James Madison University’s 2019 Ireland Media, Culture, and Society study abroad program worked in collaboration with Foróige, Galway’s youth organization. We discussed the issue of food waste in Galway. Splitting into four teams; web team, multimedia team, video and audio team, and storytelling team, the students worked together to gather information on how much food is being wasted and how much the community knows about the issue.
Foróige, working in collaboration with Jigsaw, offers counseling for the youth if requested. Foróige offers a unique space which celebrates diversity and your chosen expression, whether that be your sexuality, your gender, your choice of rainbow socks – this is a space where you matter and are acknowledged for who you are. Foróige also offers the chance to try and learn new things from either day trips or internally run programs, but these are an optional choice. Foróige can be a friendly face, a comfortable couch and a bowl of popcorn at the end of a hard day. It operates on a drop-in basis – you choose how many times a week you attend, and for how long. It has an abundance of ready, caring volunteers who are more than willing to lend an ear or a hug.
– Written by Síobha Murphy
“I have found out again and again that the adults and teenagers of Foróige are people who I am more than willing to meet again and again on a weekly basis – they are a home away from home. It is full of people who entirely encompass the meaning of kindness and compassion. I aspire to these standards. These are the type of people I would like to be. A unique community that has heart and life. When the world has done its best to tear you down, this is a place where you can be built back up again. Foróige is your choice and the option of that second home to anyone who takes it”.
Beatha is fuel of humanity, and wasting it is akin to wasting life. Food waste, food insecurity, and food sustainability are growing topics in Ireland as well as abroad. Therefore it is imperative now more than ever to find creative ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle food to avoid waste, reduce negative environmental footprints, and decrease food insecurity among populations.
With our research and media design based in Galway, we chose the word “beatha”, [pronounced “bah-hah”] to represent the name of the project due to its root not only in food, but sustainability— this Irish word holds “food” and “life” as synonyms. Beatha brings us all together; for some it is the sacred cornerstone of life and culture. We thought it was important to emphasize the impact and importance of food waste and food insecurity on the daily lives of people not only here in Ireland, but worldwide.