Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Farmers swing open their gates to the public

The opportunity to experience at first-hand what life is like on a real working farm is within reach for all of us on 12 June. Each year British farms open their gates as they take part in the event organised by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) and this year over 450 farms across the country are involved.

I see an event like this to be so educationally valuable in a time where many children seem to have no idea where their food comes from. The understanding of  our food's origins and how it finally gets to our plates is very important if British farming is to thrive.

Open Farm Sunday Facts
  • LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday is the only day in the year when farmers across the whole of the UK unite to open their farms to the public.
  • Hertfordshire LEAF Demonstration farmer, Ian Pigott took the idea from a similar event held in Denmark to LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) and together they made the first event happen in 2006.
  • The public think farmers are more important to their everyday lives than teachers, politicians or bank managers. When asked to rank a list of professions and trades, the public ranked farmers fourth, just behind doctors and nurses, firefighters and police officers.
  • 29% adults say that they have never been on a working farm and only 31% have visited one in the past 4 years.
  • 20% children in England have never visited the countryside and 27% 8-9 year olds have never come close to touching farm animals.
  • A survey conducted as part of LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday 2007 showed that 35 per cent did not know that porridge comes from a British farm, 23 per cent of people did not realise that bread originates from a farm and 22 per cent did not believe that sausages and bacon originate there.
  • The knowledge was even lower with younger adults, with 29 per cent of 16-24 year olds failing to recognise that bread originates on a farm, 34 per cent that sausages and bacon come from a farm and a massive 47 per cent did not know farmers are responsible for producing porridge.
Not only is the day educational but it is most of all fun with lots to see and do from tractor and trailer rides, to farm walks and nature trails, and even discovering how worms are a farmer’s best friend. You might have the chance to see sheep being sheared, cows being milked or chicks hatching! You might also get the chance to build a bug-hotel, go pond-dipping or see pig racing. Every farm is different and many offer good food to eat and buy as well as live music.

So get out into the countryside, reconnect with nature, learn and have fun.
I know where I will be!

For information and to find a farm open near you visit: www.farmsunday.org
To keep up to date and share your farm experiences follow: twitter.com/openfarmsunday


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