RTÉ One, Thursday, 8.30pm
Ear to the Ground

Programme 10

Ear to the Ground

A school in Meath is waging war on a planning application by an international fast food chain to open a branch at the school gates. Mary Mulligan, principal of St Joseph's Convent of Mercy in Navan tells Ella Mc Sweeney about how her own farming background instilled healthy lifestyle habits in her and her mission to share those habits with her students.

She feels that putting such unhealthy food right outside the school gates is irresponsible as children and young people cannot be relied upon to make the most sensible nutrition decisions. Navan, like so many towns across Ireland, has been very badly hit by the recession however. Local councilor Shane Cassells says that the new branch has the potential to create 40 much sought after jobs.

Killowen Farm in Wexford has been in the hands of the Dunne family for 9 generations. Eight years ago they decided to add value to the milk produced by their well-fed dairy cows. Killowen Farm yoghurts, in their distinctive glass jars, have quickly established themselves as a leading Irish food brand. This is truly a farmhouse product: there are less than 4ft between the milking parlour and the yoghurt making facility. Nicholas Dunne tells Helen Carroll how they constantly strive to keep their yoghurt as local as possible. All of the fruit used is local, including the famed Wexford strawberries. Killowen Farm is an inspiring story of a family of farmers making the best of their local environment and improving it at the same time, by employing 14 people in a rural area.

Last summer, Darragh Mc Cullough traveled back in time to learn a skill that was once essential to all farmers - horse ploughing. Our modern farmer Darragh, however, needed to be guided by the very able Gerry King. King holds a whopping eleven all Ireland horse ploughing titles and had his work cut out to get Darragh up to scratch to compete at the Fingal Show last July. Darragh found himself in a one horse race, but that didn't convince the judges to go easy on him!

Ear to the Ground is produced by Independent Pictures for RTÉ

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