Agri-food business, Glens of Antrim Potatoes, is helping to sow the seeds of partnership amongst local schoolchildren with the launch of a cross-community education campaign.
The project, which officially launched last month, will see P5 and P6 pupils from Glengormley and Cushendall working together to plant, nurture and harvest Irish ‘Lumper’ potatoes - the variety ruined by potato blight during the mid-1800s - in raised beds in their school grounds, whilst learning about the history of the Irish famine.
Principal of Glenann Primary School in Cushendall, Francis Close, said: “We have been working with Glengormley Integrated Primary School for over six years now, rolling out a series of activities throughout the school year to help bring our pupils closer together. The Irish Famine forms an important part of the school curriculum and what better way to teach it than to allow pupils to grow Lumper spuds which are unlike most potatoes they see in the shops, and relates to a period of time that they only ever read about.”
The schools will receive raised beds, Irish Lumper seeds, equipment and step-by-step growing instructions from Glens of Antrim Potatoes for the project. Later in the year, the pupils will hear from a series of guest speakers who will visit the schools to discuss the history of the Famine and in September the young students will work together to harvest the crop.
Michael McKillop from Glens of Antrim Potatoes commented: “By teaching the children at an early age about the food they eat, we intend to pave the way for a lifetime of healthy eating habits. Growing projects such as this will also help the pupils at both schools learn how to work together, so we look forward to watching long-lasting friendships form between the two groups.”