Across the country, from Orkney to Jersey, the food and farming industry came together last weekend (June 10th), to showcase all that British farmers deliver, as 358 farms opened their gates to the public for LEAF Open Farm Sunday. 26% of which were opening for the first time (94 farms).
Initial estimates from organisers LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) indicate that over 270,000 people visited a farm. This brings the total number of visitors to a farm for LEAF Open Farm Sunday over the last 13 years to over 2.2 million, demonstrating the significant impact the day has on connecting the public with farming.
Once again, the range of events was extensive, from private farm walks for 20, to farms that welcomed thousands. But their goal was the same – to offer visitors a unique insight into what farmers do and what British farming delivers – from food to crops for fuel, clothing and medicines – to the vital work they carry out in caring for the environment.
LEAF Open Farm Sunday once again received significant support from across the industry and on the day itself, LEAF welcomed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove to Tuesley Farm, part of the Hall-Hunter Partnership.
The LEAF Open Farm Sunday Facebook page achieved 400,000 impressions between the 1st and 10th June and a total of 2,250 engagements with the page during the same period. There were also 8,200 mentions of Open Farm Sunday on Twitter over that time. Video content was once again very well received, with 69,000 views on Facebook for the new BBSRC Science on the Farm videos and a further 8,900 on YouTube. The LEAF Open Farm Sunday website achieved over 327k visits.
There was widespread media coverage for the campaign with coverage in the weeks running up to the 10th June, in titles such as the Sunday Telegraph, Delicious and Great British Food as well as retailer publications and numerous websites and blogs. LEAF Open Farm Sunday also featured on national radio and TV, including ITV’s Good Morning Britain and This Morning, as well as in news media such as mailonline. Hundreds of regional articles helped promote individual events, with many local radio stations interviewing local farmers or LEAF Open Farm Sunday’s regional coordinators. On the day too there was significant broadcast coverage for the campaign, with both ITV and BBC sending out crews to cover events across the country.
Commenting on the campaign, Caroline Drummond, LEAF Chief Executive said: “LEAF Open Farm Sunday continues to go from strength to strength and yet again we have seen how by working together, the industry can really make a vital difference enabling the public to engage with farming. It is this collaboration that makes LEAF Open Farm Sunday the success it is, so, firstly a huge thank you to the hundreds of farmers who opened their gates and to their families and helpers. Thank you too, to all our sponsors, without whose support this campaign couldn’t happen. Farmers play a crucial role in enabling public access and enjoyment of the beautiful countryside and we know from our research how much benefit this campaign delivers to everyone.”
LEAF Open Farm Sunday 2018 sponsors included: Arla Foods, Asda, BASF plc, Co-op, Defra, Farmers Weekly, Frontier Agriculture, John Deere, LEAF Marque, Marks and Spencer, The National Farmers’ Union, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.
Plans are already underway for next year’s LEAF Open Farm Sunday, which will take place on 9th June 2019, and LEAF are hoping the popularity this year will encourage more farmers to get involved.
* Full breakdown of LEAF Open Farm Sunday events by region
|REGION||NO OF EVENTS||Percentage|
|East of England||48||13%|
|Yorks & Humber||23||6%|