The NFU's campaigns team attended some popular high-profile family festivals over the summer to gain new supporters for the Back British Farming campaign.
The NFU's Discovery Barn is a hit at festivals with its engaging activities for children that help them learn more about where their food comes from. Its interactive adventure trail includes taking a turn at 'milking' Annabelle the dairy cow and donning a virtual reality headset to get a close up view of the day-to-day life of a dairy herd.
Pictured above: Getting a virtual reality insight into the life of a dairy herd
The Discovery Pod pop-up tent meanwhile was the place to go to sign an apple for the NFU's pledge tree, to join the Back British Farming campaign as an active supporter. It was also home to regular sampling activities of local produce, from cheese to strawberries to apple and pear juice.
Pictured above: The Discovery Pod at Bristol Balloon Fiesta
But what exactly does this involve from the NFU's campaigns team?
Here's an A to Z of the obvious and not-so-obvious activities behind the success of the events this summer.
- A is for the pledge apple tree which was used as the engagement tool to encourage members of the public to sign up and support the Back British Farming campaign.
- B is for Bristol Balloon Fiesta.
- C is for CarFest South Festival.
- D is for the Discovery Barn which was enjoyed by 6,000 children at Bristol Balloon and CarFest South.
- E is for engaged members of the general public who took a really keen and positive interest in British food and farming.
- F is for fixing Annabelle the milking cow who needed a couple of emergency repairs during the busy shows.
- G is for gale force winds at Bristol Balloon Fiesta which left the team clinging onto the Discovery Pod to ensure it didn’t take flight.
- H is for hot, hot, hot at CarFest with record bank holiday temperatures.
- I is for insects with lots of bees and flies keen to taste the fruit juice too.
- J is for 54 litres of apple and pear juice which were enjoyed by visitors to showcase the best of British produce.
- K is for two kilograms of cheese handed out to festivalgoers.
- L is for Learn By Design who help to run the Discovery Barn.
- M is for NFU Mutual group secretaries who gave up their time at CarFest to help staff the pod and barn.
- N is for Back British Farming newsletter sign ups, of which we gained 1,246 across the three events.
- O is for opportunity to talk to the public about food and farming at a crucial time for the industry.
- P is for problem-solving skills which were used at various times given the challenging weather we were faced with.
- Q is for quagmire – wellies were a must at Bristol Balloon Fiesta and Countryfile Live.
- R is for regional support across all three events, from staffing to sourcing local produce from members.
- S is for strawberries, 3,820 of which were chopped up and offered to the public at Countryfile Live with a dollop of tasty cream to showcase local Yorkshire produce.
- T is a trip to TNT Atherstone depot on the morning of Bristol Balloon Fiesta to collect the Discovery Pod which had got lost and delayed on a broken-down lorry.
- U is for a united approach between NFU HQ and the regions to deliver three successful events.
- V is for virtual reality headsets which proved to be a huge hit with both children and adults at all three shows.
- W is for wet, wet, wet weather at Bristol Balloon Fiesta.
- X is for excellent staff and volunteers from HQ, the regions and group offices who gave up their time to help.
- Y is for Yorkshire where the BBC held its first Countryfile Live event at Castle Howard.
- Z is for zipped up jackets to keep warm with the unpredictable British summertime weather.
Read more about the NFU's activity at public events: