June 13, 2024

ATU Signs Deal Aimed at Reducing Food Waste

Atlantic Technological University (ATU) and FoodCloud, an Irish non-profit dedicated to fighting food waste and food insecurity, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a partnership that aims to enhance educational opportunities, reduce food waste, and support sustainable practices in food systems.

Under the agreement, ATU will provide education and training at QQI Level 6 to personnel linked to Community and Voluntary Organisations (CVOs), and other relevant parties. This project is funded under the Community Climate Action Programme which is administered by Pobal on behalf of the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications.

FoodCloud's research study, the "More Than Food: Surplus Food Distribution during the Covid-19 pandemic", highlights the importance of sustainable food distribution and the potential of surplus food redistribution to create more sustainable and equitable communities. This research will inform the development of educational programs, ensuring they are relevant and impactful.

The collaboration will introduce several educational programs, including a Certificate in Sustainable Food Surplus Practice which includes specialised modules on food legislation, safety, and surplus food management.

Speaking at the signing of the MOU at FoodCloud’s Headquarters in Tallaght, Dublin, President of ATU, Dr Orla Flynn said, "I am delighted to be here in Dublin today to sign this MOU with FoodCloud.FoodCloud is a registered charity (or non-profit organisation) which benefits society in so many ways, by distributing food to those who need it and protecting the environment by reducing food waste. This collaboration demonstrates our commitment to leveraging education to address real-world challenges. By partnering with FoodCloud, we are not only enhancing learning opportunities but also contributing to a more sustainable and equitable food system in Ireland."

The agreement includes a commitment to provide shared resources to support the effective delivery of validated programs. The collaboration will extend to joint research and innovation, and will also focus on the professional development of staff, ensuring continuous growth and improvement.

Aoibheann O’Brien, Co-founder of FoodCloud welcomed the partnership with ATU, saying, "We were delighted to welcome ATU to FoodCloud today to celebrate our joint creation of the Certificate in Sustainable Food Surplus Practice. This collaboration further connects our active network of volunteers, community and food industry partners to the impact that food waste has on our planet, enabling them to become changemakers in their own homes, workplaces and communities.”

The primary goal of the partnership is to equip participants with the knowledge and competencies required to support the sustainable transition of food systems, decrease food waste across the supply chain, and address several UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The online format of the courses will allow participants to earn a QQI Level 6 qualification while maintaining full-time employment, facilitating career advancement. ATU’s extensive experience in delivering online programmes ensures students will receive the necessary support to succeed, even if returning to education after a long break.

This partnership between ATU and FoodCloud represents a significant step towards creating a more sustainable and equitable food system in Ireland.

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