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LEAF Open Farm Sunday is “healthy”

WHETHER it is healthy soil, healthy food or a healthy mind, LEAF Open Farm Sunday (LOFS) returns this June with a focus on the many health benefits that can be found on a farm. 

Organisers of the farming industry’s annual open day, Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF) are calling on farmers to take part and organise their own event to demonstrate the industry’s commitment to sustainability, biodiversity, climate mitigation, nutritious food and a well-managed countryside. 

Taking place on Sunday, June 12 2022, it is an opportunity for every farmer to plan their own event, engage their local community, share their farming story, dispel misconceptions and give visitors a hugely positive, memorable experience.

More than 100 events took place in 2021, under Covid-safe guidelines, and prior to the pandemic over 350 farms across Britain, covering all agricultural sectors, opened each year. 

Annabel Shackleton, LEAF Open Farm Sunday Manager explains the importance of the event,

“Last year we launched our new 10-year strategy at LEAF, with a commitment to driving more sustainable circular agriculture through climate, nature, the economy and society. In addition, COP26, and the recent National Food Strategy has drawn attention to the impact of farming and food production on climate change.  Whilst we have the public’s attention, it is more important than ever that we feed their enthusiasm and interest. 

“LEAF Open Farm Sunday is the perfect way for visitors to really understand what best practice looks like and how farmers, and the food sector are part of the solution, delivering for our health and the health of the planet – through the food we eat and the fresh air and countryside that we enjoy.”

Every farm has something of interest for visitors, whether it is talking about landscape and nature conservation, soil and water management, grass, crop health and protection, animal husbandry, energy efficiencies or diversification. A range of free resources are available from LEAF and LOFS sponsors to support host farmers, including a host farmers’ handbook, activity crib sheets and template guides, for risk assessments and writing a press release, plus guidance on using an online ticketing service to manage visitor numbers.

In addition, a series of interactive online Zoom meetings for farmers wanting to find out more about hosting an event this June, are being held on the 1st Thursday of each month. Hosted by the team of experienced LEAF Open FarmSunday Ambassadors, topics cover:

  • February 3 – Planning and marketing your LOFS event
  • March 3 – Managing visitor numbers, including ticketing 
  • April 7 – Promoting your event and making use of LOFS free resources 
  • May 5 – Final words of wisdom!

Annabel’s LOFS top tip is to keep it simple, planning the day based on what you have on farm,

“LEAF Open Farm Sunday is YOUR event, YOUR story and YOUR chance to share it with the wider public. Concentrate on what you feel comfortable sharing – you don’t need to talk about every enterprise in the UK, nor open your whole farm. You have full control to manage what visitors see, how long you run your event for and who you invite. Some hosts hold a private event for a local group, whilst others are much more public.

“Most importantly, enjoy the day! By coming together in June, we can demonstrate a very powerful message about the vital role that agriculture plays in ensuring our landscape, people and economy remains healthy, now and for the future.”

Farmers do not need to be members of LEAF to take part, but they do need to register their event at www.farmsunday.org, where they can also access an information pack and book to attend the Zoom meetings.