UFU launches ‘Dig In!’ schools’ competition

Schools across Northern Ireland are being challenged to “Dig In!” to life on the farm by putting their creative skills to the test.

The competition is run by Ulster Farmers’ Union, in partnership with Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend and ASDA, for nursery, primary and special schools.

UFU deputy president, David Brown said: “The aim of the competition and ‘Dig In!’ is to get school children thinking about farming and where their food comes from.

“We would encourage all schools and teachers to participate, in what is a very worthwhile competition,” he said.

Open Farm Weekend

The comments were made as the UFU launched its annual schools’ competition. Open to all 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.

“Both offer an opportunity for teachers to start the discussion in classrooms about the importance of food and farming in Northern Ireland, allowing children to learn more about how farmers work hard to produce the delicious, healthy food on our tables and the many ways we look after the countryside everyone enjoys,” Brown explained.

Joe McDonald, ASDA NI corporate affairs manager, who is one of the competition’s sponsors, said: “It is great to see competition entries grow each year and the standard is excellent.

It is important 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 eighth year, Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend is the perfect partner for the schools’ competition and the “Dig In!” resource.

As part of their prize, each category winner receives free transport for their class to go to the nearest Open Farm Weekend farm with all competition entries to be put on display throughout the weekend.

However, Brown explain schools don’t need to be competition winners in order to visit real, working farms.

“This free event showcases Northern Ireland’s world-class ‘Farm-to-Fork’ journey and gets school children, and their families, out on the farms to see where their food is produced,” he said.

“Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend this year is on June 15-16 and I would certainly encourage teachers to consider organising a trip to a local participating farm on the schools day, Friday, June 14.”

Entry forms have been sent to all nursery, primary and special schools. The closing date for entries is Friday, April 5, 2019.