Farming News - LEAF Open Farm Sunday announces plans for 2021

LEAF Open Farm Sunday announces plans for 2021

22 Jan 2021
Frontdesk / Arable / Livestock

LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), organisers of the farming industry’s annual open day, LEAF Open Farm Sunday (LOFS), has announced a year-round programme of public engagement to support this flagship event.

In addi­tion to LOFS on-farm events on the 13th June 2021, which have seen over a quar­ter of a mil­lion peo­ple vis­it farms across the UK each year, LEAF will also be host­ing a series of ​vir­tu­al’ farm vis­its online. Fol­low­ing last year’s suc­cess, when LOFS took to our screens for the first time, two ​online’ farm open days will take place this Spring and Autumn, along­side a pro­gramme of month­ly live broad­casts run­ning through­out the year. 

One of the unex­pect­ed pos­i­tives to emerge from the chal­lenges of ​lock­down’ has been the surge in inter­est in the coun­try­side, nature and buy­ing fresh pro­duce, and we have seen a high­er fol­low­ing than ever on our LOFS dig­i­tal chan­nels,” said LOFS Man­ag­er Ms Shack­le­ton. ​This is the per­fect moment to cap­ture the public’s curios­i­ty and build our out­reach to ben­e­fit the whole industry.”

While await­ing clar­i­ty on Covid reg­u­la­tions on pub­lic gath­er­ings and events, LOFS Man­ag­er, Annabel Shack­le­ton, is urg­ing farm­ers to start think­ing about how they can host vis­i­tors on-farm in June, which will be the 15th anniver­sary LEAF Open Farm Sunday:

As vis­i­tor num­bers for events may be lim­it­ed, we would love to see a greater num­ber of farms open­ing their gates but for small­er groups, so that social dis­tanc­ing can be fol­lowed. We’re encour­ag­ing host farm­ers to think about how to max­imise out­door spaces: it could be a farm walk, a scav­enger hunt or a short show-and-tell in the yard. It may also be an oppor­tu­ni­ty to col­lab­o­rate with oth­er food pro­duc­ers to pro­vide a place for peo­ple to buy and try new local foods.”

Farm­ers have some impor­tant top­i­cal mes­sages to share about qual­i­ty food pro­duc­tion, car­ing for the coun­try­side, plus the eco­nom­ic and envi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits of buy­ing British – and we want to help facil­i­tate these conversations.”

The library of free LOFS resources and online work­shops planned for March will help to make host­ing eas­i­er and facil­i­tate ideas shar­ing between the net­work of expe­ri­enced and new hosts. Plus, a free, easy-to-use tick­et­ing ser­vice is avail­able so host farm­ers can man­age vis­i­tor num­bers and con­tact vis­i­tors if there are any changes in plans, said Mrs Shackleton:

While not essen­tial, this is a good year for host farm­ers to use the tick­et­ing ser­vice so they can keep in con­tact with vis­i­tors if plans need to change, but equal­ly to set expec­ta­tions and encour­age them to adhere to farm and Covid-safe reg­u­la­tions. It also allows hosts to lim­it vis­i­tors per hour or per day to help them to man­age their event more eas­i­ly.”

The series of vir­tu­al farm vis­its online is designed to extend the oppor­tu­ni­ties for more peo­ple to con­nect with farm­ing through­out the year and for more farm­ers to participate. 

Two LEAF Online Farm Sun­day events, on Sun­day 28th March and Sun­day 26th Sep­tem­ber, will each include an after­noon of live vir­tu­al farm tours on Face­book @LEAFOpenFarmSunday, fea­tur­ing a range of dif­fer­ent farms span­ning the coun­try and shin­ing a spot­light on all farm­ing sectors. 

In addi­tion, month­ly farm vis­its broad­cast live on Face­book will fea­ture a dif­fer­ent farm on the first Sun­day of each month, start­ing on 7th Feb­ru­ary, adding to the kalei­do­scope of farm­ing sto­ries shared with the public. 

All these activ­i­ties will pro­mote a greater under­stand­ing of the dif­fer­ent aspects of agri­cul­ture such as pro­duc­tive soils, ani­mal wel­fare, clean water and air, pub­lic access and enhanc­ing biodiversity.

These on-farm and online events are at the heart of the new LEAF Open Farm Sun­day three-year strat­e­gy to ensure a con­tin­ued pos­i­tive impact on the whole farm­ing indus­try and enrich­ing the under­stand­ing of wider soci­ety to act as glob­al cit­i­zens sup­port­ing cli­mate pos­i­tive farm­ing and food production.

The main social media chan­nels used across the cam­paign will be Face­book, Twit­ter and Insta­gram and LOFS is ask­ing farm­ers to post and share on these days using the hash­tag #LOFS21 to cre­ate a diverse, colour­ful and authen­tic pic­ture of UK farm­ing for the public.Read our 3 year strat­e­gyfind out more and reg­is­ter to host LEAF Open Farm Sun­day in June 2021.