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Open Farm Sunday welcomes first-time farm visitors and more from urban areas

More than 25 per cent of farmers hosted an event for the first time, with 33 per cent of these in Yorkshire and 22 per cent in Scotland.

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Open Farm Sunday welcomes first-time farm visitors and more from urban areas #OFS19

This year’s Open Farm Sunday saw a surge in the number of people from urban backgrounds and those who had never been on a farm before.

 

According to Leaf, more than 230,000 visitors attended events at 361 working farms – with feedback suggesting consumers had a growing interest in British agriculture, food production and sustainable farming practices for land management, soil and water health.

 

More than 25 per cent of farmers hosted an event for the first time, with 33 per cent of these in Yorkshire and 22 per cent in Scotland.


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Leaf chief executive Caroline Drummond said: “With farming and food supply in the news so much over the last 12 months, visitors were more keen than ever this year to know more about how we are producing food and looking after soils and the wider environment.

 

“We learn best when we get our hands dirty and Leaf Open Farm Sunday is about building real, personal experiences that help everyone feel connected to food and farming and empowered to make better choices for themselves and the environment.”

 

Rewarding experience

Events took place from the Channel Islands to Shetland, ranging from informal farm walks to self-guided tours, tractor-and-trailer rides and large-scale educational events with organised activities and local stallholders.

 

Farming Minister Robert Goodwill said he hoped visitors had learned about farming’s role and why it was so important in ‘producing the food we eat, protecting wildlife and providing access to the beautiful countryside’.

OFS manager Annabel Shackleton added: “We are so proud of the positive impact of these events and we should not underestimate the deeply rewarding experience that they offer visitors.

 

“As well as the important opportunity for open dialogue between farmers and the public, many visitors commented on how much they appreciated being welcomed onto farm and the space and freedom to enjoy the countryside in safety.

 

“Our farmers have been blown away by the calibre and quantity of questions from visitors about environmental practices.”

 

Leaf Open Farm Sunday will be held next year on June 7 2020.

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