Be inspired – Healthy Horticulture marquee Balmoral Show

5th May 2022

Colour, flavour, aroma, knowledge, information and fragrances fused together to ensure a visit to the Healthy Horticulture marquee delivers a great experience for all the family, providing something for everyone. 

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) horticulture and potato committees in partnership with Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS), Hort Forum Northern Ireland (NI) and ‘Parful Produce by Veg NI’, are gearing up to engage, inspire and inform our visitors on the importance of supporting local quality produce. 

The College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) Greenmount campus are joining the industry within the large Healthy Horticulture marquee, thus emphasising the connection between education, technical advice, and new technologies with longer term industry opportunity and success. 

Cookery theatre: Local entrepreneur Mollie Cunningham owner of Ballytrim Pantry, in partnership with Parful Produce by Veg NI and supported by the UFU and CAFRE students, will be demonstrating the importance and ease of making healthy food choices incorporating local seasonal fruit and vegetables. Mollie will be joined over the four days by young visionary people sharing their passion and drive for a career in horticulture / agriculture. Becky Cole from Broughgammon farm, Emily McGowan Millbank Farm, Alexander Lyttle RL Produce, and potato industry ambassador Mighty Spud to mention a few, will take centre stage. Mollie is no stranger to Balmoral having worked for Food NI and having helped us promote the versatility of the potato on the Might Spud exhibit. We are so excited and delighted to have Mollie join us again in a much bigger ambitious cookery theatre setting. 

Local professional growers from the UFU and Hort Forum NI including flowers, foliage, soft fruits, apples, mushroom, potato and vegetables, will be interviewed and on hand for questions supported by CAFRE staff from Greenmount. 

New kids knowledge trail: Children will have the opportunity to complete a new knowledge trail all contained within the marquee with prizes for all on completion. 

The children’s potting table: The children’s potting table returns by popular demand inspiring little green fingers to pot, learn, take home, grow, cook and enjoy.

Boots fit for a queen: The Balmoral Show’s ‘Fill your Boots’ competition is themed to mark the queen’s platinum jubilee. The search is on for green-fingered horticulturists to create a welly boot display showcasing “Boots fit for a Queen”, in recognition of this prestigious milestone. Entries will be on display in the healthy horticulture marquee as will the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster floral art competition winner’s exhibits.    

Rural Support: Social farming – Caring for our communities
Rural Support are delighted to be showcasing social farming again in the Healthy Horticulture section of Balmoral Show 2022. Across the four days visitors to the stand can see elements of what social farming offers and meet Rural Support staff, farmers, and participants who can tell the story of the impact of social farming in our communities. Social farming is a service delivered by farmers, providing the opportunity for individuals with support needs to get involved in farming in a supportive way. Activities are structured, meaningful, and include a focus on horticulture in terms of food production and also the healing power of nature. Participants benefit through social inclusion in the farming community and the physical and mental benefits of being outside interacting with nature and animals.

Balmoral Show is running in conjunction with Mental Health awareness week 9 -15 May 2022, visit Rural Support in the Healthy Horticulture marquee H1 Section H, and explore how horticulture and other activities can help Mental Health.  

Dr Aoibeann Walsh, Rural Support’s head of social farming and innovation, commented, “Social farming is about people and the farm environment and how both can be cared for in our rural communities. Make sure to visit the Healthy Horticulture marquee to see us and all the wonderful exhibitors promoting the health and environmental benefits of the horticulture sector in Northern Ireland.”

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful: Chris Walsh, communications officer at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said, “We are hugely excited to return for another edition of the Balmoral Show. We will use our time at the Healthy Horticulture Marquee to bring to life the role that pollinators play in food production, how you can use bread as an indicator of soil quality, what we can all do about the perennial problem of pointless plastic in food and drink, and much more besides. Be sure to pay us a visit!”

The Conservation Volunteers: The Conservation Volunteers are the leading UK wide conservation volunteering charity with a vision for healthier, happier communities for everyone. Our mission is simple to connect people and green spaces to deliver lasting outcomes for both. Across NI we have a wide range of projects giving people the opportunity to volunteer to improve their physical health, mental health and well-being by being outdoors and active with others. This creates, enhances and protects our natural environment and green spaces for everyone to enjoy.

We are delighted to be showcasing our healthy horticulture offer to individuals, communities, schools and corporate partners alike. This includes examples of short, medium and long-term practical horticulture projects we can design to suit your needs. We offer a full range of horticulture and environmental training to improve confidence and employment prospects through learning inspired by the outdoors.

Water Catchment Partnership: The Water Catchment Partnership (WCP) will be attending the Balmoral Show this year, at stand H20, entrance to ‘Healthy Horticulture’. Come and chat to the WCP about how you can work together to prevent plant protection products from entering our rivers and lakes.

The UFU horticulture and potato producers, look forward to welcoming you into the industry Healthy Horticulture marquee, plans are in place for a remarkable and ‘Parful’ visitor experience. Supported by DAERA and NIRFP.