Online open days are a ‘powerful platform’ for growers to influence the public

Farmers have been urged to grasp the chance to “make a huge positive impact on the public” – by going live across social media this weekend on Online Farm Sunday.

Ivaylo Kostadinov, celery crop manager for G’s Fresh, based at Barway near Ely, will host one of the virtual farm tours on LEAF Online Farm Sunday, September 20. Picture: G's Fresh

The event is the second of two virtual open days being run by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), after the coronavirus lockdown forced the cancellation of its flagship Open Farm Sunday event which usually brings thousands of people onto farms across the country in June.

With those face-to-face gatherings still not possible, farmers are instead being urged to share live videos, film clips and photos to tell their stories across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on September 19 and 20, using the hashtag #LOFS20.

LEAF said the ongoing pandemic has highlighted the value of food and the countryside, with farmers playing a fundamental role in both – so the virtual format creates a “powerful platform” to reach out to more people than ever before, including those who may not have been able to attend an open farm event in the past.

Annabel Shackleton, LEAF Open Farm Sunday manager, said: “This is the perfect opportunity for farmers across the country to get involved and collectively make a huge positive impact on the British public.

“It is not the event we had originally planned for 2020, but in fact both of our virtual events – in June and in September – provide an amazing opportunity to involve more farmers from all corners of the country.

"These could be farmers who may not have been able to host a LEAF Open Farm Sunday event for whatever reason before, but who can dip their toe in this year with as little as one photo or a self-made video on their social channels.

“What we want to show is a really rich and diverse kaleidoscope of farming stories from the people who can tell them best.”

LEAF Open Farm Sunday is teaming up with British Food Fortnight for the two-day event whose themes are food and biodiversity.

The focus on Saturday is nutritious seasonal recipes and cookery demonstrations. And on Sunday, farmers across the country are invited to virtually open their farm gates and show how they produce food while nurturing the wildlife and biodiversity on their land.

Kicking off a schedule of live farm tours on the @LEAFopenfarmsunday Facebook page from 10am on Sunday is G’s Fresh at Hainey Farm near Ely, where celery crop manager Ivaylo Kostadinov will show virtual “visitors” around the major East Anglia salad and vegetable grower. which has been a LEAF Demonstration Farm since 2000.

Source: East Anglian Daily Times