Open your doors to #Farm24
On August 10, we hope farmers up and down the country will be opening their doors to make the most of #Farm24.
Hosting a farm visit is perhaps the most effective way of sharing your story – they are multi-sensory experiences which create lasting memories and change the way people think about food. It may seem daunting, but start small, focus on the things you are proud of and give yourself and your guests time to enjoy the day.
Many farmers say sharing their work with the public is one of the most enjoyable things they do. If you are thinking of taking the plunge, our quick guide covers everything from press releases to portable toilets. Good luck!
Spread the word
Take time writing a description of your event, including who it is aimed at, what it will cover and what people should wear.
- Create an online presence. Register your event with 24 Hours in Farming to benefit from wider publicity and resources. Creating a ticketed event on a site like Eventbrite can help you manage numbers. Link to your event pages in all your communications.
- Think local. Contact parish magazines, websites, Facebook groups, newspapers and magazines. Design, print and distribute fliers, posters and invitations. You may wish to write a press release, but an email or phone call will often do.
- Get on social media. Don’t forget to use the #Farm24 hashtag when you publicise and record your event.
Write a script, plan your route and go that extra mile to put a smile on people’s faces.
- Build your team: Rope in friends, family, volunteers, workers, neighbours, advisers, customers and suppliers. Consider giving roles such as health and safety co-ordinator and parking supervisor.
- Plan your route, script and schedule. Design your route and time it. It is okay to go off-script, but a list of prompts will help you stick to the plan.
- Practice makes perfect. A dry run will give you confidence and expose potential problems. Practice on your team. Get them to ask difficult questions. Why not practice during Open Farm Sunday on June 11?
- Make it special. Activities, giveaways, snacks and entertainment create a buzz. A leaflet can help explain things, point out hazards and lead visitors to your website or places to buy your produce.
- The day before. Tidy the farm, lock hazards away where possible, set up displays and put out signs.
The red tape
There are a few bits of paperwork to tick off before the event:
- Know the risks. A risk assessment is essential. Document the process and be prepared to show you have enabled your visitors to be safe.
- Provide sanitary facilities. You may need to hire portable toilets and/or set up temporary handwash stations.
- Check you are covered. If you do not have public liability insurance you will need it. Check with your insurer. If you need insurance, comparison sites can point you in the right direction. Notify your insurer of your event.
- Obtain relevant licences. If you are providing music, alcohol or a farmers market, you may need a licence.
On the day
It is important people feel at home. Make sure someone welcomes them as soon as they arrive.
- Put a banner out. Attractive and helpful signage will gain attention and help visitors arrive unflustered.
- Pace it right: Be aware of people with mobility issues and offer assistance. Give those who want to take it slowly the chance to do so, within reason.
- Interact with your visitors. Ask them why they came. Give them the chance to ask questions one-to-one. Not everyone likes talking in a group.
- Take photos. Ask permission. If people say they do not want their photo taken, respect that.
- Close the box. At the end of the session thank your visitors for coming and invite them to ask questions. Allow them to relax and mingle before they leave.