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Record attendance confirmed for Open Farm Sunday 2010


Open Farm Sunday, farmings annual open day, was hailed this week an overwhelming success by organisers LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming).

At the events review in London on Wednesday (22nd September) it was confirmed that this years event brought more people than ever on to farms all over the UK, where they met the farmers who grow their food and care for the countryside. With 184,000 members of the public visiting farms on 13 June, this was a 31% increase on 2009 and makes Open Farm Sunday a bigger rural event than Glastonbury.

In its five-year history this valuable industry initiative has helped around three-quarters of a million people see how their food is grown, its links with nature and why farms matter, said LEAF chief executive, Caroline Drummond, at the event which was attended by around 60 key representatives of the food and farming industry, including sponsors such as Defra, Frontier, Morrisons, NFU and Waitrose, as well as many host farmers.

Open Farm Sunday does this through fun and engaging activities put on by farmers who share a passion for farming and a desire to show people how their food is produced. This commitment from the hundreds of farmers and thousands of others who help out at events, delivers an initiative that is worth around 4.3 million a year to the food and farming industry. We are immensely grateful to all those who helped make the 2010 event such a success, continued Mrs Drummond.

Open Farm Sunday once again received huge support with around 6150 people in the farming industry and rural community helping out on the 420 farms that opened up this year. Other key successes were:

  • A big increase in attendance in some regions the South West, for example, saw a 47% rise in visitor numbers

  • Strong government support, with three Defra ministers visiting farms on the day

  • 80% of host farmers said that OFS brings tangible benefits to their business

  • More families visited a farm than ever before a key target for LEAF, as this is the only major nationwide event where families can share the joys of being out in the countryside and learn more about the story behind their food

  • More visitors from towns and cities, although the majority are still from the farms local community

  • A highly successful media campaign that delivered 127 million opportunities to see and hear about Open Farm Sunday, including a 50% increase in regional coverage

But this initiative is not just about headline results, noted Open Farm Sunday manager Tom Allen-Stevens. Standing proud from the feedback and survey submissions are the enthusiastic endorsement and unreserved gratitude visitors are only too happy to share. For host farmers it is a day that boosts family and staff morale, and there is a wonderful sense of achievement in delivering a genuinely worthwhile initiative.

Next years event will take place on 12 June and LEAF is already receiving interest from companies and organisations looking to sponsor Open Farm Sunday 2011. The sponsors are pivotal to the success of Open Farm Sunday and we are very grateful for their involvement, pointed out Mr Allen-Stevens.

They provide not only funds, but also a lot of help and resources to encourage farmers to be involved and ensure that events are successful. Feedback suggests that staff from sponsor organisations really enjoy getting involved and feel a huge sense of reward for a job well done. It was really heartening to see the strong encouragement Defra and Natural England gave all their staff to visit farms or help out at events and is a great indication of the importance Government gives to reconnecting the public with farming.

Natural England and Dairy Crest, also a sponsor, spoke at the London event about the value and benefits sponsoring Open Farm Sunday brings to their businesses. Also speaking was Felicity Finch, who plays Ruth Archer in the popular BBC radio show, who gave an insight into how Open Farm Sunday went at Brookfield Farm in Ambridge this year.

Host farmer Simon Pain from Billow Farm in Gloucestershire shared his experiences of the day and Tina Lucy, who visited an event in Hampshire, summarised the highlights of her day and how it had changed her perception of farming.

Farms wishing to register for 2011 will be able to do so in the New Year at

  • The full report on the successes of Open Farm Sunday 2010 can be downloaded from

  • LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) is a national charity that helps farmers produce food with care for the environment, while working with their local community

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