Overbury Farms, Gloucestershire
“I started by helping out at a neighbour’s farm walk. You get ideas of what to expect and try on your farm. I found the communications training LEAF organises really useful.
For your event, buddy up with someone who has done an event before. You can’t park cars, demonstrate the workings of the sprayer and serve tea at the same time.
Tell your insurance company what you are planning. There’s rarely a charge to host an event. You must complete the relevant Health and Safety Risk Assessment forms – not necessarily too taxing but time well spent. Keep the record on file. Agree with your team a plan of action if someone can’t keep up or needs help.
Set yourself some goals. Ask yourself “what are the two things I want these people to remember from the day?”
I get together a lot of objects to touch: a fleece, a carpet sample, a bucket of wheat, loaf of bread, a can of mushy peas and pot of clotted cream.
Visual aids stimulate questions and get conversation and discussions going, which will help you and your other speaker(s) get the point of the day across much better than just you lecturing them.
I work up a little feedback form for the visitors to fill in. Just 5-10 questions, tick boxes are quickest. Was the event too long, too short or about right?
Find out what they liked and what they would leave out. I ask for contact details. E-mails are great. You can let them know when there’s another walk or talk or direct them to your website and blog -I’ve just started one of my own.
If you sell directly from the farm then your customer base will increase.
Have fun. It will be tiring and hard work but very rewarding. Our customers want more information about their food and the environment in which we operate.
The unique opportunity we have on Open Farm Sunday to help satisfy that demand must be taken up with relish.”
* Put up information boards to mark the stops
* Props prompt interaction and discussion
* Pay attention to biosecurity and safety