OFS 2021: Farmers urged to maximise use of outdoor spaces

Visitor numbers for shows and events could still be limited this summer
Visitor numbers for shows and events could still be limited this summer

Farmers interested in this year's LEAF Open Farm Sunday are being encouraged to start thinking how they can host visitors in June given the current restrictions.

The annual initiative will take place on 13 June 2021, along with a year-round virtual programme of public engagement to support the event.

While Covid-19 regulations on public gatherings and events may change in the future, visitor numbers for events could still be limited this summer.

Host farmers are now being encouraged by organisers LEAF to think about how to maximise outdoor spaces.

"It could be a farm walk, a scavenger hunt or a short show-and-tell in the yard," said LEAF Open Farm Sunday (LOFS) manager Annabel Shackleton.

"It may also be an opportunity to collaborate with other food producers to provide a place for people to buy and try new local foods."

In addition to LOFS on-farm events on the 13 June, LEAF will also be hosting a series of virtual farm visits online.

Two ‘online’ farm open days will take place this spring and autumn, alongside a programme of monthly live broadcasts running throughout the year.

“One of the unexpected positives to emerge from the challenges of ‘lockdown’ has been the surge in interest in the countryside, and we have seen a higher following than ever,” said Ms Shackleton.

“This is the perfect moment to capture the public’s curiosity and build our outreach to benefit the whole industry.

"Farmers have some important topical messages to share about quality food production, caring for the countryside, plus the economic and environmental benefits of buying British – and we want to help facilitate these conversations.”

The two LEAF Online Farm Sunday events will take place on Sunday 28 March and Sunday 26 September.

They will each include an afternoon of live virtual farm tours on Facebook, featuring a range of different farms.