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

Launching the 2024 schools’ competition at Straidbilly Primary School, County Antrim is 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 schools competition theme, ‘supporting local produce in NI’ provides an opportunity for teachers and parents to start the discussion about the importance of supporting local food production and our unique family farm structure in NI. 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.

“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 said, “Asda has been a proud sponsor of the school’s 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 14 (schools’ day), Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 June 2024.

“I would encourage all schools to consider organising an educational trip to a local participating farm on Friday 14 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.

Entry forms have been sent electronically to all playgroups, nursery, pre-school primary and special schools. Schools’ competition templates are available by visiting (education tab) with further details for this year’s event. The closing date for entries is Friday 29 March 2024.

For further information click here or contact Lynsay Hawkes at UFU HQ on 028 9037 0222 or

  • UFU launch ‘supporting local produce in NI’ schools’ competition

    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’ school’s competition.