A family day out and a chance to experience farming at first hand

Open Farm Sunday
Open Farm Sunday

This Sunday, farmers across the country are opening their gates to share their lives and work with us all.

Managed by sustainable farming organisation Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF), Open Farm Sunday invites us to experience farming at first hand.

Since 2006, over two million people have visited farms of all shapes, sizes and specialisations thanks to the initiative – with 273,000 visiting in 2017 alone.

LEAF Open Farm Sunday manager Annabel Shackleton said: “We know from what visitors tell us how important LEAF Open Farm Sunday is in helping them understand the realities of farming and how it impacts on their daily lives.

“Last year, one in five visitors were visiting a farm for the first time and 86 per cent told us they learned something new. So we’re calling on everyone to support LEAF Open Farm Sunday 2018 - it offers a perfect platform for farmers to shine a light on what they deliver and why supporting British farming matters.”

Many farmers also make the most of the day to raise their profile in the local community or fundraise for charity. Last year, over £80,000 was raised LEAF, Air Ambulance, RABI and other charities, as well as schools and churches.

Farms taking part include family business Tangmere Airfield Nurseries Ltd. The UK’s largest dedicated grower of sweet peppers, it will share the story of peppers from plant to plate. Cookery demonstrations, kids’ ‘sow a seed’ activities, a bouncy castle and tastings of over 15 varieties are also on offer from 10am to 3pm.

Goodwood Home Farm is open from 12 noon to 4pm. Guests can see how the farm manages the land to produce organic milk, cheese, meat and beer amidst beautiful countryside. Family activities, sheep shearing displays and tractor trailer rides are all available, alongside visits to a woodland nature trail. There’s a chance to sample freshly pasteurised milk, churn some butter and, from 2pm, watch the cows being milked at the dairy, while a BBQ is providing Goodwood meat, plus milk, cheese and beer, alongside free tasters of Goodwood cheeses and ale.

The Eric Wall Nursery, Barnham, open from 10am to 2pm, is providing a chance to visit a family-run tomato business, meet the growers, taste delicious tomatoes, enjoy a glasshouse tour, learn how pests are controlled using insects, find out how pollination is achieved by introducing native bumble bees and more.

See www.farmsunday.org

Inspire the next generation

An organisation which promotes sustainable agriculture, Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF) believes educating and engaging with young people about farming is vital for not just for their futures, but for that of British farming.

LEAF is calling on farmers to get involved in Open Farm School Days to inform and inspire the next generation about farming.

Running throughout June, the nationwide initiative aims to get children and young people out onto farms, learning about where their food comes from and how it is grown, and meeting the farmers who produce it.

It wants them to learn how farmers grow crops for food, clothes and medicine, conserve energy and protect precious resources such as soil and water, how and why they use science and technology to farm sustainably and all they do to care for wildlife and the environment.

LEAF director of education and public engagement Carl Edwards said: “Society needs individuals who are armed with the ability to make informed decisions about food and its production.

“We also want British farming and the countryside to thrive and know that public understanding begins with good learning experiences out on farms at an early age.

“LEAF Open Farm School Days provides exactly this – an opportunity for children and young people to experience farming at first hand and learn about its impact on their daily lives and the world around them.”

With this in mind, the organisation has a wealth of free support and resources to help farmers and schools put on visits.

Poultry farmers Nick and Claire Bragg from Frogmary Farm, Somerset regularly open up their farm for LEAF Open Farm School Days, teaching children about farming and healthy food by promoting the food they produce on-farm.

Nick Bragg said: “As members of LEAF we are passionate about informing and educating the general public and school children about farming and healthy eating by promoting the food we produce.”

To support the initiative, LEAF offers free support and resources to help farmers put on diverse and engaging school visits.

To find out more about LEAF Open Farm School Days and how to sign up, visit www.farmsunday.org

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