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Open Farm Sunday 2016 – Public engagement reaches new high

Visitors to Open Farm Sunday once again exceeded over a quarter of a million. 85% increase in Open Farm Sunday Facebook followers. #OFS16 trended on Twitter on Open Farm Sunday

Pub­lic engage­ment with farm­ing is at an all-time high, fol­low­ing this weekend’s Open Farm Sun­day (5th June), say organ­is­ers LEAF (Link­ing Envi­ron­ment And Farm­ing). It is esti­mat­ed that once again, over 250,000 peo­ple flocked to dis­cov­er the world of farm­ing on Sun­day. Near­ly 400 farms wel­comed vis­i­tors of all ages, who also engaged heav­i­ly with the cam­paign via social media, both in the run up to the day and through­out the weekend.

The con­tin­ued growth of this annu­al cam­paign, which cel­e­brates all that is great about British farm­ing, is due to the ded­i­ca­tion of the farm­ers that open, every­one that helps at events, Open Farm Sunday’s spon­sors, and the wide­spread sup­port of the food and farm­ing indus­try. Annabel Shack­le­ton, Open Farm Sun­day Man­ag­er at LEAF, said: Once again, the food and farm­ing indus­try suc­cess­ful­ly unit­ed to show­case British farm­ing to the pub­lic. It is thanks to this fan­tas­tic col­lab­o­ra­tion that Open Farm Sun­day con­tin­ues to be recog­nised as the industry’s flag­ship event. We called on farm­ers to open up and share their sto­ry and are delight­ed that so many chose to open their gates. On behalf of LEAF, I would like to thank every­one who made this day such a suc­cess and we look for­ward to work­ing with you all next year.” 

Open Farm Sun­day 2017 will take place on 11th June 2017. Spon­sors of Open Farm Sun­day 2016 includ­ed: Arla Foods, Asda, BASF plc, Co-op, Defra, Farm­ers Week­ly, Fron­tier Agri­cul­ture, John Deere, Jor­dans, LEAF Mar­que, Marks and Spencer, Nation­al Farm­ers Union, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Wait­rose plus the Agri­cul­ture and Hor­ti­cul­ture Devel­op­ment Board, with direct sup­port from the fol­low­ing AHDB sec­tors: Beef and Lamb, Cere­als and Oilseeds, Dairy, Hor­ti­cul­ture, and Pork. 

Vis­i­tors to Open Farm Sun­day were quick to show their thanks to the farm­ers involved with many tak­ing to social media to share their gratitude: 

This will be our 4th year. Dif­fer­ent farm each time. It’s love­ly to be able to go inside all the farms that we pass every day on our way to school and work.”

Had a great time. A love­ly fam­i­ly day out, all staff were very wel­com­ing and very friend­ly. Lots of activ­i­ties for chil­dren too.”

It was our first time at open farm and our first time straw­ber­ry pick­ing. A great fam­i­ly day out, thank you!”

We learned so much about how the farm works, thank you.”

Still up there as one of our favourite fam­i­ly days out”

Great fun and edu­ca­tion­al day at Open farm Sun­day. We loved the ani­mals, trac­tor ride and learn­ing all about the farm, thank you so much for a great day. We will be back again next year for more fun and facts about the farm.”

Well done & thanks to every farmer who opened their gates today for Open Farm Sun­day. You’re doing a huge job to con­nect farm­ing & food.”

Had a great time at Open Farm Sun­day. Trac­tor’ is my daughter’s favourite new word.” 

Great day today – 12 of us went rang­ing from 11 months to 63yrs… Top day”

Ahead of Open Farm Sun­day, LEAF pro­duced a series of new col­lat­er­al which includ­ed ani­mat­ed videos that brought to life all that farm­ing deliv­ers – from food to ener­gy, cloth­ing, cos­met­ics and much more besides – as well as a series of videos with hints, tips and infor­ma­tion for host­ing an event. Cam­paign videos were viewed over 15k times on YouTube, whilst the Open Farm Sun­day Face­book page increased its fol­low­ers by 85% and had a reach of 115k in the 28 days pri­or to Open Farm Sun­day. The Open Farm Sun­day Twit­ter also increased its reach with near­ly 530k impres­sions since the start of March – a 15% increase on the same time peri­od last year. On Sun­day morn­ing, #OFS16 was the sec­ond largest trend­ing top­ic on Twitter. 

Annabel Shack­le­ton added: This year we want­ed to show the pub­lic how much farm­ers deliv­er – not just the food we eat but all the many oth­er ways they con­tribute to our dai­ly lives, and we have cer­tain­ly achieved this. We invest­ed in con­tent for our dig­i­tal chan­nels to help ensure that the Open Farm Sun­day mes­sage spreads beyond the day itself. On the day, many farms were able to utilise new resources and activ­i­ties which helped strength­en the con­nec­tion between farm­ing and science.” 

Amongst the vis­i­tors to farms on Open Farm Sun­day was the Sec­re­tary of State for Envi­ron­ment, Food and Rur­al Affairs, Eliz­a­beth Truss. Ms Truss, who joined Car­o­line Drum­mond, chief exec­u­tive of LEAF on a tour of Cor­ner­ways Nurs­ery, near Kings Lynn said: I am delight­ed to be sup­port­ing Open Farm Sun­day. This great ini­tia­tive not only pro­motes the excel­lent work done by farm­ers and pro­duc­ers from across the UK but also pro­vides an insight into the high­ly inno­v­a­tive and enter­pris­ing world that mod­ern day farm­ing has become.” 

An exten­sive on and offline com­mu­ni­ca­tions cam­paign helped put Open Farm Sun­day on the public’s radar. Open Farm Sun­day was fea­tured in a range of nation­al pub­li­ca­tions includ­ing The Sun, Sun­day Mir­ror, Dai­ly Mail, Express, Olive, Gur­gle, Deli­cious, and Clos­er mag­a­zine. Fea­tures also ran in Good Things, Landlove and Coun­try­side Mag­a­zines and online at Great British Food and Coun­try Liv­ing. For the 5th year run­ning Open Farm Sun­day has been includ­ed in the Mon­ey Sav­ing Experts newslet­ter, with Mar­tin Lewis high­light­ing the event on ITV’s Good Morn­ing Britain and This Morn­ing shows, help­ing gen­er­ate a record num­ber of vis­its to the Open Farm Sun­day web­site. Open Farm Sun­day fea­tured on The Archers, and was also men­tioned on Radio 2’s break­fast, after­noon and dri­ve time shows, as well as on Radio 4’s Farm­ing Today. Inte­gral to the Open Farm Sun­day cam­paign is the cov­er­age in region­al press and once again this has been exten­sive with hun­dreds of pieces run­ning to pro­mote local farms. 

To read the full press release click here.

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