Call for open doors day to show re­al­ity of coun­try life

The Scotsman - - WEATHER | FARMING - By AN­DREW ARBUCKLE an­[email protected] an­drewar­buckle. org

With tra­di­tional farm­ing un­der fire from ev­ery­one from en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists to ve­gans, farm­ers have been urged to open their busi­nesses so that the gen­eral pub­lic can see how life re­ally is down on the farm.

LEAF or to give it its full ti­tle, Link­ing En­vi­ron­ment And Farm­ing was set up to bridge the gap be­tween farm­ing life and town dwellers and this week, it ap­pealed to farm­ers to open their gates on the 9 June to give the pub­lic a first- hand in­sight into farm­ing.

“We are call­ing on more farm­ers across Eng­land, Scot­land and Wales, of ev­ery size and ev­ery sec­tor, to fill the gaps across the coun­try, open their farm and to share their story,” said LEAF Open Farm Sun­day Man­ager, Annabel Shack­le­ton.

“We need more f arms to re­spond to the pub­lic’s com­pelling ap­petite to visit a farm and learn more about where their food comes from and how it is pro­duced. It’s the per­fect time for farm­ers to strengthen the con­nec­tion with their cus­tomers when the in­dus­try is be­ing chal­lenged by pol­icy changes, di­etary trends and, po­ten­tially, of cheap for­eign im­ports.”

Of the 362 farms that hosted a LEAF Open Farm Sun­day event last year, one quar­ter did so for the first time.

The farms in­volved en­com­passed all types of farm en­ter­prise- arable, live­stock and dairy through to hor­ti­cul­ture.

So far more than 20 farm­ers in Scot­land have signed up to take part in this year’s ini­tia­tive but LEAF are keen to in­spire many more to take part.

Shack­el­ton added, that even at this late stage some four weeks ahead of the Open Day there was still time to or­gan­ise a small event such as a farm walk for a few peo­ple.

Dis­pelling the no­tion that host farms have to be multi en­ter­prise units, she said that it was up to the host farmer what was on of­fer.

“You de­cide what size of event to run, what vis­i­tors see, for how long and can man­age vis­i­tor num­bers through our free online tick­et­ing ser­vice. Ev­ery event mat­ters and ever y con­ver­sa­tion helps bridge that gap be­tween pro­duc­ers and con­sumers.”

Any farmer or crofter who host san event can ac­cess a range of free re­sources in­clud­ing fly­ers, post­cards, gate ban­ners, ar­rows and in­for­ma­tion posters to help pro­mote their event once they reg­is­ter on the LEAF Open Farm Sun­day web­site.

0 Farm­ers have been asked to open their gates on 9 June

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