Next generation to ‘Dig In’ to agri-food education

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has joined forces with rural education body Agri Aware to help primary school children understand what happens on farms.

A new teaching pack entitled ‘Dig In’, has been distributed to 250 primary schools across Northern Ireland.

The project aims to give children from urban as well as rural areas an opportunity to understand life on a farm, the origin of food and the importance of farming and food in Northern Ireland.

UFU deputy president, Victor Chestnutt, said the aim was to develop a teaching resource that is engaging and enjoyable.

“We are delivering on this goal with a lesson plan that offers a range of interactive activities and exercises through a number of modules,” he said.

“The aim is to get a serious message across in a way children enjoy.”

The resource is divided into four modules corresponding to levels of ability across all stages of primary education.

‘Dig In’ land-based lessons

Chestnutt said Dig in would become a key tool for any teacher delivering agricultural or land-based lessons as part of their wider teaching plan.

“We believe the resource pack will help with communication, literacy and social development skills,” added the deputy president.

The success of the resource will be based on evaluations conducted with participating teachers later this year.

However, Chestnutt has said that the programme has already attracted positive comments from several principals as well as the region’s education authority.

Dig In aims to play a vital role in educating children on where their food comes from, as well as helping to build their understanding of food.

“This will help establish healthy eating habits, and a sound understanding of the role farming plays in delivering the countryside we all enjoy – whether we live in it, or visit it,” said Chestnutt.