Connecting the dots between the farm and the fork at festival talk

September 19th, 2016 5:35 PM

By Southern Star Team

Dr Don Huber (left), award-winning scientist and Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology at Purdue University, with Darina Alan, food writer, chef and owner of Ballymaloe Cookery School, and Professor Ted Dinan, UCC Professor of Psychiatry, who were speaking at the ‘Our Farms, Our Food, Our Future,' f

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‘Fix your gut – Fix your brain’. That was the message from a highly informative seminar, part of the Taste of West Cork festival calendar  last week.



‘FIX your gut – Fix your brain’. That was the message from a highly informative seminar, part of the Taste of West Cork festival calendar  last week.

The idea that our gut is connected to more than our taste buds came as quite a surprise to most of the audience.

Majella O’Neill, a nutritional therapist and natural health practitioner, gathered together some of the country’s top experts on food and good health for the seminar ‘Our farms, our food, our future’, at the West Cork Hotel.

‘We have a fascinating and knowledgeable panel of speaking at the seminar today,’ Majella told The Southern Star. ‘What we want to achieve is to show people how to join  the dots, so to speak, when it comes to the way we treat our soil, our food and our bodies.’ 

The panel included Ballymaloe’s Darina Allen; award-winning scientist Dr Don Huber; Professor of Psychiatry Ted Dinan; Brown Envelope Seeds’ Madeline McKeever, and nutritional therapist Ann Darcy. 

‘We want to show how the way we treat our food before we eat it has a significant effect on the way we feel. Not just physically, but mentally as well,’ Majella continued. 

The links between the ‘good bacteria’ in our gut and the effects on the way our brain functions is, according to Dr Don Huber, a major factor when it comes to fighting mental illness. ‘Studies have shown that the use of chemicals when preparing the soil, even before the seeds are sown, is a process that should be avoided. We all need to know more about where and how the food that we are eating is produced.’ 

Food champion Darina Allen agrees that more needs to be done, especially in our schools, when it comes to educating children about where their food has come from, and how it was produced. 

‘Every child should be aware of where their food has come from. I would love to see every primary school pupil given the opportunity to grow their food, prepare their food and cook their food. This is the only way we are going to educate the young about the importance of food, not only as fuel for the body, but as a means towards better mental wellness as well,’ Darina said.  

Darina also commended Majella for gathering together a group of such well-informed and knowledgeable speakers. ‘This has been one of the more interesting seminars I have attended, and I am delighted that I have been part of the event here today,’ she said.

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