education plays in forming healthy habits for life.

The children we educate today will be the consumers of tomorrow, so it is important that we educate them to make safe and informed food choices with a strong understanding and appreciation for the role of the primary producer (farmer) in getting food onto their plate".

Her rural upbringing coupled with her research experiences she believes helped shape her attitudes towards agriculture, food production, nutrition and education.

However, Dr Finnegan understands that there is no one-fits-all approach when it comes to food education as she put it "education itself is built on creativity and diversity".

With that in mind, a cross-sectoral whole school approach is high on her agenda. "diverse and unique roles to date have given me invaluable networking opportunities with 70+ of Ireland's leading agri-food companies and industry leaders.

Given the complexity of the issue at large and the range of programmes and initiatives available, there is a great need for cross-sectoral collaboration and a whole school approach to provide coherent guidance on food education once and for all".

An advocate for shared agricultural and food learning experiences, the former education and development officer together with her sister Áinne launched their own family-run business venture "Booley Foods" at the National Ploughing Championships in September 2017.

Booley Foods produce a range of speciality butters, buttercreams and clarified butter oils, using locally sourced Irish butter.

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