7 reasons to host an Open Farm Sunday event

30 May 2024

Farmer showing children bumblebees

Photograph: LEAF Open Farm Sunday Frogmary Green Farm – Bee ID Bumblebee Conservation 

Hundreds of farms all over the country will open their gates for LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday on 9 June.

You do not need to be a member of LEAF to take part, but you do need to register your event at farmsunday.org.

Here’s 7 reasons to host an Open Farm Sunday event this year:

1. Meet your local community

Open Farm Sunday is a great opportunity to engage your local community, share your farming story, bust any myths about farming and give visitors a positive and memorable experience.

According to LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), one in five visitors who attended an event last year had never visited a farm before, and 96% of visitors said they now have a greater appreciation of the work farmers do.

2. Fun for all the family

The family-friendly event is a great day out for all ages to learn about how a farm runs and where their food comes from.

One visitor said: “I came with my wife and two sons to see the true way in which dairy cows are farmed in Britain.

“We were blown away at how well everything is run and the attention to detail that comes with farming. All the staff are unbelievably helpful and knowledgeable in their trade. We will definitely visit again and pass on the good word.”

By putting their stories centre stage, farmers are the true heroes of the day.”

LEAF Open Farm Sunday manager Annabel Shackleton

3. Tailor your event to your farming story

Each farm can offer something unique, based around the farm’s individual story and your available resources and time. This can range from a simple self-guided walk to a large open day with trailer rides, demonstrations, and fun activities for children.

Activities differ from farm to farm, and you may include:

  • a farm walk
  • nature trail
  • tractor and trailer rides
  • demonstrations
  • pond dipping
  • activities for children
  • a mini farmers’ market, or
  • a farm shop.

If you’re not able to open your farm on the day, perhaps you could attend, help with, or promote another Open Farm Sunday event.

4. Demonstrate how you are caring for the environment

Visitors to your farm will learn first-hand how farmers are committed to sustainability, biodiversity, animal welfare, and managing the countryside.

In 2023, 93% of visitors said that the event gave them a better understanding of what sustainably produced food means, and 89% said that visiting a farm inspired them to buy more British produce.

5. Showcase the different jobs in farming and agriculture

Open Farm Sunday is a great opportunity to give the public a better understanding of the huge range of jobs that keep British agriculture running; 41% of visitors who attended an event last year said that somebody in their group is now considering a career in the sector.

One visitor said: “It was great to visit a working farm and see the farmer demonstrate the process of sheep shearing. He spoke so passionately about being a farmer and living his childhood aspirations as a sheep farmer.

“Getting up close to the lambs, pigs, sheep and calf was lovely. It was a very well spent afternoon in the sunshine, learning about British farming and the trials and tests of the farming lifestyle.”

6. Join the farmers and growers who are taking part all across the country

In 2023, more than 250 farmers and landowners opened their farms across Britain, with over 170,000 visitors attending. Register your event at farmsunday.org.

Speaking about the event, LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday manager, Annabel Shackleton, said: “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.”

7. Free resources for NFU members

Once registered, a range of free resources is available from LEAF for host farmers, including a handbook, activity crib sheets, regular Zoom meetings, template guides for risk assessments and writing a press release, and guidance on using an online ticketing service to manage visitor numbers.

We’re offering NFU members a selection of resources to order or download from NFUonline to add to your Open Farm Sunday visitor experience.

You can order educational activity booklets for children aged 4-11 and Back British Farming pencils and stickers, as well as the latest issue of Countryside magazine.

Let us know how many visitors you expect, and we’ll send a selection of resources based on your numbers.

The Open Farm Sunday order form is now closed. Please contact [email protected] with any final orders and queries. Please note that resources ordered after 30 May might not arrive in time for your event.

This page was first published on 10 April 2024. It was updated on 30 May 2024.

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