Record entries for 2021 ‘Dig In’ schools competition

The winners of the 2021 Dig in schools competition, celebrating 10 years of Open Farm Weekend, have been announced.

The competition, which is run by the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), in partnership with Bank of Ireland Virtual Farm Weekend and Asda, received a record number of entries this year.

Open to all playgroups, nursery, primary, and special schools in Northern Ireland, the tasks related to the UFU and Agri-Aware’s food and farming education resource ‘Dig In!’ which encourages pupils to learn more about food, farming, and the countryside.

‘An extremely difficult task to judge’

UFU deputy president David Brown said: “A huge congratulations to all of the winners and a big thank you to everyone who entered.

We received over 7,000 fantastic competition entries this year, the largest volume of entries recorded to date, making it an extremely difficult task to judge.

“Every year we are impressed by the standard and creativity of entries and this year was no different. From digital news report entries highlighting ‘what farming means to me’, to brilliant posters with materials such as grass, glitter, googly eyes and feathers being used to help Open Farm Weekend celebrate its 10th anniversary.

“The effort and time that pupils, teachers, parents and guardians put into the competition was evident as all of the entries were of the highest standard.

“It was evident from the record-breaking number of entries that the competition was well received, and I hope it provided an opportunity for teachers and parents to start the discussion in their classrooms and homes about the importance of food and farming in Northern Ireland.”

2021 Dig In schools competition

Prizes included £200 for the winning school in each section and £250 in lieu of transport to a farm and an LMC cookery demonstration, as well as £100 for the runner-up school in each section plus a Bramley apple tree.

The UFU, Bank of Ireland Virtual Farm Weekend, and Asda would like to congratulate the winners of the UFU’s 2021 schools competition:

  • Special schools: Lucia Kane – Beechlawn Special School, Co. Down;
  • Foundation (Playgroup, nursery and pre-school): Meadow Holmes – Ballynahinch Primary School (Nursery Unit), Co. Down;
  • Foundation (P1 and P2): Alesha Hilley – Edwards Primary School, Co. Tyrone;
  • Key stage 1: Reuben Callaghan – Lisnadill Primary School, Co. Armagh;
  • Key stage 2: Eimear Clarke – St. Joseph’s Primary School, Galbally, Co. Tyrone.

The runners-up of the 2021 “Dig in! to 10 years of Open Farm Weekend” schools competition is as follows:

  • Special schools: Brooklynn Smith – Rossmar School, Derry;
  • Foundation (Playgroup, nursery and pre-school): Carly Smith – Ballymagee nursery, Co. Down;
  • Foundation (P1 and P2): Eva Gordon – Clough Primary School, Co. Antrim;
  • Key stage 1: Kyle Johnston – Irvinestown Primary School, Co. Fermanagh;
  • Key stage 2: Joey Donnelly – McClintock Primary School, Co. Tyrone.

Asda Northern Ireland corporate affairs manager Joe McDonald added: “As a proud sponsor of the schools’ competition, it was fantastic to see such a large number of entries this year with pupils from both urban and rural areas across Northern Ireland submitting their artwork.”