LEAF Open Farm Sunday racks up the views in first online-only event

Thousands of members of the public got to see behind the scenes of several UK farms from the comfort of their own homes as LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday event went digital for the first time in its 15-year history.

13 farmers from across the country took to social media for the event on Sunday (June 7), to take viewers on virtual tours of their farms.

It was a very different day from what had been planned, with hundreds of farms originally lined up to open their gates on June 7. The physical event has been postponed until Sunday, September 20.

Against a backdrop of the stunning British countryside, virtual visitors were invited to join farmers from Cornwall to the Isle of Arran and Northamptonshire to Pembrokeshire broadcasting live on the LEAF Open Farm Sunday Facebook page – with a new farmer going live each hour from 8:00am to 8:00pm.

Just as with LEAF Open Farm Sunday itself, each virtual tour was different and every farm had something special to offer – it was evident that all who took part have an equal passion for farming, caring for the environment, and sharing their stories.

Over the course of the day, videos on the LEAF Open Farm Sunday Facebook page were viewed 85,000 times – equating to 54 days’ worth (or 77,000 minutes) of video viewed.

Consumers had the chance to interact and ask farmers questions, just like they can on LEAF Open Farm Sunday itself, and many were delighted to be able to see farms from parts of the country they would not normally be able to visit.

LEAF chief executive Caroline Drummond said: “The level of engagement with LEAF Online Farm Sunday really shows how much the public care about British farming and the interest there continues to be with the story behind our food.

“The day provided people with a unique opportunity to ‘visit’ farms and parts of the country they have never been to and would not normally get to visit on LEAF Open Farm Sunday and we’re pleased we were able to mark the day with this event.

As so many people have been consuming information and entertainment online during lockdown, it was only right that Open Farm Sunday had an online presence too.

“I’d like to add my huge thanks to all the farmers who took part and to all our sponsors and supporters who made yesterday possible.

“We are very much hoping to be welcoming people onto farms on the September 20 this year, but in the meantime LEAF Online Farm Sunday has given thousands a fantastic insight into all that British farmers do and have continued to do, during these very challenging times.”