Open Farm Sunday: ready to open gates

In a week when a national survey showed primary schoolchildren believe cheese grows on plants, Open Farm Sunday is a timely way to teach youngsters more about our food.

Final preparations are being made ahead of this year’s Open Farm Sunday event. More than 350 farms across the country will open their gates this Sunday (9 June) to offer the public a rare glimpse of how their food is grown and produced.

Now in its eighth year, Open Farm Sunday events have attracted nearly one million visitors. Last year, more than 150,000 people visited 335 farms, more than usually attend Glastonbury.

Hall Farm at Stainton le Vale, situated in the picturesque Lincolnshire Wolds near Market Rasen, will be welcoming hundreds of visitors this Sunday.

Visitors will discover how to grow wheat and barley to make breakfast cereals, biscuits, bread and beer; sugar beet to produce British sugar; and oilseed rape to make healthy cooking oils.

The farm will also be showcasing a herd of Lincolnshire Red cattle, which provides Waitrose and local butchers with quality beef, and a flock of sheep producing excellent lambs.

Other attractions include sheep dog trials, a food fair, farm machinery, countryside exhibitors, farm walks, birds of prey and a vintage tractor run. Admission is free.

Ahead of this weekend’s event, a survey carried out by national charity and Open Farm Sunday organiser LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) revealed that more farmers than ever are using social media to connect with consumers.

More than eight out of 10 farmers are active on at least one social media platform.

Facebook was the most popular platform, with 70% of farmers either having a profile for themselves or a page for their farm. Other popular platforms include Twitter (45%), LinkedIn (24%) and Google+ (15%).

Threequarters of farmers claim the internet has brought them and consumers closer together. And seven out of 10 say they have seen an increase in consumers’ interest in farming over the past 12 months.

Caroline Drummond, LEAF chief executive, said: “The research showed that farmers are still asked important questions like ‘can you get cows from bulls?’ and ‘do potatoes grow on trees?’

“This shows how important it is for farmers to engage with customers. It is great to see the internet playing a role, but nothing beats seeing farming up close.

“Open Farm Sunday has been connecting consumers and farmers for the past eight years and gives visitors the chance to meet people who are growing their food. We hope as many people as possible visit a farm on Sunday.”

For more information and to find a farm taking part near you visit

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