LEAF has announced new plans to support farmers who want to open their gates as part of Open Farm Sunday for the first time.
LEAF carried out research over the summer to understand the barriers and challenges faced by farmers who were considering hosting a LEAF Open Farm Sunday event, and the results have been used to create a new programme of support. This includes a new information pack, full of ideas to give farmers a better understanding of how they can take part in LEAF Open Farm Sunday, what is involved and answer frequently asked questions – before farmers take the decision to register an event.
Annabel Shackleton, LEAF Open Farm Sunday Manager explained, “The research highlighted an opportunity to help more farmers at the start of the decision-making process. 95 per cent of experienced hosts found the Host Farmer Handbook invaluable and 91 per cent valued the free resources. However, amongst the farmers surveyed who had never taken part, over half said they would consider hosting a LEAF Open Farm Sunday event but the majority (63 per cent) were not aware of the range of tools and free resources available from LEAF, so this new pack bridges that information gap.”
The pack has been developed ready for the launch of LEAF Open Farm Sunday 2019 on Wednesday 7 November, after which it can be downloaded from the website. Other support planned over the coming months includes a regional network to provide help and advice to host farmers, access to a ticketing service to help farmers control the number of visitors to their event and access to a communications toolkit to provide all the skills and know-how to engage with visitors.