LEAF Online Farm Sunday - 2020 Impacts Report

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LEAF ONLINE FARM SUNDAY Our impacts in the year that LOFS went virtual!

What a year! Thank you to all our host farmers for your continued support during this challenging year - organizing on-farm events (twice!) which had to be cancelled and adapting in true style to the new online format. Embracing technology has been a huge experience for many. We are so grateful to have such willing and enthusiastic farmers who keep delivering – no matter the circumstances! LEAF Open Farm Sunday farmers really are the heart of the campaign and we wholeheartedly thank you for your continued commitment, inspiration and expertise you bring to the table.

Caroline Drummond LEAF Chief Executive

“It has been brilliant. Thank you so much to all the farmers and people involved in making this accessible to everybody.” - Visitor

“We are delighted that LEAF Online Farm Sunday gave us the opportunity to showcase the full kaleidoscope of farming in such an honest way. It has shown everything our farmers do to produce food, while nurturing the wildlife and biodiversity on their land, including the technology, the skills, the innovation, and the passion that goes into food production. I’d like to say a massive thank you to all the farmers, scientists, industry experts, nutritionists, chefs and cooks who took part and to all our sponsors and supporters who made this all possible.”

LEAF Open Farm Sunday goes


Unprecedented times amid the COVID-19 pandemic led to the postponement, then cancellation of all LEAF Open Farm Sunday on-farm visits. The LEAF team and our dedicated host farmers were not deterred, and we turned to technology to keep the public connected with farming, food production and the environment. Plans for the first LEAF Online Farm Sunday were hatched and on 7th June thousands of people joined farmers on live virtual farm tours for a behind-the-scenes view of farms from Cornwall to the Scottish Isle of Arran, Pembrokeshire to Cambridge. LEAF Open Farm Sunday had been postponed to September but with continued uncertainty, and to avoid risking the health and wellbeing of our huge support networks and visitors, we once again took to the screens, offering a weekend brimming with information, more virtual farm tours, farm produce, provenance, wildlife and biodiversity on 19th and 20th September. By trialling these different approaches, we have reached out to our LEAF Open Farm Sunday supporters and new audiences – who have not visited a LEAF Open Farm Sunday event before. We have all learnt so much and demonstrated how our food choices are linked with the countryside and nature. Thank you to everyone who took part, our farmers, industry supporters, our sponsors and to the thousands of viewers who engaged, asked questions and took the time to learn more about farming and food production. LEAF Honorary President, HRH The Countess of Wessex virtually launched our second LEAF Online Farm Sunday on 20th September.

mily “Our fa nk you. a h t , t i loved ic fantast Such a owcase h s o t y e wa uring th d g n i farm ic.” pandem - Visitor

Our highlights


LEAF Online Farm Sunday

100s of videos

279,000 video views

29 Facebook live virtual farm tours & talks

1.7million impressions on Facebook & Twitter


rated the virtual farm tours as excellent


of viewers had not attended an LOFS on-farm event before

Farmers from Cornwall to Angus, Ceredigion to Norfolk, joined together to encourage farmers and the public to take part in our second LEAF Online Farm Sunday.

Building connections with food & farming The overwhelmingly positive feedback from the public was tremendous. Our September viewer survey results demonstrate the extent to which LOFS changes the hearts and minds of the public.

Impact of #LOFS20 - From our viewer survey September 2020 strongly agree

Are you more appreciative of the work farmers do?


YES 40%



Do you feel more connected with the farmers who produce our food?

Are you more aware of and interested in farming issues?



YES 50% Are you more motivated to buy British produce?


YES 30%

strongly agree




YES 55%

always did before


5% agree

About our viewers urban 50

: 50 rural

69% women (32% aged 26-45) 50% of viewers watched alone 25% watched as couples ed the “I enjoy rs so ou virtual t I also nd much a much o learnt s nk you.” too. Tha - Visitor

35% 40% 60%

always did before

no change




10% no change

“Seei happe ng what ns beh public ind the view h a s b interes een re ally t the mi ing, such as in lk interna ing parlour. T tio he great a nal farms we dd re to com ition to be ab a pare t le and co echniques ncerns .” - Visito r

Our first LEAF Online Farm Sunday 7th June 2020

To mark the original date, farmers across the British Isles took to social media for the first ever LEAF Online Farm Sunday on Sunday 7th June 2020. As visits to farms were not possible, it gave people an amazing opportunity to learn about farming and food production from the safety of their own homes. Throughout the day farmers, many LEAF Open Farm Sunday hosts, and sponsors took to social media sharing videos and photos of farming activities using #LOFS20, which were shared across our social media platforms. Thirteen farmers delivered some fabulous, informative, and engaging Facebook live virtual farm tours on the LEAF Open Farm Sunday Facebook channel - on the hour each hour, from 8am to 8pm. The public had the chance to interact and ask farmers questions, which were either answered live during the broadcasts or later in the day. The tours covered a range of farm enterprises and topics, including the unexpected - such as wheat being a contributor to intravenous drips! Insights covered what and how cows eat, why good soil is vital to crops, planting new hedgerows and the importance of this habitat for wildlife, as well as the chance to hear skylarks, see what rapeseed looks like after harvesting, and generally to understand what farmers mean when they talk about sustainable farming, Integrated Farm Management, and so much more. Everyone who presented demonstrated their enthusiasm and passion for the work they do whilst sharing the story of farming and the people involved. The day was a wonderful celebration of British farming and brought a little bit of farming and the countryside into homes to brighten up our lives and boost our wellbeing during lockdown.

Sunday 7th June Facebook lives: 8am

Caroline Drummond



Jake Freestone



William Church



John & Helen Renner



Eddie Andrew



Ally Hunter-Blair



Ailsa Currie

Isle of Arran


Duncan Farrington



Rona Amiss & family



Tom Martin



Bethan Simons



Anthony Snell



Tom Mead


“What a great day, so much divers ity & abundance o f character. Awe some day thanks for inviting us alo ng.” - Farmer

rilliant! “This is b ’t be n We could round red a chauffeu s if we the farm person!” came in - Visitor

June highlights

13 virtual


farm tours

video views

100s of social media posts

100% of farmers

who featured on the day said they would take part in another LEAF Online Farm Sunday.

“I’m hugely grateful to our dedicated farmers, who have worked tirelessly during this challenging time to keep the nation fed. It is fantastic to see the farming community finding ways to connect, and I am looking forward to the first virtual Open Farm Sunday as an opportunity to celebrate the very best of what British agriculture has to offer.” Def ra Farming Minister, Victoria Prentis MP

lly “We would rea ore enjoy doing m urs online farm to to really easy way ger reach much big ople.” numbers of pe - Farmer

“I’ve ha d a love ly day on t h e f arm withou t leavin g ra Bedford shire - T iny hank you! Fa b job!!” - Visitor

#LOFS20 - a weekend celebration of food & farming! 19th & 20th September 2020 In September, we opted to broaden the LEAF Online Farm Sunday offering. With more people cooking from scratch during lockdown and the growing interest in issues around food provenance, we organised a weekend long celebration of food and farming across the British Isles and further afield with our first two international virtual farm tours. The weekend was packed with informative live demonstrations, talks, tours, photos and videos. Farmers shared their stories, skills, produce, the wildlife they nurture and their stand-out biodiversity achievements. Through the partnership with British Food Fortnight we made a strong farm to fork link too. All activities were based around two core themes:

Produce & Provenance

Celebrating harvest, nutritious seasonal produce and Autumn farming activities

Wildlife & Biodiversity

Showcasing the range of habitats and amazing wildlife on farms, which on a typical LEAF Open Farm Sunday with hordes of visitors is no-where to be seen!

We started the weekend with a feast of nutritional seasonal recipes, cookery demonstrations and talks about British food and sustainable diets. Vet turned nutritionist and Love British Food Ambassador, Lucy Williamson kicked off the day with her ‘Veg 101’. This set the scene travelling across Britain with something for everyone. Adrian Culver cooked up an Asian pork dish to inspire teenagers. Viewers of all ages were encouraged to make healthy pizzas with cook and farming educator, Karen Watson. Karl Jones-Hughes demonstrated his signature Welsh beef recipe and shared his experience of cooking for the Queen. Farmer and cook, Lucy Wilson celebrated local Scottish blueberries with three recipes and a cocktail. Local COVID restrictions meant that North East LEAF Demonstration Farmer John Renner, was joined on a Zoom call with chef Richard Sim to showcase the distinctiveness of Northumberland lamb. Rosa Holt rounded off the day in Aberdeenshire championing sustainable, local produce – from locally grown lentils to her pasture fed turkeys. The day engaged different audiences and helped whet everyone’s appetite for Sunday’s focus on farming.

Saturday 19th September live talks: 10am

Veg 101

Lucy Williamson

Nutrition & Love British Food Ambassador, Greater London


Car Sui pork

Adrian Culver

Newlyns Farm Shop and Cookery School, Hampshire



Lucy Wilson

Lucy Wilson Cookery School, Cowbog Farm, Scottish Borders


Pizza for everyone

Karen Watson

Food4Thought, Essex


BBQ lamb

John Renner & Richard Sim

North Bellshill Farm & The Potted Lobster, Northumberland


Welsh beef

Karl Jones-Hughes Hotel Plas Hyfryd, Pembrokeshire


Sustainable diets

Rosa Holt

Food and Farming Dietitian, Aberdeenshire

“I’m loving these videos, interesting and informative.” - Visitor

“A great w ay to spend my weekend, watched m ost live and caug ht up with a couple d ue to cooking lu nch!” - Visitor

Thousands of people continued the conversations on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, for our second LEAF Online Farm Sunday on 20th September. LEAF’s Honorary President, HRH The Countess of Wessex, recorded a special message of support to warmly welcome everyone, before we travelled the length and breadth of the country from Dorset to Aberdeen, Ceredigion to Yorkshire. The first live farm tour gave a behind the scenes view of vegetable harvesting in action at LEAF Demonstration Farm, G’s Fresh. The day’s tours then made stops at an organic Arla dairy farm in Dorset, a Welsh sheep farm, mixed farms in Scotland and Jersey, pigs in Wensleydale and concluded with NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board Chairman, Ali Capper showing viewers her family’s fruit and hops farm in Worcestershire. Virtual tours from further afield enabled people to get a glimpse of a Kellogg’s rice farm in Spain and a LEAF Marque pineapple farm in Ghana, exploring the finer aspects of produce that we are unable to grow commercially in the UK. The live farm tours were supported by a series of pre-recorded videos and content from farmers, industry experts and sponsors who took to social media sharing their farming stories using #LOFS20. It didn’t stop at the end of the day! We continued to share the #LOFS20 stories, videos and photos during the rest of British Food Fortnight which ended on 4th October.

Sunday 20th September Facebook live farm tours: HRH The Countess of Wessex


10am Rob Parker & Ivaylo Kostadinov

G’s Fresh, Cambridgeshire

Nutritious vegetables: celery and lettuce


Fearn Farm, Ross-shire

Scottish arable and livestock farming

12pm Sophie & Tom Gregory

Home Farm, Dorset

Arla dairy farm and fencing demonstration


Eric Paintsil & colleagues

Blue Skies Zulu Farm, Ghana

LEAF Marque pineapple growers in West Africa


Josep Ibeas & Mar Catala


Cultivating rice for Kelloggs Rice Krispies


Tim Durham & Stephanie Swift

Wensleydale Experience, Pigs, piglets and agritourism in Yorkshire the Yorkshire Dales


Phil DeMaistre

Westlands Farm, Jersey

Tour of a Jersey Dairy farm


Jamie McCoy

Gorwell Farm, Ceredigion

Talking all about sheep in Wales


Ali Capper

Stocks Farm, Worcestershire

Top fruit and hops

John & Fiona Scott

Relive the live tours and talks at any time on our website www.farmsunday.org/online-farm-sunday/lives, Facebook /LEAFOpenFarmSunday, or in the LEAF Online Farm Sunday playlist on our LOFS YouTube channel.

September highlights

10 Facebook

live virtual farm tours

1st international virtual farm tours to West Africa & Spain

100s of social media posts & stories from farmers, scientists & sponsors across Britain

7 Facebook live cookery

demonstrations, sustainable food & nutrition talks

“Thank you, was lovely to see my son captivated by farmers talking and educating him all day about everythi ng farming.” - Visitor

e “I loved th nt nal eleme io t a n r e t in ne events li n o e h t f o t I could c a f e h t d an le British see multip hout it farmers w .” travelling - Visitor

Thank you to our sponsors We would like to thank our Principal Sponsors for being so understanding and for standing by us as we adapted our delivery plans for LEAF Open Farm Sunday 2020 so that we could continue to showcase British farming to the public, within the limitations of COVID-19 rules. This new online format allowed sponsors to get involved in innovative ways. Many created and posted their own content, sharing across social media. Supplying resources and ideas for us to offer, and unique videos or statements to show their support. We developed new webpages for each sponsor where we shared information, links, videos, and photos. The pages also provided a sponsor-specific landing page to share and direct people to the LOFS website. Content included: educational and fun resources for families from AHDB, Asda, Coop, LEAF Education and John Deere; online welly wanging at the Arla virtual farm; an educational video explaining the workings of a John Deere combine harvester science at a BASF Real Results Farm; plus videos, information and recipes from AHDB, Arla, Asda, BASF, Co-op, Defra, Farmers Weekly, Frontier, John Deere, Kelloggs, LEAF Marque, NFU, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose.

In the media Throughout 2020 LEAF has continued to work closely with both Ceres PR agency and Jane Craigie Marketing. Their technical and creative expertise was invaluable to our new online format. When COVID-19 struck the PR machine behind LEAF Open Farm Sunday was swiftly reengineered to adapt to the situation. The new online format generated a lot of interest across the print, broadcast and online media with over 250 pieces of coverage.


3,516,434 print reach

61,271,242 online reach

LEAF Online Farm Sunday was mentioned in broadcast media including: BBC Radio 4 Farming Today and numerous local radio stations, including BBC Lincolnshire, Somerset, Oxford, South East and Wycombe Sound Radio. We also featured in Farmers Weekly Podcasts and a Meet the Farmer Podcast. In addition, over 30 trade titles promoted LEAF Online Farm Sunday – our thanks to Farmers Weekly, Farmers Guardian, British Farmer and Grower, The Scottish Farmer and Horticulture Week to name a few!

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR! LEAF Open Farm Sunday on-farm visits (COVID permitting)

13th June 2021, 12th June 2022, 11th June 2023

LEAF Open Farm Sunday is one of farming’s biggest success stories connecting over a quarter of a million people each year with farmers from across the British Isles, to discover the world of farming and how their food is produced. Managed by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) since it began in 2006, 2.7 million people have connected with British farmers building public trust and understanding in farming and food production.

Take part in LEAF Open and Online Farm Sunday in 2021. Together let’s showcase British farming.

+44 (0)24 7641 3911 openfarmsunday@leafuk.org


@ O p e n Fa r m S u n d ay / L E A F O p e n Fa r m S u n d ay @ O p e n Fa r m S u n d ay

LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG

Charity registered in England and Wales, number 1045781

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