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Still time to join the British farming and food celebrations

Open Farm Sunday takes place 8th June 2014.

open farm sunday

With two months to go until the biggest date in the farming and food calendar, LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) is keen to remind farmers that there is still time to sign up for Open Farm Sunday and join the celebrations. Registrations are already significantly up on previous years and Open Farm Sunday 2014 has also secured even more support from across the industry.

Last year, more than 200,000 visitors attended an Open Farm Sunday event and more than 250 farms have already registered to open their gates on the 8th June 2014. Farmers planning to host an Open Farm Sunday event can register online at It only takes a few moments to do and once registered, participating farmers can take advantage of all the support LEAF provides – including resources for farmers, to enable them to put on an enjoyable and safe day for visitors. There is also a team of Regional Co-ordinators on hand to answer your questions.

Annabel Shackleton, Open Farm Sunday manager said: “We’re delighted so many farmers have already signed up and would encourage anyone who is planning to take part to register as soon as possible. Registering will ensure that you have access to the most up to date information and resources, as well as guaranteeing that your event will be listed on our events page, so visitors can find out what you have planned and how to find you. Since we first launched, Open Farm Sunday has grown to be the farming industry’s national open day and we would like as many farms as possible to help showcase everything that is great about British farming and food. Don’t forget that events can be as large or small as you would like – the decision is entirely yours.”

Open Farm Sunday 2014 will once again see the whole food and farming industry come together in support of LEAF’s initiative. Kellogg’s is the newest sponsor to be announced, adding to a list that already includes: Asda, BASF, Country Life butter, Defra, Farmers Weekly, Frontier Agriculture, John Deere, LEAF Marque, Marks and Spencer, National Farmers Union, Syngenta, Tesco, The Co-operative, Waitrose, plus Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (from its BPEX, DairyCo, Eblex, HDC and HGCA divisions) and Hellmann’s. Feedback each year shows that Open Farm Sunday has a real, positive impact raising the profile of the industry and bringing communities together.  Over 95% of farmers who take part report real business benefits.

As well as Open Farm Sunday, a number of farms will be opening up to schools for a fortnight of events in the second annual Open Farm School Days (2nd – 13th June).

For more information on Open Farm Sunday visit or follow @OpenFarmSunday on Twitter.


LEAF’s hints and tips for hosting the perfect Open Farm Sunday event

This year’s Open Farm Sunday on the 8th June will see hundreds of farmers open their gates to the public to showcase British farming. LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), organisers of Open Farm Sunday give us their top tips for hosting the perfect event that everyone can enjoy:


1. Get the description right:

Register your event at and make sure you’ve added as much detail as possible to your event description – such as opening times, contact details, address and directions, as well as any activities planned for the day and if visitors need to book in advance. Uploading pictures of your farm really helps.

2. Plan properly:

Every Open Farm Sunday event is different. For example, you could hold a guided tour or walk for a small number of visitors, or open for a half or full day offering a number of activities, such as nature trails, demonstrations, food or machinery displays, tractor and trailer rides, or a Pollinator Survey – the type of event you hold is entirely up to you.

Make sure you don’t forget the important things (like toilets). You’ll also need to carry out a risk assessment and tell your insurers that you are hosting an event. Refer to the planning checklist in the Open Farm Sunday handbook and contact LEAF or your Open Farm Sunday Regional Coordinator for help and advice. You’ll find all their contact details at

Spread the workload and get others to help with your event – book them early. Team up with your farming neighbours, agronomist, vet and conservation advisor. Your local Young Farmers or Scout groups may also be keen to lend a hand.

3. Promote your event:

Make use of all the free resources available from LEAF to spread the word locally – there are flyers, postcards and posters you can personalise with your event details to help publicise your event.

If you have your own website or Facebook account use them to promote your Open Farm Sunday event and make sure all the details are up to date. Include the Open Farm Sunday logo and link your entry to

For larger events, inform your local media about what you have planned. You’ll find a downloadable template press release at where you can add your own event details.

4. It might rain, so plan accordingly

Have a wet weather plan – poor weather may mean that fewer people will come but it doesn’t have to ruin the day.

Let people know that there is still plenty to see and do if the weather is bad. Your event description could say “If it rains the event will still go ahead with many activities under cover. Please ensure you wear appropriate clothing for the weather conditions.”

On the day:

5. Make the most of all resources

LEAF provides lots of free resources, such as booklets, posters, signs and boards, to help you run your event. Order them at

6. Make people feel welcome:

Many of your visitors will never have been on a farm before, so it is a good idea to have a welcome point where you can tell visitors what is happening, where and when. Put signs up at the entrance, for parking, toilets, refreshments etc.

Have ‘give-aways’ ready, order leaflets, stickers and lots more at

7. Tell your story and keep things simple:

Make your event memorable by making it personal to you and your farm. Your visitors are likely to remember stories about you, your family, your animals, why you wanted to become a farmer and why you love farming.

When you’re talking to visitors, beware of jargon – an agronomist is a crop doctor; a heifer a young cow; an acre is just over half a football pitch etc.

8. Make the link between food and farming:

Many people don’t realise that milk comes from cows and that potatoes are dug out of the ground! When talking to visitors start with what they know (the food) and then work backwards – e.g. start with a loaf of bread rather than with a sheaf of wheat. This will help people make the link between what they see on the supermarket shelf (and on their plates) and what is on your farm.

Set up displays and use ‘props’ to help tell your farming story. For example, pot up some wheat plants, have buckets of grain and loaves of bread, breakfast cereal or biscuits to illustrate the story.

9. It’s not just about animals:

Yes, animals are a great crowd puller, but they are not essential to a great Open Farm Sunday event. Visitors will be amazed by how much there is to see, do and learn – no matter what type of farm you have.

And finally

10. Enjoy the day!

Annabel Shackleton, Open Farm Sunday manager at LEAF says, “Hosting a successful Open Farm Sunday event is extremely satisfying so make sure you take the time to enjoy it yourself. We’d like to thank everyone that has signed up already. With the whole industry working together on the 8 June we really can truly Celebrate British Farming and Food.”

To register, update your event details and get all your free resources visit

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