Airfield Estate

AgroBRIDGES Good Practice Recording Template
Author(s) Maeve Henchion, Teagasc
Insert photo or any visual image or diagram e.g. /Word or Image Collage
Choose a primary theme that the Good Practice adheres to (three themes can be considered: Education and awareness raising practices
If relevant choose a secondary theme that the Good Practice adheres to Mutual benefits between primary producers and consumers
If relevant choose a tertiary theme that the Good Practice adheres to
EIP Practice Abstract Format:
Short summary for practitioners in English on the (final or expected) outcomes (1000-1500 characters, word count – no spaces).This summary should be as interesting as possible for farmers/end-users, using a direct and easy understandable language and pointing out entrepreneurial elements which are particularly relevant for practitioners. Research oriented aspects which do not help the understanding of the practice itself should be avoided.
This good practice reflects Airfield Estate’s mission, which is “To inspire and enable people to make better food choices, because even small changes can better for health, better value for money and better for the environment”. Built around the 38-acre estate encompassing farm- and wood-land, a farm shop, a farmers’ market, an award winning restaurant, gardens, the original family home and associated buildings, this not-for-profit organisation provides a range of services and activities to raise awareness and provide education to many target groups. Spurred on by a concern about how inaccurate and conflicting information about food causes confusion for consumers and by the potentially negative impacts of food production and consumption, their education and awareness activities focus on ensuring “that consumers understand the impact of their food choices on themselves, their families, society as a whole and, ultimately, the planet”. Working with a range of partners, they develop life skills for children, and offer adults of all abilities the opportunity to learn and socialise in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. They provide a traditional Montessori school and afterschool care for children (outsourced), and working with the Teaching Council in Ireland they have developed a flexible education programme for primary, secondary and university/college students to learn about food, farming and the natural world in an active, hand-on way. For example they use the estate’s working farm as the backdrop to help students understand the story of milk from grass to glass, as well as the food that is produced by other animals on the farm. 15,000-16,000 children per year pass through Airfield through such schools programmes. Other education and training services include those built around a Food Education space where cookery classes are provided for all ages and abilities. The cookery facilities, farm and garden are brought together in their collaboration with TUDublin to provide a BA in culinary cuisine; this is a ‘farm to plate’ degree enabling chefs to understand the production and seasonality of food and to innovate plant based food production and service. Airfield delivers hands on practicals ranging from veg growing, bee keeping and livestock knowledge. While located in an affluent part of Dublin city, they are conscious of vulnerable groups and the online Community Food Hub provides audio-visual resources to help people plan and cook healthy, nutritious meals on a budget of less than €10 per family meal. To achieve widespread reach they organise annual festivals. In addition to having casual visitors to the estate, they offer an annual membership scheme that provides preferential access and favourable prices to members.
Main results/outcomes of the activity (expected or final): Airfield Estate uses the working farm as a backdrop for education and awareness activities suitable for all ages. This ensures a hand-on, interactive, fun way of learning. Working with partners, e.g. Teachers Council, informs the design of the programme, provides confidence to parents and others looking for such activities and a channel to potential end users. They also leverage the UK-based charity LEAF’s programme called Farmer Time to access a digital platform to connect teachers, children and farmers. Children regularly interact live, from their classrooms, with their matched farmer through this digital platform. This enables them to ask questions, share knowledge and gain a ‘real-time’ understanding of the issues farmers/producers face every day.
Short summary for practitioners in native language on the (final or expected) outcomes (1000-1500 characters, word count – no spaces).
This summary should be as interesting as possible for farmers/end-users, using a direct and easy understandable language and pointing out entrepreneurial elements which are particularly relevant for practitioners. Research oriented aspects which do not help the understanding of the practice itself should be avoided.
Further information:
Pearls, Puzzles, Proposals? Pearls: An annual membership scheme provides an incentive for members to engage in life-long learning about food, for themselves and their families. Awareness raising and education activities are “hand-on” as much as possible. Puzzles: The relationship between Airfield Estate and its partners was not clear. It would be useful to know how these partnerships start, how they develop and their envisaged role as part of the overall mission. Proposals: It would be interesting to see how the Airfield Estate hands-on experience can be developed in the context of increased adoption of digital platforms for teaching and learning as a result of Covid19.
What needs did the ‘good practice’ respond to? Urban-based Irish consumers have less direct contact with farms than those a generation ago had. Consumers are keen to reconnect with food but often lack knowledge to do so. Airfield Estate responds to this need by providing access to locally grown food through its farm shop, farmers market and restaurant. It also provides people of all ages and abilities with the opportunity to learn about how such food is produced in a hands-on way.
Methodology Used: Website, 1:1 interview to be held yet but may not be used for this
Sector Meat, fruit and vegetables, bakery, dairy
Actors/Stakeholders involved. Who are key actors in the supply chain AND who are key enablers of the process? Teaching Council, LEAF, INDI (Irish Nutritional Dieticians Association)
Is the good practice supported by an IT application? If yes please describe and collect the TRL Airfield Estate leverages to online digital engagement platforms provided by the Farmer Time programme coordinated by LEAF in the UK ( to connect farmers with school children. It also partners with Evocco – a tracker tool to help consumers make more sustainable food choices
Optional: What supports were provided by public sector bodies/policy instruments?
Media attachment (e.g. video link) or other attachment describing/depicting the Good Pratice
Utube clip of food festival available at
Key words
farmers, consumers, local, organic, consumer education, membership scheme, digital platform
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020
research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 101000788


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