WINNING schools across Northern Ireland have taken delivery of substantial Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured (NIFQA) beef and lamb hampers thanks to the return of the successful Meat4Schools initiative.
The educational competition run by the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) aims to improve the availability of beef and lamb for pupils studying food related subjects at post-primary level. Meat4Schools also strives to encourage pupils to think about the nutritional value of red meat and how it can be incorporated into the diet.
LMC was delighted to once again partner with ABP Food Group to offer competition winners substantial NIFQA beef and lamb hampers for use in practical classes.
This year, for the first time pupils were tasked with creating a short video. Topics given were reflective of Key Stage learning outcomes including food safety, red meat nutrition and the Northern Ireland Beef and Lamb Farm Quality Assurance Scheme.
The Commission is delighted to announce the three schools that have been selected as the deserved winners of this year’s competition are, Integrated College, Glengormley, Down High School, Downpatrick and St Joseph’s Convent Grammar School, Donaghmore.
Speaking about the Meat4Schools competition, LMC education and consumer promotions manager Sarah Toland said, “The competition complements our existing schools programme and improves access to NIFQA beef and lamb in the classroom. One of the key drivers for the competition was to give pupils the opportunity to improve skills in cooking with NIFQA beef and lamb during Food and Nutrition classes.
“Again, this year we were pleased to receive an encouraging number of entries from schools across the province, reiterating the reach of the Meat4Schools competition.”
Christina Mullan, teacher at Integrated College, Glengormley said, “This competition links brilliantly with our KS3 schemes of work. Students in Year 10 learn about the importance of food provenance in Northern Ireland. Within this we cover the Farm Quality Assurance Scheme and the benefits of including red meat in their diets. Students get the opportunity to prepare, cook and enjoy red meat and put their knowledge from theory lessons into practice.”
Speaking about the Meat4Schools competition, Sharon McKee, teacher at Down High School said, “Meat4Schools is a super competition which allows us as teachers to keep pupils fully engaged in their learning whilst developing their communication and teamwork skills. The competition activities have strengthened pupils understanding of the role of red meat in the diet and to fully appreciate the value the Farm Quality Assurance Scheme has in encouraging consumers to make more sustainable food choices.”
Amy Doherty, teacher at St Joseph’s Convent Grammar School, Donaghmore remarked on how the Meat4Schools competition complements learning outcomes. She said, “This competition served to enhance pupil confidence in discussing the importance of red meat in the diet and added to their understanding of food preparation and safety. It was an active learning strategy that combined nutritional theory with the practical element of the subject. Our pupils study the food supply chain ‘from farm to fork’ and recognise the importance of NI Farm Quality Assurance at Key Stage 3 level and as part of the GCSE and A level specification.”
George Mullan, managing director, Northern Ireland ABP Food Group said, “ABP is delighted to once again partner with LMC. Engaging with young people about the nutritional values of red meat in a balanced diet and how locally sourced beef and lamb is produced is important to us and our farmer suppliers in order to ensure we get the right information across.”
LMC marketing and communications manager, Lauren Patterson confirmed that there are more exciting plans in the pipeline for school focused initiatives aiming to educate, engage and inform pupils and teachers about the benefits of NIFQA beef and lamb. She said, “The Commission is widely recognised as a body that is independent and impartial when it comes to sharing the attributes of our world class beef and lamb. LMC has been working closely with schools for almost 25 years and hopes to continue on this path for many years to come.
“We are on track to complete 375 post primary school cookery demonstrations before March 2023 when we will see the re-launch of our primary school demonstrations. These demonstrations provide pupils with an opportunity to ask questions about NIFQA beef and lamb, learn new cookery skills, and most importantly taste beef and lamb, some for the first time. At LMC, we are proud to support teachers and almost 12,000 pupils in accessing and learning about NIFQA beef and lamb each year.”