Scottish farmers and crofters are being encouraged to get involved with this year’s Open Farm Sunday (OFS) event.
Managed by LEAF – Linking Environment And Farming – Open Farm Sunday unites the whole industry, with hundreds of farmers and crofters across Britain working to share their personal farming story by allowing visitors to see first-hand what goes on behind their farm gates.
According to LEAF, 86% of visitors to last year’s event said they felt more connected to the farmers who produce their food, with 78% now more proactively looking to buy
The event’s Scottish coordinator, Rebecca Dawes, said by hosting events, producers were helping to correct misunderstandings and untruths about the industry.
“Open Farm Sunday is an opportunity for farmers and crofters to be surrounded by the world in which they are comfortable with the knowledge they are in control,” she said.
“Farmers decide what visitors see, for how long and the type of visitor they want, for example, inviting a local Scout or community group or restricting the day to a one-hour farm walk with pre-booking.”
She said taking part in OFS was free and farmers and crofters did not need to be a member of LEAF to take part.
“Once registered, a range of free resources are available including gate banners, roadside arrows, posters, activity ideas, and visitor giveaways,” added Ms Dawes.
“Templates and printable signage are also available including a user-friendly risk assessment form. To meet health and safety, adequate hand washing is required, but this can be as simple as cold running water with liquid soap and paper hand towels.”
She encouraged Scottish producers to get involved and said activities that can be held at an event include a walk through crops, a demonstration of sheep shearing, a woodland trail, or standing in the parlour to watch cows getting milked.
“What may be thought of as everyday activities for farmers and crofters
is exciting and new for visitors ,” said Ms Dawes.
“We are passionate about ensuring events are manageable, enjoyable and beneficial for all involved. With Brexit looming, it is more important than ever that farmers and crofters take up the challenge and start conversations which help bridge the gap between the producer and consumer so that they value and support investment in the agricultural and rural industries. LEAF OFS is a great way to do just this and I would urge farmers to register and host an event on Sunday June 9.”
More information about hosting an OFS event is available from Ms Dawes, who has hosted 11, ranging from 100 to 3,500 visitors. She can be contacted on 07792 467730 or ofsrc.scotland@gmail