BUDDING agricultural enthusiasts are on a mission to tell their peers all about the benefits of Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured (NIFQA) beef.
In a bid to do so, dozens of pupils across Northern Ireland have asked the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) to provide in class cookery demonstrations.
And the latest to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in were the young people from Newtownhamilton High School.
The demonstration organisers are eight groups of pupils who have been selected as finalists of the ABP Angus Youth Challenge. The popular competition sees finalist teams win their own Angus calves to rear worth £3,500.
As part of the competition, finalist teams complete a themed project relevant to current topics facing the agricultural and food industry.
LMC Marketing and Communications Manager Lauren Patterson outlined that this is where the LMC cookery demonstrations fit in.
She explained: “LMC’s Northern Ireland Beef and Lamb Farm Quality Assurance Scheme (NIBL FQAS) is part of the GCSE and A Level syllabus. Our team of skilled cookery demonstrators adapt each demonstration to suit the age range of pupils in the audience with content tailored to match learning outcomes from both the syllabus and individual projects.
“We were pleased to be able to work with the ABP Angus Youth Challenge finalist teams to offer in school cookery demonstrations. Finalist teams are tasked with rearing FQA Angus calves through to finishing, so this has provided a valuable platform for us to share the positive farm to fork journey of NIFQA produce with the classmates and teachers of each finalist group.
“Our cookery demonstrators regularly present to Home Economics pupils so engaging with the finalist teams and adapting these demonstrations to meet their specified requirements ensured that the groups and their peers, who study a wide variety of subjects, received a tailored and informative demonstration.”
Recently it was the turn of the finalist team from Newtownhamilton High School to host an LMC cookery demonstration to help inform their classmates as future consumers.
LMC demonstrator Hilary Stevenson remarked on pupils’ interest in the food they eat.
She said: “The pupils in Newtownhamilton High School were very interested and engaged during the demonstration. For the demonstration I made honey chilli beef rice bowls using rump steaks supplied by ABP. During the demonstration I covered the importance of knowing where our red meat is coming from and why it is good to use Farm Quality Assured beef.
“I also spoke about the inclusion of red meat in the diet, the nutritional value of beef, cooking food from scratch using fresh ingredients and the importance of a well balanced diet. The pupils participated during the demonstration asking and answering questions. They loved the samples of the dish with many saying they were going to make it at home.”
The team had arranged for 25 pupils to attend.
Speaking following the demonstration, Newtownhamilton High School teacher Carol Alexander said: “It is wonderful that the LMC cookery demonstrators reinforce what we teach in school regarding meat hygiene, safety and healthy cooking and eating practices.
“The nutritional benefits of red meat in the diet was highlighted during the demonstration which is the key focus of the group project for our ABP youth challenge finalists. To top it all off, we were all able to enjoy sampling the delicious chilli beef rice bowl dish, finishing a Friday afternoon in style!”
Meanwhile, LMC’s Lauren added: “We are proud to support the ABP Angus Youth finalists in any way we can as they progress through this extremely worthwhile competition. The learnings and knowledge proven by each team provide great confidence for the future of our agri-food industry.”