Open Farm Sunday success ‘a fitting tribute to Caroline Drummond’

Farmers across the country flung open their gates on Open Farm Sunday (OFS) on 12 June, and welcomed members of the public to show them about how their food is produced.

Many events were blessed with sunshine and blue skies, and the hugely popular annual initiative once again drew large crowds to farms.

See also: Holding an Open Farm Sunday event – your questions answered

Organised by sustainable farming group Linking Environment and Farming (Leaf), OFS has been credited with increasing public awareness and understanding of agriculture in a practical and informal way.

Carl Edwards, Victoria Prentis, Philip Wynn and Phil White

Carl Edwards, Victoria Prentis, Philip Wynn and Phil White © Leaf

It was also a chance for the farming community to pay tribute to Caroline Drummond, a champion of sustainable agriculture and the driving force behind Leaf and OFS, who died of cancer aged 58 last month.

Annabel Shackleton, Leaf’s OFS manager, said the success of this year’s event was a fitting tribute to her colleague and friend.

“Caroline always loved to see the public on farm engaging with and learning about farming. The sunshine brought Caroline’s warmth to so many farms as host farmers remembered her,” Ms Shackleton told Farmers Weekly.

“At the end of the day, regular OFS hosts, FarmEco in Nottinghamshire, paid tribute to ‘CD’ singing along to a band playing Sweet Caroline.”

Hill Farm

Hill Farm © Leaf

Just over 250 farms took part and the OFS team is expected to release visitor attendance numbers on Tuesday, once all farms have been contacted.

Social media was awash with pictures of packed yards and fields, as people made the most of the good weather.

“It was amazing; just the most fabulous day. It was lovely to hear and see hundreds of families out on farm, connecting with the countryside,” Ms Shackleton said.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to all the farmers who took part; it has been heart-warming speaking to them and they have all had a fabulous day.”

Defra minister Richard Benyon was on farm in Berkshire, as visitors queued out of the gate to learn about food production at Row Farm.

Defra farm minister Victoria Prentis enjoyed a morning at D’Oyleys farm in Oxford.

Briddlesford Farm on the Isle of Wight hosted visitors to learn about its dairy enterprise and prize-winning Guernsey cows.

It was a successful first year hosting for Peacock Farm in Muston village, east of Nottingham.

Other social media posts captured the perfect weather enjoyed by many.

Vale of Glamorgan mixed farmer Abi Reader even managed to line up some potential recruits to help with future milking.

OFS will return on Sunday 11 June 2023. Farmers who took part in this year’s event have been asked to complete a feedback survey.

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