Farmers up and down the country are preparing to open their gates to the public next weekend for the annual Open Farm Sunday event.
Now in its fifth year, Open Farm Sunday is a nationwide initiative to give the general public a glimpse into the sights, sounds and smells of a farm, and help foster a better understanding of the story behind the food on their plate.
On 13 June more than 400 host farms will be putting on their own range of activities – from farm walks and tractor rides for a handful of locals, to full-scale nature trails and farmers’ markets which cater for thousands of visitors.
The event, organised by LEAF, has grown to become one of the industry’s biggest promotional events and is expected to attract in the region of 140,000 people this year.
“The great thing about this event is that everyone involved is driving towards the same aim – to connect consumers with food and farming,” said Open Farm Sunday manager Tom Allen-Stevens.
“But it’s not just about the thousands of people who pass through the gates every year – it’s much bigger than that. The publicity touches tens of millions of people across the country and is a hugely effective way of making consumers more informed about the food they eat.”
Not everyone has the time or resources to host their own event, so many farms opt to link up for the day.
“It might be our farm on the title, but the day itself involves a much bigger community,” said Andrew Nottage, a regional co-ordinator for Open Farm Sunday and manager of Russell Smith Farm in Cambridgeshire.
Mr Nottage has been hosting Open Farm Sunday since the inaugural event in 2006 and this year some of his neighbours will be joining him to run additional activities like sheep shearing and tractor tours. He is hoping to match last year’s turnout which saw 1250 people pass through the farm.
Farmers Weekly has collected a wealth of useful information and advice for anyone hosting an event on Sunday, 13 June. Visit www.fwi.co.uk/openfarmsunday for more information.
We want your photos
Farmers Weekly will be featuring a selection of your pictures of Open Farm Sunday in the magazine and online at www.fwi.co.uk. You can upload your photos to the online gallery at or send them in by email.
Time is of the essence – we’ll be choosing a selection of the best shots to run in the 18 June issue of the magazine, so the sooner you can get them to us the more likely you will be to feature.
You don’t need to resize your photos before you submit them, and they can capture any aspect of the day – crowds, kids, animals, live demonstrations or just general fun on the farm. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about submitting your photos.
Why should I get involved?
•: Opening your gates helps strengthen links with friends, neighbours and contacts throughout the local community
•: Got a farm shop? Open Farm Sunday is the perfect opportunity to market your produce to completely new customers and improve sales
•: Get your staff involved in the day to build morale and their sense of pride in the job