UFU launch “Dig in! to food, farming and the environment” schools’ competition
The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) in partnership with Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend (BOIOFW) and Asda, are challenging school pupils across Northern Ireland (NI) to “Dig in!” to food, farming and the environment, by putting their creative skills to the test.
The comments were made as the UFU launched its annual schools’ competition. Open to all playgroups, nursery, primary, and special schools, this year’s theme relates to the UFU’s food and farming education resource “Dig in!”, which encourages pupils to learn more about food, farming, and the countryside.
UFU deputy president, David Brown said, “This year’s schools competition theme ‘Dig in! to food, farming and the environment’ provides an opportunity for teachers to start the discussion in the classroom about the importance of food and farming in NI, allowing pupils to learn more about how farmers work hard to produce the delicious, high-quality produce on our tables, and their contribution to shaping our landscape in NI, which everyone enjoys.
“Climate change has been the front runner in NI this year and our farmers play an essential role in combating the global issue, as they are a key part of the solution. The schools competition helps pupils to enhance their understanding of how farmers create different environments in NI which support our economy, rural communities, tourism and recreation.”
Mr Brown says every year the competition judges are impressed by the number, standard and creativity of entries for the schools’ competition. “We would encourage all nursery, playgroups, primary and special schools to participate in what is a very worthwhile competition. It’s a great opportunity to express their creativity while learning about one of the most important sectors in NI as they will discover the importance of local food production,” he said.
The UFU is pleased to have competition sponsor Asda on board for another year with a range of prizes available for the lucky winners.
Joe McDonald, Asda NI corporate affairs manager said, “Asda is a proud sponsor of the school’s competition. It is great to see competition entries grow year upon year, especially with the introduction of a differentiating foundation category last year – the standard is superb. It is vital to create an awareness of where our produce comes from, and this competition is a great opportunity to do so – educating children on the ‘farm to fork’ story.”
Now in its eleventh year, BOIOFW is the perfect partner for the schools’ competition. As part of the prize, the winner of each category receives free transport for their class to the nearest participating BOIOFW farm, and all competition entries will be on display throughout the weekend.
Mr Brown says schools don’t need to be competition winners in order to visit real, working farms. “This free event showcases NI’s world-class ‘farm to fork’ journey and reconnects consumers with our farmers, the primary food producers. The weekend underlines the importance of supporting local producers to benefit the rural community and wider economy in NI. BOIOFW is taking place on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June, and I would certainly encourage all schools to consider organising a trip to a local participating farm on the schools’ day, Friday 17 June,” said the UFU deputy president.
Entry forms have been sent electronically to all playgroups, nursery, primary and special schools. Schools’ competition templates are available by visiting www.ufuni.org (news tab).
The closing date for entries is Friday 29 April 2022.