LEAF Open Farm Sunday: Our 2021 Impact

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Welcome Back, LEAF Open Farm Sunday! 2021 marked the return of LEAF Open Farm Sunday on-farm events, sandwiched between our successful virtual LEAF Online Farm Sundays and a series of virtual farm tours. All delivered to help satisfy the public’s increasing appetite to learn more about where their food comes from, sustainable farming and nature. During a year of uncertainties, we appreciate that not every farmer who wanted to take part would be able to. A huge thank

you to everyone who

took part virtually or physically – for your energy, enthusiasm and all the creativity.

Thank you to... All farmers who hosted some wonderful, engaging Covid-safe events; visitors for joining in and asking some fabulous questions; all the helpers and our wider industry support; and to all our 2021

LOFS Principal Sponsors:

“We were incredibly hesitant around organising our first LEAF Open Farm Sunday event, especially during a worldwide pandemic. We soon realised that we had nothing to worry about. LEAF supported us, advised us and helped us set up an amazing experience for our visitors. Wow! What a fantastic experience for us too! It was an incredible opportunity to showcase what we do on a daily basis. It truly was the best explanation ever of farm to fork!” Faye Colquhoun, Dendoldrum Farm, Angus

Our 2021 focus Supporting people’s ever increasing interest in farming, food provenance and visiting the countryside, our guiding themes this year were:

Health and wellbeing – showing how a healthy sustainable diet can be good for both people and the planet; encouraging everyone to enjoy the countryside and follow the revised Countryside Code.

Climate change – showcasing how more sustainable, regenerative farming is helping to address the climate crisis through better soil and water management, reducing waste, using renewable energy and enhancing biodiversity; whilst also encouraging everyone to do their bit for climate change. These themes resonated well with farmers and visitors, worked brilliantly in the run up to the United Nations COP26 in Glasgow and helped to shape the kaleidoscope of farming stories shared with the public throughout the year.

Our 15th anniversary LOFS This year we celebrated LEAF Open Farm Sunday’s 15th anniversary. It was truly inspiring to see farmers stepping up like never before to welcome people onto their farms in a Covid-safe way. They switched things up, scaled things down and got creative, all determined to ensure they gave their visitors an on-farm experience to remember. Many hosted small, socially distanced walks and talks, which gave visitors an opportunity to discover the world of farming. Some ran nature trails, wildlife walks, scavenger hunts, machinery demonstrations and much more! Visitor numbers were managed carefully, through online booking services, staggered entry times, and farmers went to great lengths to comply with COVID-19 requirements. The delay in the final phases of the roadmap out of lockdown meant that the date for LEAF Open Farm Sunday had to be moved from 13th to 27th June. The sheer determination and resourcefulness of host farmers able to move their events was wonderful. It enabled hundreds of people to experience farming up close and to be together, once again, with their families, friends and communities.

Support for farmers We provided host farmers with the tools, resources and training to run their event. Lots of farmers and their helpers watched our information videos and joined in online meetings to learn from other host farmers, be inspired with new activity ideas, get media advice and answers to their questions. Farmers ordered free LOFS promotional material, roadside banners, signs and posters to display on the day. Thank you to the NFU for producing a new set of information boards featuring: barley, wheat, cows, sheep and the environment, and to the AHDB for allowing farmers to access their wide range of free educational resources. The all-important LOFS host farmer handbook was updated to include a new Covid specific risk assessment and guidance in line with the Health and Safety Executive information. We also signposted farmers to the different track and trace QR code generators for England, Scotland and Wales. Our new team of LOFS Ambassadors offered a strong regional network of support, co-ordinating regional groups and zoom meetings, offering one-to-one advice, and speaking with the media. Thank you to all of them for being that essential local helping hand.

Jamie McCoy (Wales)

Anne Mair-Chapman (North East)

Rebecca Dawes (Scotland)

Jon Myhill (East) Molly Biddell (South East)


Open F arm Su takes c nday onnec ting pe ople to a whol e new level; s everyo eeing ne get s t uck in enjoyin and g wha t they are do gives y ing ou suc h a bu zz.” Molly B iddell, Ham pton E state F arms & LOFS S E Amb assado r

Rona Amiss (South West) Helen Chappell (North West) Andy Guy (Midlands)


first time hosts “We are over the moon with how our first LEAF Open Farm Sunday all went. Our selfguided farm walk was easy to organise, especially with the information boards and posters from LEAF, AHDB and NFU. We were able to relax, enjoy the day and talk to our visitors knowing that we had worked through our Covid safe ‘to do list’.” Anne Mair-Chapman, Kypie Farm, Northumberland


reopened their gates “We love showing the public our prizewinning Herefordshire cattle. The public are too far removed from where their food comes from. That’s why we’ve taken part in LEAF Open Farm Sunday for the past eight years.” Hazel Andrew, Awnells Farm, Herefordshire

On the Day! With fewer events this year, demand was high! Almost all events were fully booked well before the day and many visitors travelled long distances to visit a farm. Ticketing events helped to avoid overcrowding and gave visitors a more intimate on-farm experience which they really valued. In addition to the usual hand-washing facilities, plenty of hand sanitiser was at the ready for visitors to ‘squirt and scrub’!

101 farmers hosted LOFS Organising

115 events

79 events featured guided farm tours 53 events featured self-guided farm walks

Over 1,200 helpers supported events, comprising: 25% farm staff 32% neighbouring farmers, business contacts

and organisations

43% friends and relatives

“250 bo

oked to

attend, rom sur roundin villages g and fur ther afi eld. We’ve h ad som e lovely feedbac k. Make the cha nce to do LE AF Ope n Farm Sunday , it reall y is wor th it!” Tanya R obbins, Didcott Farm, Worcest ershire coming f

solutely “It’s been ab ing specially talk fantastic – e dren. They to all the chil really good asked some st d to be hone questions an g t as rewardin I found it jus as they did!” and exciting , Charlie Beaty Volunteer, Rectory Farm Oxfordshire

How did it go on Meads Farm? 1st LEAF Open Farm Sunday 3 evening events 73 visitors “We were keen to host a LEAF Open Farm Sunday event this year and the idea of doing a small, bookable tour suited us really well. The farm here is right in amongst the village, bordering the primary school and people walk through on footpaths all the time, we therefore thought people might be interested to hear more….and they were! We hosted three evening farm walks and limited it to 25 per tour. We have had lots of ‘thank you’s since, which have given us a great buzz and we’ll definitely be taking part next year. The bookable farm tours were a great LOFS starter for us so we would really recommend to others wanting to talk about farming but not necessarily host a big event (…yet!).” Tom Mead, Meads Farm, Cambridgeshire

In the MEDIA LOFS featured in hundreds of press pieces, reaching millions of people. We continue to work closely with Ceres PR agency for consumer media and Jane Craigie Marketing for trade media. Consumer media focused on raising awareness of farming’s role in addressing climate change and we were delighted to see almost half of all pieces mentioned sustainable farming. The farming media were hugely supportive and stayed in touch to report on how LOFS was adapting to the challenges of the pandemic. Many titles published our farmer case studies and features about our host farmers and new LOFS Ambassadors. It all came together to generate lots of positive coverage for LOFS and the whole industry.

233 pieces of

coverage in the media

Reaching over


“I was ho

for a fam il

it was so

Our Visitors There was huge diversity in the visitors who attended events – young and old; families and young couples wanting to learn and enjoy being on


y day out

much mo


re. My children h ave lost s o much schooling during lo ckdown – the farm visit was so education al for them.”

a farm.

70% had not been to an LOFS event before

43% had not visited a farm before

“Such an

enjoyable and infor mative da y out. The p assion for farming a nd respec t for the en vironmen t came acr oss powerfull y.”

99% of visitors rated events as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’

97% of visitors learnt something new “Genuinely enjoyable, great people, amazing

ganised, animals. Really well or had to felt safe everywhere we plenty of go. Clear signage and felt rushed or hand washing. Never and dispelled crowded. Learned lots ing which some myths about farm iting. Would I had heard before vis ” DEFINITELY visit again

5ru1r% al 4ur9ba% n

“Such a

lovely d ay, good cle an fun a nd really g etting b ack to nature. The chil dren loved all the activ ities. So well organis ed. We will be b ack!”

For people who were unable to visit a farm, we directed them to the revised Countryside Code and promoted some family activities which everyone could do whilst out and about in the countryside and green spaces - to connect with nature; even if it wasn’t on a farm.

Government Support: We were delighted to welcome Defra Farming Minister, Victoria Prentis to Rectory Farm in Oxfordshire. The Minster was met by Caroline Drummond, LEAF CEO, and host farmer Imogen Stanley.

Congratulations to our winners of the LOFS photo competition: Rhyss Teo-Houssineau, Kiran Kachela and Roz Waters!

day, it “We loved the e highlights was one of th was so well of our year! It ryone was so organised, eve d lovely, and welcoming an filled with the event was for the fun activities entire family!”

LEAF Online Farm Sunday! LEAF Online Farm Sunday took to the screens once again in March and September, seeing over a quarter of a million people connecting with farming and learning about food production and climate change through virtual farm visits.

Spring: 28th March 2021 Farming ministers from each corner of Britain welcomed visitors on-line, highlighting the importance of LOFS in showcasing all that farmers do, from producing food to tackling climate change. The public got a glimpse into a range of different springtime farming activities, including a farm vet discussing dairy herd health and even a live lambing! You can watch these short clips below, and can find the rest of the day’s highlights here. Farmers Weekly’s ‘Britain’s Fittest Farmers’ also got involved with help from Stella, the Arla Dairy cow in West Sussex! We asked the public to guess who does the most steps in one week in the run up to LEAF Online Farm Sunday, Britain’s fittest farmers, James and Emma, or Stella the cow?! Congratulations to Penny, and her son Otto, who guessed that James walked the furthest and won a super hamper of Arla goodies.

Autumn: 26th September 2021 Climate change was the theme for Autumn LEAF Online Farm Sunday, highlighting what our farmers are doing to farm sustainably, working towards the all-important net zero goal. Some wonderful farmers talked us through a range of measures they are actioning on farm, including some small changes that are making a big difference: ensuring cattle eat the right feed to be as productive as possible, whilst not wasting excess food; questions on soya and how this can be a sustainable food source; Integrated Pest Management and the importance of biodiversity on farms; and a thorough introduction to soil and water use. The event culminated in a live discussion between three LEAF Demonstration Farmers about the changes they are making to become more climate positive. With all three farmers running very different farm enterprises, their stories and renditions of ‘liquid gold’ provided an interactive and fun addition to the chat which was broadcast live on the LOFS Facebook channel.

Virtual farm tours Our monthly virtual farm tours highlighted new and exciting aspects of farming - wild birds at the Allerton project in Leicestershire, live lambing in Scotland, grazing in Wales and how LEAF Marque flowers are grown in time for Mother’s Day!

Our virtual farm tours reached

282,735 people!

Lasting Positive Impact Our follow-up visitor survey conducted four months on in October, shows that visiting an LOFS event has a lasting positive impact:

92% reported the visit had positively changed the way they think about farming 95% said that they now appreciate more the work farmers do

89% feel more connected with farmers 89% have a better understanding of what ‘sustainably produced food’ means 81% are more motivated to check the country of origin of the food they buy 76% now actively look out for and select British food where they can The range of comments shows how LOFS affects so many different parts of visitors’ lives – changing perceptions, becoming more conscious consumers, opening new conversations, encouraging people to live more sustainable lifestyles and to spend more time outdoors enjoying all the health and wellbeing benefits of being in the countryside.

nalism “The professio of our farmers e the full amazing to se rming scope of the fa the business and ertaken great job und od to to bring our fo market.”

“Interactive, interesting

and lots to learn.”


f riend ly, know ledge able and d edica ted were all of the workf orce.”

t way “Grea ning of ope ns rsatio conve kids.” e h t h wit

TOPICS OF INTEREST FOR 2022 All respondents said that they would visit a farm again. Here are the top 5 topics which they would like to find out more about next year on LEAF Open Farm Sunday 12th June 2022:

89% wildlife and biodiversity 78% farming to enhance the environment 70% science behind farming 70% how crops are grown and used 68% animal welfare

Take part in the farming industry’s annual open day. Build community relations and help the public to understand and value the food they eat and the work farmers do. Join us next year on Sunday 12th June 2022! For more information and to register an event:


Join in the conversation online: @OpenFarmSunday @LEAFOpenFarmSunday

Contact us: lofs@leaf.eco LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG +44 (0)247 6413 911

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