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NI youngsters challenged to put their creative flare to the test in farming art competition

February 27, 2023 11:43am
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We've teamed up with the Ulster Farmers’ Union ahead of the Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend to challenge pupils across Northern Ireland to put their artistic and creative flare to the test in this year’s ‘Farming through the seasons’ schools’ competition.

llie Hawkes (McClintock Primary School), William Irvine, UFU deputy president and BOIOFW chairman, Alwyn Aiken (McClintock Primary School), Joe McDonald, Head of Corporate Affairs Asda NI and Carter Hawkes, (Omagh County Primary School).

The annual art, photography and mixed media competition, which Asda is proudly sponsoring, is open to all playgroups, nursery, primary, and special schools and encourages pupils to learn more about food, farming, and the countryside.

Joe McDonald, Head of Corporate Affairs Asda NI, said: “Asda has been a proud sponsor of the school’s competition for a number of 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 delicious produce comes from, and this competition is a great opportunity to do so – educating pupils on the farm to fork story and farming through the seasons."

UFU deputy president William Irvine said: “This year’s schools competition theme ‘Farming through the seasons’ provides an opportunity for teachers and parents to start the discussion both in the classroom and at home about the importance of food and farming in NI and our unique family farm structure.

"The competition will allow pupils to learn more about how farmers work hard 365 days of the year throughout the various seasons to produce the nutritious, high-quality produce on our tables.

“The competition is 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!”. Every year the judges are astonished by the creativity and standard of entries received. I would encourage all playgroups, nursery, primary and special schools to participate in what is a very worthwhile competition. It provides the opportunity for pupils to express their creativity while learning about one of the most important sectors in NI.”

The Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend initiative is now in its twelfth year and 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 competition entries will be on display throughout the weekend for pupils to view their fantastic work.

Mr Irvine says schools don’t need to be competition winners to visit a real working farm

He said: “BOIOFW is taking place on Friday 16 (schools’ day), Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June and I would encourage all schools to consider organising an educational trip to a local participating farm on the dedicated schools’ day. This free event showcases NI’s world-class ‘farm to fork’ journey and reconnects consumers with our farmers - the primary food producers,” 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 (education tab) with further details for this year’s event. The closing date for entries is Friday, 24 March.

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