The British countryside in mid-June is a pretty wonderful place to be on any day of the week, but there will be an extra frisson of excitement this Sunday.
The reason is that this is the date on which Britain’s first national open farm day takes place — and almost 350 farms are expected to take part.
This is a truly country-wide event, with all parts of the UK represented. From Peterhead in Aberdeenshire down to Truro in Cornwall, from Great Yarmouth on the Norfolk coast to Llandysul in west Wales, farming families have put up the posters, cleaned the tractors, swept the yard and generally tidied up the livestock and crops.
Many have enlisted the help of other farmers, agronomists, vets and advisers, set up displays of food products made from what farmers produce and come up with fun activities for the children.
What’s it all for? It’s an unrivalled chance to show the public what we do and why we do it, and that farms and farmers matter.
Not just as producers of wholesome food that hasn’t been jetted halfway across the world, but as guardians of wildlife and habitat, as supporters of the local economy and as stewards of the countryside we all love.
If you’re wanting to take part, there’s still (just about) time to open your farm in a modest way. Phone the organisers Linking Environment and Farming on 024 7641 3911 by 5pm today (Friday) and you could probably get a simple farm walk organised and publicised in record time.
Equally, if you’re a non-farmer (or wanting to visit some local farms) look at LEAF’s website – www.leafuk.org – for a full list of every farmer taking part.
Farm Sunday isn’t the only initiative encouraging farmers to invite the public on to their farms. LEAF has its own farm walk scheme for members and many growers (or groups of growers) run their own farm walks or open days.
The Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) has also been running a farm walk week for 12 years. This year’s walks take place during June. For more details ring 024 7669 8704 or see www.fwag.org.uk and click on Current Events.