LEAF Open Farm Sunday 2022

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n e p F a 2 O 2 r 0 2 y m a F d S n u A LE g the Public with Farming n i t c e n n Co


e n Farm p O F A EL Sun day

The farming industry’s annual open

day was back in full force this year, making

memories and positively changing perceptions.

On 12th June 2022, across the British Isles, fields and farmyards filled with chatter and laughter from interested and engaged families who were all looking to learn more about how their food is produced, how the countryside is managed and what it is like to have a career in farming. The hugely positive feedback we’ve received shows how much they enjoyed the experience and the real value of LEAF Open Farm Sunday (LOFS) to visitors, farmers and wider industry. In a year with so much sadness and turmoil, it has once again brought such joy to so many and reconnected the public with farmers and the countryside.


u y o k n Tha

you k n a h t e A hug mers, r a f e h t l to al ters, r o p p u s helpers, s for r o s n o p & our s part in r i e h t g playin S 2022 F O L g n i mak huge r e h t o n a success!

2.9 m illion visi to r

b S F s i n to t a l s i n ce L O

! n a eg


What a super opportunity

to be able to visit a working farm and speak to such enthusiastic and passionate people about their work and lives. Thank you for opening our eyes to British farming!”

Visitor, Goldsland Farm, Cardiff

A really successful, happy day!

It gets easier to host each year and we were delighted to have so many families from the outskirts of London join us. Lovely to see such diversity in those visiting.”

Bill Biddell, Hampton Estate Farms, Surrey


Remembering Caroline Drummond MBE 24th June 1963 – 23rd May 2022 LEAF Open Farm Sunday was also a chance for the LOFS community to pay tribute to Caroline Drummond MBE, Chief Executive of LEAF for over 30 years, who sadly passed away in May. Caroline was passionate about bridging the gap between farmers and the public. One of her most shining legacies will be establishing and driving forwards LEAF Open Farm Sunday. Caroline loved to visit LOFS events, to meet host farmers and their helpers, to hear their LOFS stories and to witness their energy and enthusiasm, and visitors’ joy and gratitude. The sunshine on the day brought Caroline’s warmth to so many events as host farmers remembered her.


Huge Positive Impact Over 250 LEAF Open Farm Sunday events took place in June, welcoming over 175,000 people onto farms, 20% of whom had not visited a farm before. The amazing feedback shows how much visitors appreciated all that host farmers organised. The messages shared by farmers resonated with visitors from all walks of life as shown in the results from the 2022 visitor survey which demonstrate the true impact of LEAF Open Farm Sunday:

85%

of visitors report LOFS has increased their trust in British farming

learnt something new about British food or farming

56%

report the farm visit had positively changed their opinion of food production or the farming industry

72%

79%

said they felt the farming industry is adapting to help combat climate change

49%

said the visit had inspired someone in their group to consider a career in farming

Very informative & fun-filled

open day that was suitable for all ag

es. We came

away feeling so ref reshed with eage r ch

that wanted to learn more.”

Visitor, Higher Odham Farm, Devon

ildren


A Healthy Focus for 2022! Health was the overarching theme this year, allowing farmers to shape the angle this would take to suit their farm. Animal, plant, water and soil health, and the health of the planet were central to many events, with messages conveyed through a variety of innovative, informative and entertaining activities and displays. Some events had vets and feed merchants on hand to answer questions about livestock health and nutrition, plus agronomists and other industry experts creating conversations around plant health and the importance of healthy eco systems in sustainable food production and managing the countryside.

A call to action in Spring asking farmers to

‘plant your pants’ was one way that farmers could demonstrate soil health on farm. It offered a light-hearted, memorable experience for visitors to understand the impact of microorganisms in the soil. The more decayed the pants, the healthier the microbial activity, demonstrating an organically thriving soil. The big unveil on Sunday 12th June was a huge hit at events where farmers had taken on the challenge!

Fantastic educational day out!

As a teacher of secondary school science, I am certainly going to incorporate what I have learnt into my science lessons.”

Visitor, Lacey’s Family Farm, Buckinghamshire


Our Host Farmers Farms across Britain, from Jersey to the Shetland Isles, opened their gates covering a huge array of farm enterprises, size and experiences to engage with the public. Many farmers mentioned how pleased they were to be involved with LOFS again, sharing their farming story with the public once more: promoting British farming, educating the public, dispelling misconceptions and enjoying the whole engaging experience.

251

farmers registered events

61%

of farmers opened for the first time

17

farms had hosted more than 10 times


The sun was shining in Scotland on a glorious LOFS, where knowledge transfer was effortlessly taking place.”

Farmer Dawes, Hilton of Aldie, Kinross-shire

Farms all across Britain opened their gates! Regional Split: 8%

6%

9% 12%

4%

10%

18%

14% 19% 1 fa rm !


Our Host Farmers

Why do farmers tak 97%

to inform the public & about food farming

“To raise money for local charities”

87%

to build commun ity relations “Gives me a deadline to tidy the yard!”

? S F O L n i t r a ep

77%

to promote all that farmers do to manage the environment

67%

to inspire a new generation o f farmers

72%

to promote British produce

“We just love hosting it!”


One lady came up, shook my hand & said ‘I just wanted to say thank you to farmers for all you do for us!’ Great to be back after 2 years! ”

Alice Townsend, Newbottle Estate Farms, Northamptonshire


Host Farmer Support LEAF provides a range of support and guidance to farmers– helping new farmers to open their farm gates for LOFS for the first time, through to supporting our experienced hosts. All free of charge thanks to the generous support from our sponsors. The LEAF head office team as always, responded to a huge number of enquiries, phone calls, emails and social media messages, throughout the six-month run up to LOFS.

LOFS Ambassadors Our team of nine LOFS Ambassadors supported host farmers through their journey, discussing ideas and offering general guidance. New to the team in 2022 was Lucy Nott, an experienced event manager who held her first LOFS event in 2021. The ambassadors fronted our new podcast series - a first for LOFS! Through seven podcasts they chatted with other host farmers, sharing top tips, event highlights and reasons why they get involved. Alongside this, they also teamed up and hosted four live online Zoom meetings to chat directly with host farmers, answering an array of questions and sharing best practice.

Andy Guy Midlands

Jamie McCoy Wales

Molly Biddell South East

Anne MairChapman North East

John Myhill East of England

Rebecca Dawes Scotland

Helen Chappell North West

Lucy Nott West Midlands

Rona Amis South West


Resources Once registered, each farmer received the LOFS Handbook, which is packed with information to make events safe and engaging. Regular LOFS Update

We had the poster pack & people loved reading them!”

Donya Donger, Peacock Farm, Leicestershire

e-newsletters kept farmers in the loop with the latest news. A range of resources were available for farmers to order from our online shop to help promote their event and to use on the day. 820 parcels were sent out by our fulfilment house! Every farmer was sent one free LOFS polo shirt when registering their event. Other resources included, but weren’t limited to, posters, flyers, and postcards, and not forgetting the large vinyl gate banners to draw in the visitors!

Some of our Principal Sponsors also produced their own resources for farmers to use on the day. All AHDB’s food and farming educational resources were available for farmers to order. BASF provided Biggest Job On Earth caps. John Deere updated their ever popular activity flyer and JD dealers were out on farms talking about farm machinery. Arla provided free product samples and sent some of their milk tankers to events.


Events Every event was unique, showcasing their own farming story from arable and horticulture, to livestock, energy crops and Christmas trees! All united with the same aim: to demonstrate the industry’s commitment to sustainability, biodiversity, climate mitigation, delivering nutritious food and a well-managed countryside. Events ranged in style and focus, with full open days fanfaring the whole agricultural industry, to small, intimate farm walks highlighting in finer detail the processes that happen on farm and why.

95%

of visitors rated events as good or excellent

8 (small &

intimate) e vents had fewer than

40 visitors whilst

3 events

had more

91%

were s t n e v of e the n o d e y displa site & b e w S LOF all open to

events r e h t o t s whil d d/invite e s u c o f had es audienc

than

5,000 visit ors!

55%

of farmers used a boo king system to manage vis itor numbers


I had no expectations, but my 4 year old daughter and I had a blast! Well planned events, plenty of parking, great fun on the tractor ride, stroking cows and watching them being milked! So many fun events to do. Thank you!”

Visitor, Park Farm, Kent


Our Visitors Visitors attending events had a thirst to take home messages about British food and farming, whilst enjoying their time in the countryside with family and friends. As in previous years, the majority of visitors were families with young children. A number of farmers reported an increase in visitors from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds.

s i v itors att 0 0 0 , ende 5 d events! 17 52%

were f rom urban areas

&

48%

were f rom rural areas

1 in 5

had not visited a farm before


38.7%

of visitors were aged 0-11 years

55.8%

of visitors were adults

52%

female

48%

male

with 33.7% aged 26-45 years

Visitors included Defra Minis

ter

of State, The RT Hon Lord Benyon, who visited Row Fa rm in Berkshire, and former Farm ing Minister, Victoria Prentis MP who visited D’Oyleys Farm, Oxfordshire.


In the Media LEAF Open Farm Sunday messages were promoted far and wide to encourage host farmers and industry to get involved, and to drive visitors to events. Social media continues to be a key communications tool, predominantly reaching farmers and industry contacts via Twitter, and consumers via Facebook and Instagram. In March, our Ambassadors took turns sharing their passion for LOFS during a week-long takeover of The Farmers of the UK Twitter channel, which generated a huge 1 million impressions. Our consumer facing communications took a new angle this year, with a digital campaign trialled to much success. Digital adverts were placed on websites, social media channels and other platforms such as Spotify, which generated 1.3 million impressions and 10K link clicks to the LOFS website.

www.farmsunday.org The campaign website was once again the hub of communications – for farmers to register events and order resources; for the public to search for a local farm to visit and to find out more about British farming. The website was regularly updated, offering the LOFS Information Pack for prospective hosts, through to a more user-friendly activity guide for all.

546,000 page views

158,000

unique users


Over 400 pieces of coverage were generated in the media, including: •

Several features in Farmers Weekly, Farmers Guardian, and sector specific agricultural trade media which published case studies, top tips and compelling reasons to take part

The consumer facing media which featured LOFS included My Weekly, The Green Parent and MSN, plus the MoneySavingExpert.com weekly newsletter generated an amazing 26K hits to the LOFS website visit a farm page

The Guardian and The Sun featured LOFS online and in print

77 LOFS mentions on local radio

On the day, broadcast cameramen were out on farms to report for ITV News in Wales, the Borders and Tyne Tees.

We were really pleased with the turnout, we even got a

!” plug in The Sun newspaper

Michael Williams, Gelli Aur Farm, Carmarthenshire


Lasting Positive Impact The special experiences visitors have on-farm create long-lasting memories for all involved. Our follow-up visitor survey, conducted three months on (in September), shows the continuing positive impact LOFS has on visitors:

98%

have a better understanding of what ‘sustainably produced food’ means

96%

feel more connected with farmers

96%

said that they now have a greater appreciation of the work that farmers do

91%

are more aware of & interested in farming issues in the news & media

81%

said that as a result of attending an LOFS event they were doing things differently With 49% buying more local produce & 14% buying more from farm shops The range of comments shows how LOFS affects so many different parts of visitors’ lives – changing perceptions, becoming more conscious consumers, and opening new conversations. All whilst encouraging people to live more sustainable lifestyles and spend more time outdoors - enjoying all the health and wellbeing benefits of being in the countryside.


We now buy & appreciate local food more & have taken our youth group to visit the same farm twice to learn more.”

I have started using my local farm shop & have been trying to only buy British products.”

There is now an association between what is seen on the supermarket shelf and it’s origin, and the work that goes into the production of it.”


Looking Forward to 2023 The LEAF team are already planning for LEAF Open Farm Sunday 2023 and how we can once again make a huge impact when it comes to passing on positive messaging around British food and farming. The appetite is certainly there to learn more...

64% said:

50% said:

Stories about the farm

21% said: Carbon capture

Wildlife & biodiversity 38% said:

43% said:

We asked this year’s visitors what they would like to learn more about at LOFS events next year:

Machinery used in farming

38% said:

Science be

hind farming

:

48% said

to g n i m r a F e h t e c n a enh ent m n o r i v en

24% said: Food assurance/ certification

Technology used in farming

d:

ai 55% s

l a m i An are Welf 41% said:

How crops are grown & used


We look forward t o you joining us next ye ar for LEAF Open Farm S unday

11th June 2023

Can

in a m e h t r t fo i a w t ’

event?

F a l r a m T u t r o i V u r r s u ! o h c t a W To engage visitors online and complement

LEAF Open Farm Sunday, we produced three creative, fun, family-orientated videos offering a 10-minute insight into what happens on farm in springtime. The videos gave visitors an insight into farming in the run up to LEAF Open Farm Sunday, whilst promoting the opportunity to visit a farm on 12th June. For people unable to get out onto farm, they were a very welcome alternative. The videos featured three LOFS host farmers, with different enterprises in Wales and the West Midlands:

Dairy Farming

Abi Reader, Goldsland Farm

Arable & Sheep Farming

Joe Stanley, The Allerton Project

Soft Fruit

Angus Davison & Team (Haygrove Ltd), Newtown Farm


www.farmsunday.org @OpenFarmSunday @LEAFOpenFarmSunday LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) Stoneleigh Park Warwickshire CV8 2LG 02476 413 911 lofs@leaf.eco Charity no. 1045781

Join us next year for LEAF Open Farm Sunda y

11th June 2023