Nine in 10 people think opening farm to public is important

The general public are increasingly more curious and interested in how their food is grown
The general public are increasingly more curious and interested in how their food is grown

Nine out of ten people feel it is more important than ever for British farmers to open their gates to the public, according to a new survey.

Educational group Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF) undertook research to determine how British people feel about visiting the nation’s farms.

The group is behind the annual Open Farm Sunday, a one day industry initiative which seeks to educate members of the public with all things farming.

Its new online survey, conducted last month, revealed 91% of respondents felt it is more important than ever for farmers to open their farms to the public.



It also found 97% of people were more appreciative of the work farmers do (92% in 2018) after attending an Open Farm Sunday event, with 92% reporting they have a better understanding of the term “sustainably produced food.”

The poll attracted 522 responses from both consumers and industry.



A consumer told LEAF's survey: “As a person brought up on a council estate in a city, it wasn’t until I moved away to rural settings did I appreciate our countryside.”

Another person said: “It is very important for day-to-day engagement between farmers and public.”

A farmer added: “From all the thousands of visitors over the last 20 years, the most common comment is an admiration of how complex and scientific agriculture / land management is and how much people appreciate what we do.”

It comes as LEAF prepares for its next Open Farm Sunday event, taking place on 7 June 2020.

This year, over a quarter of a million visitors went out on farm to see for themselves the work British farmers do.

Annabel Shackleton, Open Farm Sunday manager, said: “The general public are increasingly more curious and interested in how their food is grown and what farmers are doing to protect and enhance the countryside.

“By offering them the opportunity to visit a farm, we can dispel myths and provide consumers with the confidence and reasons to buy British produce.”



With registration now open for 2020 Open Farm Sunday, LEAF is calling on more farmers to register to take part.