The Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) group has said that Open Farm Sunday presents participating farmers with a “huge opportunity” to engage with an audience.

Open Farm Sunday will take place on June 9, 2024, with organiser LEAF stating that showcasing British farming provides “multiple benefits” for farmers.

Open Farm Sunday manager, Annabel Shackleton, said: “There’s a huge opportunity to engage with an eager audience – people are genuinely curious to see behind the farm gate.

“Whatever the size of your event, you’ll be making a significant contribution to people’s understanding of farming and food production.

“By putting their stories centre stage, farmers are the true heroes of the day.”

LEAF research highlights the value to farmers of having positive conversations, feeling heard and appreciated by the public.

For 88% of farmers, the main reason they take part in Open Farm Sunday is to promote a positive image of the industry.

After attending an event, 96% of visitors say they leave with a greater appreciation of the work farmers do.

To support the delivery of events this year, prospective hosts can join Open Farm Sunday’s online Zoom meetings, which are running until May 22.

The dates and times of the remaining Zoom meetings are:

  • Friday, April 5 – 10:00a.m;
  • Wednesday, April 10 – 6:30p.m;
  • Thursday, April 18 – 12:30p.m;
  • Tuesday, April 30 – 6:30p.m;
  • Thursday, May 9 – 12:30p.m;
  • Wednesday, May 22 – 6:30pm.

Building confidence

Kasi McReddie of Ernespie Farm in Castle Douglas said: “An Open Farm Sunday event doesn’t need to be a grand scale, it can be just as fantastic with 20 people coming from the local church group or school.

“It doesn’t even need to take place on a Sunday, it could be as simple as hosting a farm walk one evening. The most important thing is making the event work for you.

“It’s something you can really build your confidence with and grow on your own terms over time.”

Emma Loder Symonds of Nonington Farms in Kent said: “There are a huge number of benefits from hosting.

“For me one of the best things has been attracting new entrants into the industry. Share your farm. Just go and do it and you’ll be amazed at what happens as a result.”

John Whitby of Rowley Farm in Colne Valley: “I didn’t realise just how much fun hosting Open Farm Sunday would be. We get so much out of it.

“A small event for ten people is equally valid. My advice is, give it a go, don’t be shy.”

Louis Phipps from Bragborough Hall said: “It’s really important for farmers to share their stories with the public.

“To show how much work goes into producing food, how much care we’re taking of the environment, to recreate a connection of where food comes from so people understand what they’re spending their money on and what they’re putting into their bodies.”