Open Farm Sunday
Can I still hold my event in June?
Some of you may be unable to host an event on September 20th, that’s fine, you can simply run your LOFS another weekend in September - just note it down on your event registration. LOFS will be running under the same format as it does in June, so anyone that wishes to open on alternative dates can do so, the 20th Sept will just be the official date published for LOFS 2020 going forward.
If you continue to run an event in June, it will not be considered an official LOFS event. LEAF strongly urge you to postpone your event.
I’ve already registered for LOFS 2020 and , I’m happy to run my event in September instead of June, do I need to change my registration, or will this be done automatically?
No, your registration will automatically be transferred to the September date. If you wish to cancel your event, please email [email protected] and we’ll sort this for you.
You will still be able to edit your event and change details as normal on the system. Nothing will change in that respect, log in using your username and password and go into ‘my account’ followed by ‘my events’ and edit from there!
I can still host an event in September, but due to time of year, it can’t be as I normally would, can I change the format of my event, for example to a small farm walk?
Of course! You can change the type of event you want to run. . If you wish to change any aspect of your event, take it off the website or stop advertising your event publicly then this is okay too. Just let us know. If you have any problems doing this please just email [email protected], and someone will be able to help.
I’ve already ordered resources for LEAF Open Farm Sunday in June. Do I need to return the resources that have a date on them?
All resources that are undated, save for your event in September and future years! We will create more paper resources for you to order from the shop closer to the time.
My road banner has June written on it. Will one be available that says September?
No! Running LOFS in September is a one off, and I’m sure you can appreciate that it is difficult to justify the cost of printing more gate banners. Our correx road signs have had a redesign this year, so although small, you can write the date on them in permanent marker and this will have to be an alternative for this year.
I’m sure you appreciate that these are challenging times and we are doing all we can to facilitate the running of LOFS 2020 in a format as normal and cost effective as possible.
I’m worried about the weather putting a stop to many of the activities we have during our usual Open Farm Sunday event. What activities can I do that have bad weather contingency plans?
Have a Plan B for bad weather but don’t let it ruin your day. Inevitably rain especially, or cold, will mean that fewer people will come, and you will almost certainly need less parking, volunteers and fewer refreshments. However, you can lessen the impact of bad weather by stressing towards the end of your publicity material that (assuming this is the case) there is still plenty to see and do indoors, that attractions will be moved to a barn etc. Suggest people dress appropriately if the weather is poor. Come the middle of September, check the seven-day forecast for your area and keep checking!
I’d love to host LOFS in September but am worried harvest won’t be over and therefore I’ll be too busy. Can I still register and then cancel if needs be?
We’d encourage to register and run a small event that could be possible if harvest is trailing. Plan a farm tour and let people see from a distance what harvest is all about – it would be a rare opportunity for the public to see and hear about it in action.
Cancellation is always an option if absolutely necessary so please do keep this in mind when deciding if you can or can’t run an event in September.
When will the online shop be open again to start ordering resources for September?
The online shop will be re-opening in June. Please visit the online shop webpage in the run up to June to find out the exact date.
I can’t normally run an event in June as it clashes with things going on with the farm and other events. Can I host an event in September every year if this one goes well?
Time will tell. I’m afraid we can’t plan anything regarding running an LOFS event in September in future years just yet. We’ll see how this year goes and if there is high demand to offer a September event then we will consider this closer to the time.
What happens if the UK is still in the same position in September regarding Covid-19 as it is now? I don’t want to organise my whole event again and then be struck by the same predicament in a few months’ time.
I’m sure you understand that these are unprecedented times. We will monitor the situation very carefully over the weeks and months ahead. Rest assured, if the situation changes, we will let you know in good time and communications will be sent out accordingly.
Is there a guide to help farmers opening for Open Farm Sunday or Open Farm School Days?
Yes, on registering your event you will be sent a handbook that has lots of useful information to help you organise a successful Open Farm Sunday or Open Farm School Days visit and covers everything from promoting your event to collecting feedback. It also has a template risk assessment and lots of top tips on how to ensure your event is engaging and safe.
How should I prepare for my event?
Plan your route by taking account of interests and needs of your visitors, time available, distance, weather. Put signs up at the entrance, for parking, toilets etc. and if possible have ‘give-aways’ ready – farm facts, leaflets, stickers, maps. If you operate guided tours or trailer rides, put a sign up saying where the activities will start from and when… good communication with visitors helps them find their way.
What if the weather is bad?
Have a Plan B for bad weather but don’t let it ruin your day. Inevitably rain especially, or cold, will mean that fewer people will come and you will almost certainly need less parking, less help and fewer refreshments. However you can lessen the impact of bad weather by stressing towards the end of your publicity material that (assuming this is the case) there is still plenty to see and do indoors, that attractions will be moved to the barn etc. Suggest people come in boots, stout shoes or wellies and bring a jacket if the weather is poor. At the beginning of June, check the seven day forecast for your area and keep checking it.
How can I get others involved in my event?
To spread the workload and demonstrate the breadth of knowledge, skills and expertise in farming - team up with your farming neighbours, agronomist, vet, conservation advisor and sponsors. You could ask them to help publicise the event, or invite them to say a few words on the farm tour to give you some breathing space! You could also involve other local people and groups in the community to get involved such as the Young Farmers, the Scouts etc.
How much should I charge visitors to my event?
We don’t envisage an entry fee for Open Farm Sunday events. However, if you want to raise have a cause that is close to your heart such as a local charity, or charge for specific activities such as tractor and trailer ride, make sure you make that clear on your website entry and on your publicity material.
What Health and Safety measures should I consider?
Health and Safety is important but it should not overshadow your day. The key is to assess the risks and plan around them. We’ve compiled some of the key information and golden rules for you. Read more
How should I direct visitors around my event?
Let the characters from Shaun the Sheep help your visitors find their way around your farm and encourage them to keep their hands clean. We’ve got lots of signs for you to download and print out.
If possible have a map of the farm on hand or have volunteers at the entrance to help direct customers.
How should I communicate with visitors to the event?
Make it memorable: Using props and hands on activities really helps visitors’ to remember their day. LEAF have also produced a booklet with step by step instructions for 12 other activities to help make farm walks and talks memorable, fun and interactive. A new website ‘Farming is Magic’ also has lots of great ideas and short video clips to inspire you to host engaging on farm visits - the site has been developed by experienced OFS hosts, Susie Emmett and David Jones who is also our OFS East of England Co-ordinator.
Make the link between your farm and people’s fridges: Always start off from plate to plough and make your story relevant to your audiences’ lives. If you process your own food have it out on display or buy some that could have been produced on your farm to help visitors make the link
Keep it personal - Your visitors are far more likely to remember stories about you, your family, your animals, why you love farming, why you wanted to become a farmer. They are less likely to remember how many acres you farm, number of cows, crops and specific stewardship options
Being positive, prepared and jargon free - If you get a tricky question, do not try and answer on behalf of the industry, but keep it personal to your farm which is far more positive.
How should I publicise my event?
Event size and publicity - There is a range of different ways you can publicise your event to get the numbers you would like. Whether you’re wanting a small scale event for a select few people, an event for the masses, or somewhere in between, we’ve got some useful information showing you how you can get the numbers you want. Read more
Photos don’t forget to take lots of photos of your event and send them to us ([email protected]) We’d love to see them shared with us on social media too. We’re on Twitter (@openfarmsunday) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/LEAFOpenFarmSunday). If you plan to take photographs or video of visitors for any marketing or promotional activity (such as websites, Facebook, sending to your local media, leaflets, etc.) you should get consent from visitors. We have produced some materials to help which you can find in our download section.
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