LEAF Open Farm Sunday Search

Open gates, open minds – share your story your way

The organisers of Open Farm Sunday (OFS), LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) are encouraging more farmers to enjoy the multiple benefits that come from showcasing British farming by hosting an event in June this year.

The organ­is­ers of Open Farm Sun­day (OFS), LEAF (Link­ing Envi­ron­ment And Farm­ing) are encour­ag­ing more farm­ers to enjoy the mul­ti­ple ben­e­fits that come from show­cas­ing British farm­ing by host­ing an event in June this year.

Open Farm Sun­day Man­ag­er, Annabel Shack­le­ton, offers words of sup­port to any­one con­sid­er­ing host­ing an event on 9th June 2024:

There’s a huge oppor­tu­ni­ty to engage with an eager audi­ence — peo­ple are gen­uine­ly curi­ous to see behind the farm gate.

What­ev­er the size of your event, you’ll be mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to people’s under­stand­ing of farm­ing and food pro­duc­tion. By putting their sto­ries cen­tre stage, farm­ers are the true heroes of the day,” she says. 

LEAF research high­lights the val­ue to farm­ers of hav­ing pos­i­tive con­ver­sa­tions, feel­ing heard and appre­ci­at­ed by the pub­lic. For 88% of farm­ers the main rea­son they take part in OFS is to pro­mote a pos­i­tive image of the indus­try. After attend­ing an event, an over­whelm­ing 96% of vis­i­tors say they leave with a greater appre­ci­a­tion of the work farm­ers do. 

To sup­port the deliv­ery of events this year, prospec­tive hosts can join Open Farm Sunday’s online Zoom meet­ings run­ning until 22nd May, look through the OFS Infor­ma­tion Pack on the web­site www​.farm​sun​day​.org, or con­tact the OFS team to talk through event ideas and get ques­tions answered: 02476413911, [email protected]

Farms across Britain, from Jer­sey to Shet­land, take part in Open Farm Sun­day and wel­come vis­i­tors onto their farm, open­ing their mind to the world of farm­ing. Here a selec­tion of farm­ers share their top tips and experience:

SCOT­LAND: Kasi McRed­die, Erne­spie Farm in Cas­tle Dou­glas: An Open Farm Sun­day event doesn’t need to be a grand scale, it can be just as fan­tas­tic with 20 peo­ple com­ing from the local church group or school. It doesn’t even need to take place on a Sun­day, it could be as sim­ple as host­ing a farm walk one evening. The most impor­tant thing is mak­ing the event work for you. It’s some­thing you can real­ly build your con­fi­dence with and grow on your own terms over time.” 

SOUTH EAST: Emma Loder-Symonds, Non­ing­ton Farms in Kent: There are a huge num­ber of ben­e­fits from host­ing. For me one of the best things has been attract­ing new entrants into the indus­try. Share your farm. Just go and do it and you’ll be amazed at what hap­pens as a result.” 

SOUTH EAST: John Whit­by, Row­ley Farm in Colne Val­ley: I didn’t realise just how much fun host­ing Open Farm Sun­day would be. We get so much out of it. A small event for ten peo­ple is equal­ly valid. My advice is, give it a go, don’t be shy!”

EAST: Zoe Fletch­er from Buck­min­ster Farms, Nr Grantham, Lin­colnshire: It’s real­ly impor­tant for farm­ers to share their sto­ries with the pub­lic. To squash pre­con­cep­tions about the indus­try, help peo­ple to become more con­scious con­sumers and the real­is­tic lifestyle that farm­ers lead.” 

MID­LANDS: Louis Phipps from Brag­bor­ough Hall, Northamp­ton­shire: It’s real­ly impor­tant for farm­ers to share their sto­ries with the pub­lic. To show how much work goes into pro­duc­ing food, how much care we’re tak­ing of the envi­ron­ment, to recre­ate a con­nec­tion of where food comes from so peo­ple under­stand what they’re spend­ing their mon­ey on and what they’re putting into their bodies.”

WALES: Anna Sut­ton from Parc Grace Dieu in Mon­mouthshire: I was a bit ner­vous about the rules we’d need to adhere to when open­ing our farm to the pub­lic, but the resources, mate­ri­als and sup­port from the Open Farm Sun­day team is exceptional.” 

SOUTH WEST: Lisa Allen from Elm Tree Farm near Bris­tol: Peo­ple are gen­uine­ly inter­est­ed in farm­ing and are keen for their chil­dren to have con­nec­tions with nature and with where their food comes from. Agri­cul­ture as an indus­try can seem very closed and hard to under­stand for the pub­lic and is often only in the news when some­thing goes wrong or there is con­tro­ver­sy. OFS gives farm­ers the chance to share their work and their land with their com­mu­ni­ty, to bust some of the myths and cre­ate last­ing change in atti­tudes and beliefs among the public.”

NORTH EAST: David Peach of Rock House Farm Part­ner­ship in Bedale, York­shire; We host­ed our first Open Farm Sun­day in 2017 for 40 peo­ple. Over the year’s its grown to 250 peo­ple. My advice is start small and get lots of help. It frees you up to min­gle and talk to peo­ple, it’s hard work but very rewarding.”

Cel­e­brat­ing its 18th anniver­sary this sum­mer, Open Farm Sun­day is focused on encour­ag­ing more farm­ers to open their gates and put farm­ing cen­tre stage. Vis­it the OFS web­site to reg­is­ter and access an exten­sive range of free resources.

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