LEAF Open Farm Sunday Search

Increased public engagement secures greater turn out for Open Farm Sunday

Open Farm Sunday 2024, managed by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), has set a new benchmark with an impressive surge in media reach and number of visitors attending this year’s event.

Mark­ing its 18th anniver­sary, Open Farm Sun­day, held on 9th June 2024 wel­comed over 180,000 vis­i­tors to 241 events across the UK, sur­pass­ing last year’s vis­i­tor num­bers by 9,100.

David Web­ster, LEAF Chief Exec­u­tive, says: Open Farm Sun­day is always such a pos­i­tive and cel­e­bra­to­ry moment in the farm­ing cal­en­dar and this year we were sub­stan­tial­ly helped by a rare day of glo­ri­ous sum­mer weath­er. It was fan­tas­tic to see such strong pub­lic sup­port on the day with thou­sands of peo­ple trav­el­ling to vis­it farms across the UK. I attend­ed two fan­tas­ti­cal­ly well-run events at Hall Hunter Tues­ley Farm in Sur­rey and the Wad­des­don Estate in Buck­ing­hamshire, both of which were packed with vis­i­tors hav­ing a won­der­ful time. 

On behalf of every­one at LEAF I extend our sin­cere thanks to all those who took the time to open their gates or sup­port Open Farm Sun­day farm events to show­case the cru­cial role of farm­ers as food pro­duc­ers and cus­to­di­ans of the land.

Pro­mot­ing how farm­ers are farm­ing with nature and con­nect­ing the pub­lic with the ori­gins of their food is of vital impor­tance to engage the pub­lic con­struc­tive­ly around farm­ers as cus­to­di­ans of the land. The increase in vis­i­tor num­bers to Open Farm Sun­day events and uplift in con­sumer media engage­ment this year under­scores the pub­lic’s gen­uine inter­est in sus­tain­able farm­ing and desire to form deep­er con­nec­tions with farm busi­ness­es in their local com­mu­ni­ty. It real­ly is such a pos­i­tive day for every­one involved.” 

Each year, LEAF con­ducts a sur­vey of farmer hosts fol­low­ing the open day. The top three rea­sons why farm busi­ness­es took part in Open Farm Sun­day remain the same, with farm­ers keen to pro­mote a pos­i­tive image of the farm­ing indus­try (88%), to improve com­mu­ni­ty rela­tions (80%) and to inform the pub­lic about sus­tain­able farm­ing prac­tices (75%).

This shows how the rel­e­vance of the cam­paign has stood the test of time and the enthu­si­asm for it con­tin­ues to thrive and grow as we enter our 19th year. The reach and impact of our cam­paign for farm­ers and the pub­lic is some­thing we work hard to pro­mote with the sup­port of our many spon­sors across the agri-food and retail sec­tors, for which we are enor­mous­ly grate­ful. With­out their sup­port we sim­ply could not run this impor­tant event.” Mr Web­ster adds.

In the lead-up to Open Farm Sun­day on the 9th June, the campaign’s media cov­er­age reached excep­tion­al num­bers, with a broad­cast reach of over 18 mil­lion and sig­nif­i­cant engage­ment on social media plat­forms through­out the day. The planned radio day alone secured 44 inter­views, reach­ing a con­sumer audi­ence of 4.3 million.

First-time farmer host Lor­na Bur­dge of North Water­hayne Farm in Devon shares her expe­ri­ence: We were com­plete­ly over­whelmed by the suc­cess of our event. The num­ber of vis­i­tors exceed­ed our expec­ta­tions, and the feed­back was pos­i­tive. We’re already plan­ning next year’s event!”

Vet­er­an host Michael Sly of Park Farm, Thor­ney, in Cam­bridgeshire who has par­tic­i­pat­ed since the first ever Open Farm Sun­day in 2006 and this year attract­ed an incred­i­ble 12,000 vis­i­tors to his farm! Michael empha­sised the event’s endur­ing appeal: Open Farm Sun­day has always been a high­light for us. 

The enthu­si­asm and curios­i­ty from vis­i­tors, both young and old, affirm the impor­tance of these inter­ac­tions in fos­ter­ing a bet­ter under­stand­ing of farm­ing and food production.”

Vis­i­tor Car­ly, from Chich­ester, who attend­ed an Open Farm Sun­day event at Lang­mead Herbs Ltd. in West Sus­sex, high­lights how the day impact­ed her: Our farm vis­it was enjoyed by three gen­er­a­tions; grand­par­ents, par­ents, and chil­dren. We were inspired by the pas­sion and knowl­edge of the farm staff and left feel­ing proud of our British farmers. 

It prompt­ed great dis­cus­sions about food pro­duc­tion and the envi­ron­ment in the car on the way home. My chil­dren had­n’t con­sid­ered a farm­ing career before our vis­it but now they do!”

Key sta­tis­tics from the event under­line the pos­i­tive impact of this year’s campaign:

  • 241 events, aver­ag­ing 747 vis­i­tors per event, up from an aver­age of 665 vis­i­tors in 2023
  • 5% more vis­i­tors over­all in 2024 than 2023 with 180,000 attend­ing Open Farm Sun­day events
  • 94% of vis­i­tors rat­ed their expe­ri­ence as excel­lent or good with 86% hav­ing learnt some­thing new about farm­ing dur­ing their vis­it and 91% of vis­i­tors moti­vat­ed to buy more British food

Look­ing ahead, Open Farm Sun­day 2025 is set for June 8th, with LEAF con­tin­u­ing to build on this year’s momen­tum to ensure that even more peo­ple have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see farm­ing at first hand and see for them­selves what farm­ers are doing to farm more sustainably. 

For more infor­ma­tion on Open Farm Sun­day and to par­tic­i­pate next year, vis­it the Open Farm Sun­day web­site www​.farm​sun​day​.org.

For the full press release.

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