OVER 100 farms opened their doors to members of the public during farming’s annual open day on Sunday, June 27.

Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF) – organisers of Open Farm Sunday – were delighted to see thousands of people take the opportunity to visit a working farm in person, after virtual tours have become the mainstay of the past 16 months. There were lots of new faces joining the LEAF Open Farm Sunday family, with one in three hosts taking part in the event for the very first time

Due to the current Covid regulations, less farms than usual welcomed visitors on-site but those that did engaged in a pre-booking system to limit numbers. In no way did restrictions dampen the enthusiasm of hosts from sharing their farming stories and showcasing the industry. Most farms offered socially-distanced farm walks or guided tours, giving visitors a great opportunity to talk directly with farmers and enjoy a really personal experience of farming.

LEAF chief executive, Caroline Drummond, commented: “A huge thank you to all the farmers who opened their gates on Sunday. LEAF’s ‘Take 30’ campaign to encourage farmers to take small groups of 30 on a farm walk clearly resonated really well.

“It has never been more important that we continue to raise awareness of all that British farmers deliver in supporting our health and wellbeing, producing nutritious food, managing our beautiful countryside and protecting and enhancing our environment through climate positive, regenerative farming. As an industry, we need to build deeper and stronger connections with consumers, to have conversations, answer questions and seize every opportunity to share what we are doing to address the climate and nature emergency. In doing so, this will help drive appreciation, trust and ultimately more informed food choices.”

Angus farmer Faye Colquhoun of Dendoldrum Farm, opened her gates to visitors for the first time: “It was an incredible opportunity to showcase what we do on a daily basis. It truly was the best explanation ever of farm to fork!

She added that they were hesitant at first due to Covid but with the support of LEAF put on an amazing experience for visitors: “Wow! What a fantastic experience for us too! We wish that we’d known how valuable an experience that Open Farm Sunday would be for both our visitors and ourselves. If we had, we would have done this many years ago!”

At Kypie Farm in Northumberland, Anne Mair Chapman welcomed the public on-farm for the first time too: "We are over the moon with how our first Open Farm Sunday all went. Our self-guided farm walk was easy to organise, especially with the information boards and posters from LEAF, AHBD and NFU. Making the time in the days leading up to LOFS to position signs, clear walking routes and plan for the day itself really did pay off. We were able to relax, enjoy the day and talk to our visitors knowing that we had worked through our 'to do' list to ensure that we were providing a family friendly, Covid safe, outdoor event which we hope will be the first of many for us and encourage other family farms to run LOFS events of a similar low-key nature in the future."

Defra Farming Minister, Victoria Prentis MP joined Caroline Drummond for a tour of Rectory Farm near Oxford, and said: “British farmers do so much to not only produce the nutritious food we eat, but also to care for the environment. It is vital that people understand more about all that farmers do and the high standards of food production and animal welfare in Britain.”