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Red meat resources for schools

23 April 2020

With many states moving to home-schooling in Term 2 in response to COVID-19, MLA’s Schools Education program is providing valuable resources for students, teachers and parents.

Here, we speak to MLA Community and Industry Engagement Manager Fiona Thompson about the program and how it’s helping Australian children to learn more about red meat.

Q: What school education resources does MLA provide?

A: Through our Schools Education program, which has been running for more than six years, we collaborate with a variety of education experts to produce a range of Australian curriculum-aligned education materials covering red meat production, animal welfare and sustainability.

All of our school resources are free, interactive and suitable for students from Kindergarten up to Year 10.

They’re all available at goodmeat.com.au/education-resources, as well as on our partner sites:

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MLA's suite of 'Cattle and sheep farming today' resources includes red meat production fast facts, lessons and activity sheets, as well as an interactive board game and videos.

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Q: Among the resources available are ‘virtual excursions’ – what do they involve?

A: Our livestreamed excursions run throughout Terms 1 to 4. They allow students to engage with beef, lamb and goat producers live on video stream to see and hear what they do on their farms while taking part in educational activities, quizzes and even interacting with other schools.

Students learn firsthand about sustainable farming practices, red meat nutrition and how food is produced. They also learn about the importance of modern technologies and science in agriculture.

MLA will also be introducing a new module of virtual classroom in Term 3 2020 which will run into Terms 1–2 2021 as part of the Australian Beef Sponsorship of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In the lead-up to the Games, these will feature Olympian and Paralympian Australian Beef Ambassadors, including live cooking classes and interviews focusing on the importance of beef’s role in a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Given the current global situation created by COVID-19 and isolation requirements, the livestreamed excursions and virtual classrooms have become even more valuable.

Teachers and students can register at mlavirtualexcursions.com

Over the last year:

  • MLA’s school education resources have been downloaded more than 15,500 times
  • Over 10,000 students from more than 450 schools have participated in our livestream virtual excursions.

Q: Why is it important that MLA continues to invest in education?

A: MLA consumer insights have identified that consumers are increasingly interested about the provenance of their food and production practices of the beef industry.

Insights also indicate that only one in five meat eaters have a good understanding of Australian red meat production and there are now almost 20% fewer Australians from urban centres visiting cattle or sheep farms annually compared to nine years ago.

Thankfully, agriculture now forms a part of the Australian curriculum, so teachers are looking for interesting and interactive resources to assist teaching science and technologies in the classroom. This is why MLA’s schools education program is so important – at a time where there’s a disconnect between agriculture and metropolitan communities, we’re connecting with our consumers in interactive, engaging ways to improve their understanding of our industry.

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Children cooking with red meat as part of MLA's Get Kids Cooking program at Royal Melbourne Show, 2019.

Q: What other work does MLA do to connect with the community?

A: One aspect of our Community program involves providing trusted information about red meat production, welfare and sustainability through the Australian Good Meat platform and its associated social media channels. It’s also a platform for red meVR-PTPlate.jpgat producers to share their story and demonstrate their commitment to best practice and continual improvement.

MLA also has strategic partnerships with targeted community events to inform consumers about the provenance of Australian red meat, enhance community confidence in the industry and promote red meat consumption by sharing red meat’s versatility.

The Australian Beef and Lamb Paddock to Plate Story in virtual reality is also a significant part of MLA’s Community program activity. The immersive 360-degree virtual reality experience caters to consumers by telling them the story of Australian red meat production, from the farm right through to the consumer, and underpins why Australia produces the greatest beef and lamb in the world.