UFU launches ‘supporting local produce in NI’ schools’ competition

UFU launches ‘supporting local produce in NI’ schools’ competition
Launching the 2024 schools’ competition at Straidbilly Primary School, County Antrim are William Irvine, UFU deputy president and BOIOFW chairman, Joe McDonald, Head of Corporate Affairs Asda NI, Mrs Clark, teacher and BOIOFW farm host and Straidbilly Primary School pupils.

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) in partnership with the Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend (BOIOFW) initiative and competition sponsor Asda, are challenging pupils across Northern Ireland (NI) to put their creative flare to the test in this year’s schools’ competition.  

Commenting on the launch of the school’s competition, UFU deputy president William Irvine said this year’s theme provides an opportunity to start a discussion about the importance of supporting local food productions and the unique family farm structure in Northern Ireland.

“The competition will raise awareness amongst pupils on the origin of food and the all-important role that farming families play in society, producing food to feed a growing population, caring for the countryside, providing employment, supporting rural communities and the economy,” said William Irvine.

Straidbilly Primary School pupils pictured with William Irvine, UFU deputy president and BOIOFW chairman, and Joe McDonald, Head of Corporate Affairs Asda NI, launching the 2024 ‘supporting local produce in NI’ schools’ competition.

“NI farmers have a fantastic story to tell championing local food production. This competition will help pupils further understand the hard work and dedication that farmers put into producing high quality produce which they consume daily. It is vital that we remind consumers that the products they are purchasing in shops started on farm and why choosing local produce matters, looking out for those important logos and the product’s origin.

“Each year, the judges are continually impressed by the creativity, standard and volume of entries received, so much so, that the UFU has introduced additional prizes including third place and highly commended certificates. I would encourage all playgroups, nursery, pre-school, primary and special schools to participate in this year’s competition, showcasing their artistic talent.”

The UFU is pleased to have the continued support from competition sponsor, Asda.

Joe McDonald, Head of Corporate Affairs Asda NI added: “Asda has been a proud sponsor of the schools’ competition for several years, and we are delighted to be on board again this year.

“It is fantastic to see competition entries grow year upon year and the hard work, dedication and passion that pupils have to learn more about farming in NI. It is vital to continue creating an awareness of where our nutritious, home-grown produce comes from, and this year’s competition theme is a great opportunity to do so – educating pupils on the ‘farm to fork’ story and the importance of supporting local produce.”

BOIOFW is taking place on Friday 14th (schools’ day), Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June 2024.

“I would encourage all schools to consider organising an educational trip to a local participating farm on Friday 14th June. The free interactive schools’ day provides pupils with the opportunity to experience life on a working farm while supporting farmers to deliver the ‘farm to fork’ story, reconnecting with consumers and reiterating their role as the primary food producers,” said the UFU deputy president.