When we wrote our previous blog about Open Farm Sunday (7th June 2015) being a record breaker, little did we know that the original figures were on the conservative side. Instead of the 250,000 people estimated to have attended an Open Farm Sunday event this year, in fact it was 291,000 (over 40,000 more than the original estimate).
Nationally this is a jaw dropping 40% increase in the number of Open Farm Sunday visitors on 2014.
40% of visitors reported that this was their first time visiting a farm and 80% of visitors reported that they had learned something new during their Open Farm Sunday visit. It is great to learn that a large number now claim to have a better understanding of the role farmers play in producing food and caring for the countryside.
Annabel Shackleton, Open Farm Sunday manager at LEAF said: “A 40% increase in visitor numbers is a fantastic achievement. Open Farm Sunday galvanizes the whole farming industry and the huge growth in visitors is testimony to the hard work of the nearly 400 farmers who opened their farms, together with the support of thousands of helpers and all our sponsors. Open Farm Sunday plays a critical role in connecting consumers with farming and food. It provides a unique opportunity for everyone to visit a farm, talk to farmers and see how their food is produced. In essence, Open Farm Sunday helps to build consumer trust in the food they eat as well building greater understanding about the vital job farmers do to produce great food and manage our wonderful countryside sustainably. Plans for Open Farm Sunday 2016 are well underway to ensure this vital campaign continues to grow year on year.”
As well as Open Farm Sunday, over 6,000 children visited a farm in June for Open Farm School Days. Farms opened up for school visits to give children the opportunity to discover for themselves where their food comes from and how it is grown. LEAF are now in the third consecutive year of organising Open Farm School Days and continue to grow and build on the campaign.
Next year’s Open Farm Sunday will take place on the 5th June 2016 with Open Farm School Days running throughout June. For more information visit: www.farmsunday.org or follow @openfarmsunday on Twitter.