BellTime Magazine Spring 2018 BellTime 9-5 - Page 9

BellTIME Do you want to shape the future of our food industry? Do you want to play an active role in safeguarding the future of your planet? Do you want to develop an understanding of how vital plants are to our existence? If you have answered yes to any of the above then a career in horticulture is for you. The word “horticulture” is often associated with gardening but gardening alone is only a small branch of the whole tree of horticulture. Horticulture by definition is the art and science of cultivating and managing plants. Graduates of horticulture have branched out into many different exciting and important roles some of which include; plant collection officers, plant scientists, plant propagators of rare and endangered plants, conservation, managing hundreds of hectares of vegetable and fruit crops, running their own business and creating employment in rural areas. When you choose to study horticulture you begin to germinate the seed for a diverse range of career opportunities. What many do not realise is that horticulture is in fact a sector of agriculture and is the fourth highest in value after beef, dairy and pigs. As people become more aware of their surroundings and their impact on them, where their food comes from and how we can produce sufficient food for everyone on the planet horticulture will come more to the fore. Research conducted by the University of Oxford discovered that those who have a vegetarian or low meat diet resulted in less carbon emissions than those on meat rich diets. It is now recommended we eat ten fruit and vegetables per day to stay healthy and reduce disease. People are now more conscious of where their food comes from and how far it had to travel. Leisure time and physical exercise are also integral parts of our everyday lives. Sport pitches, golf courses, parks, horse race tracks all come under the responsibility of horticulture. Trees in urban areas play a vital role in improving the quality of life of its inhabitants. Horticulture branches into every aspect of our lives on a daily basis. 16 Teagasc has been providing courses in horticulture since it was first established. Thousands of horticulturists have trained at Teagasc colleges since then and work in all areas of the industry. Teagasc currently have two horticultural colleges: Kildalton College based in Piltown, Co Kilkenny and the College of Amenity Horticulture at the National Botanic Gardens, and Ashtown, Dublin. Both colleges provide courses in horticulture at Levels 5 and 6. Applications to these courses are made directly to the chosen college online at www.teagasc.ie. In addition to these courses Teagasc works in conjunction with Waterford Institute of Technology to deliver the Level 7 Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. Applications for this course are made through the CAO system. Why not consider investing in a career in an industry that can impact on all aspects of our lives from the food that we eat, to the surrounding that we live in, to health and wellbeing as well as the environment and biodiversity. 17