EAF Open Farm Sunday
On 11th June 2023, farmers across Britain opened their gates and welcomed over 170,900 visitors onto farms for LEAF Open Farm Sunday (LOFS), farming’s annual open day.
Each event was unique; each farmer showcasing their own farming story. But all were united with a shared aim of helping to bridge the farm to fork disconnect and to demonstrate the industry’s commitment to sustainability, biodiversity, delivering nutritious food and a well-managed countryside – today and for future generations.
The results demonstrate the huge value of farm visits and the immersive experience of being able to see, touch, smell, hear and talk farming, with the people who make it happen.
thanks to all the farmers, helpers, supporters, & our sponsors for making LOFS 2023 another incredible success!
Fantastic experience, showing how farming can work in harmony with the environment to help feed the world.”
“ LOFS Visitor
HUGE positive impact!
For many visitors, their main motivation for attending events was to have a fun day out with family and friends, but they also came away with increased knowledge and respect for British farmers and all the industry delivers. Plus, a multitude of memories to talk about long after the day had ended.
87% of visitors reported LOFS has increased their trust in British farming
88% learnt something new about British food or farming
72% said they felt the farming industry is adapting to help combat
89% said that visiting a farm has encouraged them to buy more British food
41% said the visit had inspired someone in their group to consider a career in farming
LEAF Open Farm Sunday events appealed to a whole range of visitors young and old, from both urban and rural backgrounds, hungry to discover how their food is produced, learn more about how the countryside is managed, and what it’s like to have a career in farming.
96% of visitors rated events as good or excellen
53% were from urban areas
1 in 5 had visitednot a farm before!
Lovely to meet so many people in the farming industry keen to share what they do, answer any questions we had and in doing so inspiring my daughter’s interest in this field of work. ”
Over 3 million people have visited an LOFS event since it began in 2006
“ LOFS Visitor
A Royal Occasion
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Edinburgh, LEAF’s Honorary President, supported Open Farm Sunday at Hampton Estate Farms’ event in Surrey. During her visit The Duchess saw first-hand farming activities, learned about the history and process of hop growing, met their vet who cares for the estate’s pedigree herd of Sussex beef cows, explored the latest John Deere tractor and direct drill technology and discovered how regenerative farming promotes biodiversity. The Duchess also met inspiring young people pursuing careers in the sector, including apprentices, a trainee vet, the estate’s butcher, and an aquatic biodiversity expert.
It was an all-round field to fork experience with The Duchess having a go at the traditional art of hop stringing, sitting in a tractor cab, microscopic examination of aquatic minibeasts, and sampling beer brewed with Hampton Estate’s hops and wild roe venison sausages.
Our Host Farmers
Our wonderful community of host farmers put on some inspiring events which together showcased all types of farm enterprise, from livestock, arable, horticulture and energy crops, to forestry, environmental stewardship and a range of diversifications.
257 farmers registered events
74 farmers opened for the first time
Why do farmers take pa n LOFS?
82% to improve community relations
76% to inform the public about sustainable farming practices
67% it’s fun!
88% to promote a positive image of the industryfarming as a whole
Farms all across Britain opened their gates! Regional Split:
Host Farmer Support
The LOFS team provided a range of support to help farmers through their journey. From making the initial decision to participate, guidance on planning an event, through to resources to promote events and for use on the day.
Breakfast and Zoom Meetings
We hosted a series of breakfast meetings, offering host farmers support - covering a variety of topics and answering questions, alongside an opportunity to bring new and experienced host farmers together to network and learn from each other. In addition, we held three online meetings, welcoming new and experienced host farmers to answer questions, and share their experiences and top tips.
Our team of LOFS ambassadors were once again on hand to help and support farmers in their regions, answering questions, picking up the phone to new hosts and being a supportive voice to host farmers.
Once registered, each farmer received the LOFS host farmer handbook - their comprehensive guide for organising enjoyable and safe on-farm experiences for visitors. Host farmers regularly received LOFS Update e-newsletters to stay informed about the latest developments.
The online shop opened on 1st March for farmers to order bespoke packs of resources for their event. These included updated promotional postcards, flyers, posters, gate banners and signs, as well as large sustainable farming posters, stickers and, new for 2023, copies of the Countryside Classroom passport for young visitors to complete during their farm visit.
New, editable social media assets were developed for farmers to personalise content with their own images and text, to promote their event.
Many of our Principal Sponsors created additional resources to enrich the visitor experience.
John Deere revamped their activity booklet featuring JD technology. AHDB promoted their Food a Fact of Life posters, stickers and new activity sheets. BASF offered host farmers the chance to apply for Biggest Job On Earth branded t-shirts. NFU extended support to their member-hosts by providing a selection of educational resources, including activity booklets for children aged 4 – 12, Back British Farming pencils and stickers, along with the latest issue of their Countryside magazine. Arla created a range of signs, fun activities and supplied product samples to enhance the visitor experience at Arla dairy farms. We were also delighted to work with M&S to develop a Farming with Nature stand concept for families to engage in fun activities to learn about the importance of pollinators and Integrated Pest Management, and take home hand crafted pollinators and wildflower seeds for their garden.
It was also fabulous to see representatives from many of our sponsors out on farms helping at events and engaging with visitors. Thank you to everyone who supported events and for all your inspiring resources and activities!
In the Media
The LOFS campaign’s ability to secure national television exposure, prominent print features, radio interviews, and online recognition demonstrates its broad appeal and impact. The multi-channel communications campaign reached millions of people promoting LOFS to both trade and consumer audiences.
Features, case studies, blogs and interviews secured coverage across trade media, including: Farmers Weekly, Farmers Guardian, Scottish Farmer, Wales Farmer, Hort Week, regional media, Lincs FM Farming Programme, and many more.
The consumer campaign focussed on promoting LOFS to a family audience, driving visitors to ‘find a farm’ at www.farmsunday.org. A geo-targeted campaign on Facebook generated visitor interest in areas where farms were opening. The LOFS press office secured coverage in national, regional and local media.
683,000 website views pieces of coverage across various platforms
Over 200 social media generatedposts Over 300 1.8 million impressions
Lasting Positive Impact
The unique on-farm experiences of LOFS leaves a lasting impression on visitors. Our follow-up visitor survey, conducted in late September, highlights its ongoing and positive influence:
96% said that they have a greater appreciation of the work that farmers do
94% still feel more connected with farmers
93% have a better understanding of what ‘sustainably produced food’ means
64% said that as a result of attending an LOFS event they were doing things differently with 70% buying more local produce & 22% supporting farm shops
Visitors have reported several changes in their shopping choices: more actively looking for assurance labels and buying more local, British, and seasonal produce. Events have not only offered an educational experience but have also encouraged sustainable and responsible consumer behaviour change.
I look for specific labels on food and try to buy local - even if it is expensive.”more
Buying more British produce and encouraging others to.”
Try to buy local and not waste any food.”
It helped my son to confirm that a BTech in agriculture was what he wanted to study at college.”
Looking Forward to 2024
There continues to be a huge appetite to learn more about British food production and farming...
What farmers are doing to help tackle the climate crisis
Wildlife & biodiversity
Machinery used in farming
to learn about next year:
Technology used in farming
39% said: Science in farming
39% said: Food assurance standards
Farming to help the environment
How crops are grown & used
We look forward to you joining us next year for LEAF Open Farm Sunday
9th June 2024