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Farmers urged to ‘dip a toe’ in LEAF Open Farm Sunday virtual event

Food and biodiversity will be at the heart of LEAF Open Farm Sunday’s (LOFS) two-day virtual event in September. Featuring live interactive tours and demonstrations from farmers and chefs from around the UK on 19th and 20th September, organisers Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF) are calling on farmers to get involved by sharing their own short film clips, photos and stories of food and farming across social media.

Food and bio­di­ver­si­ty will be at the heart of LEAF Open Farm Sunday’s (LOFS) two-day vir­tu­al event in Sep­tem­ber. Fea­tur­ing live inter­ac­tive tours and demon­stra­tions from farm­ers and chefs from around the UK on 19th and 20th Sep­tem­ber, organ­is­ers Link­ing Envi­ron­ment And Farm­ing (LEAF) are call­ing on farm­ers to get involved by shar­ing their own short film clips, pho­tos and sto­ries of food and farm­ing across social media.

This builds on the suc­cess of the first vir­tu­al Online Farm Sun­day held in June to mark the orig­i­nal date of farming’s annu­al open day and which attract­ed thou­sands of view­ers. LOFS is team­ing up with British Food Fort­night and Scot­tish Food and Drink Fort­night, also held in Sep­tem­ber, in an ambi­tious back-to-back week­end which brings a new cook­ery ele­ment to cel­e­brate not only farm­ing but the food it produces. 

Farm­ers can take part through Face­book, Twit­ter and Insta­gram using #LOFS20. The focus on Sat­ur­day 19th is nutri­tious food, sea­son­al recipes and cook­ery demon­stra­tions. On Sun­day 20th farm­ers across Britain are invit­ed to vir­tu­al­ly open their farm gates and show the pub­lic how their food is pro­duced and the amaz­ing work they are doing to pro­tect and enhance the wildlife and bio­di­ver­si­ty on their farms. 

Farm­ers will be encour­aged to go live on Face­book, send in videos and share pho­tographs about their wildlife and bio­di­ver­si­ty high­lights. Whether it is bee friend­ly crops, habi­tat banks or wild­flower mead­ows to boost bio­di­ver­si­ty, the day will be a vir­tu­al cel­e­bra­tion of all that farm­ers do to pro­tect and enhance the envi­ron­ment and the val­ue of nature to people’s health and wellbeing.

Annabel Shack­le­ton, LEAF Open Farm Sun­day Man­ag­er, said:

At the very heart of LEAF Open Farm Sun­day is telling the real sto­ries of farm­ing and this is the per­fect oppor­tu­ni­ty for farm­ers across the coun­try to get involved and col­lec­tive­ly make a huge pos­i­tive impact on the British public.
It is not the event we had orig­i­nal­ly planned for 2020, but in fact both of our vir­tu­al events – in June and in Sep­tem­ber — pro­vide an amaz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty to involve more farm­ers from all cor­ners of the coun­try. These could be farm­ers who may not have been able to host a LEAF Open Farm Sun­day event for what­ev­er rea­son before, but who can dip their toe in this year with as lit­tle as one pho­to or a self-made video on their social chan­nels. What we want to show is a real­ly rich and diverse kalei­do­scope of farm­ing sto­ries from the peo­ple who can tell them best.”

The recent pan­dem­ic has high­light­ed to the nation the val­ue of food as well as fresh air and coun­try­side, all in which farm­ers play a fun­da­men­tal role. The vir­tu­al for­mat cre­ates a pow­er­ful plat­form to reach out to more peo­ple than ever before, includ­ing those who may not have been able to attend an open farm event in the past. 

Northum­ber­land mixed farmer, John Ren­ner, and long-term LEAF Open Farm Sun­day host farmer explained:

We have always wel­comed around a 100 peo­ple when we have opened our gates for LEAF Open Farm Sun­day, which is a great num­ber to keep it per­son­al. That said, hav­ing tak­en part in the June vir­tu­al event, we reached over ten thou­sand, which was incred­i­bly reward­ing and great to know so many peo­ple engaged with our farm story. 
With the increased inter­est in cook­ing from scratch and the prove­nance of food, this is the moment to main­tain the momen­tum and keep British food front of mind so when peo­ple are in the super­mar­ket they active­ly select local, sus­tain­ably pro­duced or con­sid­er buy­ing direct from the farm.
I would encour­age every­one who plays a part in the UK farm­ing indus­try to get involved this Sep­tem­ber. It doesn’t take much time and it is real­ly good fun. Imag­ine the impact if every­one in the indus­try — from farm­ers to agron­o­mists, vets, trac­tor mechan­ics, shear­ers and millers — post­ed a pic­ture, video or mes­sage on their social chan­nels on Sun­day 20th September.”

The LEAF Open Farm Sun­day web­site will have pages devot­ed to the two themes, and the event’s spon­sors — AHDB, Arla, Asda, BASF, Co-op, Defra, Farm­ers Week­ly, Fron­tier Agri­cul­ture, John Deere, Kellogg’s, LEAF Mar­que, NFU, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Wait­rose — will be shar­ing videos, pho­tos, activ­i­ties, recipes, down­loads and links through­out the two days. 

For farm­ers con­sid­er­ing get­ting involved, LEAF’s Speak Out Toolk­it is packed with easy-to-use guid­ance and resources, pro­vid­ing step by step sup­port for vir­tu­al communications.

Some top tips for self-film­ing high­light­ed in a recent LOFS host farmer meet­ing include:

  • Go live if you are con­fi­dent! 82% of view­ers would rather watch a live video. If this isn’t an option, on the day’ relata­bil­i­ty is also pop­u­lar. Take a pho­to or video that morn­ing and post it the same day. 
  • When film­ing, keep things fun and light-heart­ed where you can 
  • Make sure you have a good back­drop – cow? com­bine? woods? 
  • If you have a par­tic­u­lar mes­sage you want to get across – say things three times in three dif­fer­ent ways to help the audi­ence absorb it 
  • Authen­tic­i­ty is key – do not edit videos too much – the pub­lic like the raw material 
  • Use visu­al con­tent – be pre­pared with props 
  • Always film with your phone in land­scape (not portrait) 
  • Use #LOFS20, tag @OpenFarmSunday and have fun! 

The full press release is also avail­able to be viewed here.

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