Farmers invited to regional networking and information events to discover the key to opening their gates

A cheese maker, a hop grower and a sheep farmer are joining forces with other inspiring farmers across the UK to run a series of special regional networking and information events about hosting farm visits for the public.

Organised by LEAF Open Farm Sunday (LOFS), which will celebrate its 15th anniversary this June (7th), the events are designed to encourage and support more farmers, smallholders and crofters to take part in farming’s annual open day. They will bring together existing and potential LOFS host farmers to share ideas and top tips on planning, activities and offering the public a safe and memorable farm visit.

The free networking and information events will take place in March and April, featuring presentations by experienced host farmers. Led by a LEAF Open Farm Sunday Co-ordinator, topics covered include planning and event promotion, communicating your farming story, managing visitor numbers, health and safety and useful hints and tips to help the process run smoothly.

Annabel Shackleton, LEAF Open Farm Sunday manager, explains:

“This year is LEAF Open Farm Sunday’s 15th anniversary and we’re keen to build on its success and see even more farms across the country taking part. These relaxed and informal events are a great opportunity for getting ideas and networking with other farmers taking part.  Whether organising an event for the first time or an experienced host – there is something for everyone, however large or small your event.” 

LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) offers LOFS host farmers a range of free support which includes:

  • Online webinars and information videos
  • A host farmer Information Pack available to download for farmers considering hosting their first LEAF Open Farm Sunday event
  • A free resource pack containing publicity material (posters, flyers, gate banner, etc), suggested activities, health and safety guidance, polo shirt and lots more!
  • Website (www.farmsunday.org) where farmers can find the full list of networking and information events, register and promote their LOFS event, order free resource packs, and find out more about LEAF Open Farm Sunday
  • Communications Toolkit to help farmers prepare for speaking with the public on the day.

LEAF Open Farm Sunday gives the public the opportunity to discover where their food comes from and how farmers care for the countryside. Over 400 farms across the country, from Jersey to the Shetland Isles, are expected to open on Sunday 7th June 2020.

“As well as showing the public what farming delivers and its role in climate change mitigation, there are real business benefits too.  Hosting an event can help farmers boost sales, learn new marketing skills, and build staff morale and sense of pride.  You can gain new contacts, or simply improve relationships with your local community.” said Mrs Shackleton

The events currently scheduled to take place are:

SCOTLAND: Tue 10 March, 15.30 – 17.00 – Kilmarnock Millennium Hall, Gartocharn, West Dunbartonshire, G83 8NF

SOMERSET: Fri 17 March, 13.00 – 15.00 – Bath Soft Cheese, Park Farm, Kelston, Bath, BA1 9AQ

SURREY: Mon 30 March, 13.00 – 15.00 – Hampton Estate Farms, Murtles Courtyard, Littleworth Road, Seale, GU10 1JH

WEST YORKSHIRE: Tue 31 March, 13.00 – 15.00 – Woolrow Farm, Roydhouse, Shelley, HD8 8LR

CORNWALL: Thu 2 April, 13.00 – 15.00 – Trethorn Leisure, Kennards House, Launceton, PL15 8QE

WALES: Tue 21 April, 13.00 – 15.00 – NFU Cymru, Agriculture House, Royal Welsh Showground, Llanelwedd, Powys, LD2 3TU

Booking is essential at https://farmsunday.org/open-my-farm/information-events

If you have any questions please call LEAF on 024 7641 3911 or email: openfarmsunday@leafuk.org

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.