Open Farm Sunday shows greater public engagement than ever

 Sustain member LEAF report that there were over 230,000 visitors to their Open Farm Sunday with significantly more farms opening up in Scotland and Yorkshire.

Green tractor. Photo credit: Pixabay

Green tractor. Photo credit: Pixabay

361 farms opened their gates for the annual Open Farm Sunday organised by Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF) on Sunday 9 June. 33% more farms opened in Yorkshire and 22% more in Scotland.

LEAF's feedback from both farmers and visitors indicates a growing interest in British agriculture, food production, and in particular sustainable farming practices for land management, soil and water health as well as the role of technology.

Open Farm Sunday manager, Annabel Shackleton, said that we shouldn’t underestimate the deeply rewarding experience the event offers visitors:

"As well as the important opportunity for open dialogue between farmers and the public, many visitors commented on how much they appreciated being welcomed onto farm and the space and freedom to enjoy the countryside in safety.

“Our farmers have been blown away by the calibre and quantity of questions from visitors about environmental practices.  It’s inspiring to see so many taking an active interest in how their food is produced and choosing to connect with farmers.”

Events took place from the Channel Islands to Shetland, ranging from informal farm walks to self-guided tours, tractor-and-trailer rides and large-scale educational events with organised activities and local stallholders. Initial statistics suggest that more visitors came from urban locations than in previous years and that there was an increase in the number of people who had never been on a farm before.

Next year's Open Farm Sunday will take place on Sunday 7 June 2020. The organisers are calling for more farmers to get involved next year to meet the increasing demand from the public to visit a farm.

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