Open your gates for Open Farm Sunday
On Sunday 9 June farms across Scotland will open their gates for LEAF Open Farm Sunday. In the last five years over 80,000 people have visited open farm Sunday events in Scotland with the number of farmers opening their gates increasing each year. Signing up to host open farm events is a great way for Scottish farmers to showcase the valuable work we do as land managers to produce nutritious, high quality food, manage the environment and contribute to the national economy. Running an open farm event through LEAF also provides links to a wider network of farmers who are also keen to help the public, and farming neighbours, understand more about how these valuable businesses manage their land. A standalone event would be hard to organise and promote but the widespread recognition of the LEAF Open Farm Sunday brand helps to bring people in and better still LEAF provide a wide array of resources and guidance to help your event be a success.
The Scottish Agricultural Champions highlighted that “The public must be better informed about Scottish farming and what it delivers” what better mechanism to start trying to achieve this than through Open Farm Sunday. At a time when the future nature of agricultural support is uncertain it also offers a great way for farmers to shine a light on what they deliver and why public support through consumer activity matters.
Importantly, open farm events are not a case of simply throwing open the gates, LEAF make it very clear you decide what size of event to run, what your visitors will see, for how long and visitor number can be managed through a free ticketing service. Crucially every event will offer something different to the public because every farm is different. The value is in the conversations had rather than footfall through the fields.
If you’re not hosting one this year but you’d be interested in getting involved why not find you nearest one, here, and get some inspiration. Alternatively, if you’d like to focus your efforts on the next generation you could get involved with REHAT and become a farm host.
As an industry we know our work benefits the environment and our skill set means we can help Scotland achieve its greenhouse gas emissions targets. What we’re not great at is communicating the excellent work we do.