LEAF Open Farm Sunday announces plans for 2021

LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) organisers of the farming industry’s annual open day, LEAF Open Farm Sunday (LOFS), has today announced a year-round programme of public engagement to support this flagship event.

In addition to LOFS on-farm events on June 13, 2021, which have seen over a quarter of a million people visit farms across the UK each year, LEAF will also be hosting a series of ‘virtual’ farm visits online.

Following last year’s success, when LOFS took to our screens for the first time, two ‘online’ farm open days will take place this spring and autumn, alongside a programme of monthly live broadcasts running throughout the year.

“One of the unexpected positives to emerge from the challenges of ‘lockdown’ has been the surge in interest in the countryside, nature and buying fresh produce, and we have seen a higher following than ever on our LOFS digital channels,” said LOFS manager Annabel Shackleton.

This is the perfect moment to capture the public’s curiosity and build our outreach to benefit the whole industry.

While awaiting clarity on Covid-19 regulations on public gatherings and events, Shackleton is urging farmers to start thinking about how they can host visitors on-farm in June, which will be the 15th anniversary LEAF Open Farm Sunday.

Numbers may be limited

Shackleton added:

“As visitor numbers for events may be limited, we would love to see a greater number of farms opening their gates but for smaller groups, so that social distancing can be followed.

We’re encouraging host farmers to think about how to maximise outdoor spaces: it could be a farm walk, a scavenger hunt or a short show-and-tell in the yard. It may also be an opportunity to collaborate with other food producers to provide a place for people to buy and try new local foods.

“Farmers have some important topical messages to share about quality food production, caring for the countryside, plus the economic and environmental benefits of buying British – and we want to help facilitate these conversations,” she concluded.