Horticultural students developed resources to support allotment owners production and preservation methods to minimise food waste

Name of the participant and other supporting staff if relevant Ana Cañizares
Name of the module and discipline, level and  year of study and any useful background info 2nd year students on the Higher Certificate in Science in Food Science & Management take the Horticultural Products Technology Module.
Name of community partner and/or any other supporting partners (public or private sector) Chapelizod Allotments & Dublin City Council
CERL project title(s) 2nd year Food Science students developed resources on preserving horticultural products, with Chapelizod Allotments.


What you changed about your programme/course in relation to CERL This module is about teaching students about the technologies involved in the manufacturing of products from horticultural origin. Ana wanted to bring a more practical approach to the module. She changed the continuous assessment part of this module to incorporate a CERL project working with allotment holders. 
Can you provide any tangible info – e.g. module descriptor, learning outcomes, assignments, assessment criteria


As part of this CERL project the students worked with the allotment holders to research and develop resources on useful preservation techniques, to reduce food waste, this also aligns with sustainability goals

The assignments on the module were 60% for the exam and 40% assignment, which is normally a laboratory report and an assignment. Ana transformed this 40% into a requirement to produce an infographic and a reflective piece. 

How was it taught:

·        number of students

·        student groupwork or individual,

·        how they worked with the partner,

·        how the project proceeded,

·        any reflection done with students,

·        evaluation or formal assessment of their learning,

·        tech used

·        Anything else interesting?

9 students taking the Horticultural Products module developed resources in the form of infographics to support allotment holders in preserving and using the products they grow, to minimise food waste. They also had to reflect on their learning during the module.

 Students met the allotment holders at the mid-point and end of the 6-week project. Ana forwarded student work-in-progress to the allotment holders before the mid-point meeting, so that they give them useful feedback on the resources that were being developed. At the final meeting the students presented the final resources to the allotment-holders for feedback. 

What did your students learn or how will they benefit? Student benefits have grown emotionally and professional, gained confidence and self-esteem. Ana believes the skill or tool of being able to self-reflect was the most valuable learning. The students became more dependable, some of them had low self-esteem and they got really good feedback from allotment holders, and this improved their vision of themselves.

 From Ana’s perspective she also learned a lot about reflective teaching. She also felt giving the students responsibility made them want to work harder. They did not want to let the allotment holders or Ana down, they became accountable for their work.

What do you think the benefit was to the partner? Do you have any feedback from the partner? The allotment holders had access to relevant fact-checked information, which saved them time, and they were very happy with the resources.
Any challenges and how you overcame them


Ana would have liked to have more preparation and planning time, as the CERL project began after the module had already started. Engagement with the allotment holders was difficult at times due to differences between their schedules and those of the students. They managed to ensure enough engagement as the project went on.

The workload for the project was intense and needs to be recognised by management.

Advice you would give to someone starting a CERL project with students?


Be prepared to fail, be flexible and don’t expect everything to be perfect!