Open Farm Sunday, 7th June 2009

LEAF: ‘Linking the Environment and Farming’
LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) was set up in 1991. At that time, the gap between consumers and farmers was getting wider and the need to meet and understand both sides of the debate was essential. For the first time a group of farmers, environmentalists, food and agricultural organisations, consumers, government and academics got together to do something positive for the farming industry.

They were motivated by a common concern for the future of farming and keen to develop a system of farming which was realistic and achievable for the majority of farmers. Based on work in Germany that had been carried out since 1986, LEAF was established to develop and promote Integrated Farm Management.

Open Farm Sunday
Open Farm Sunday is a fantastic opportunity for everyone, young and old to enjoy the living, vibrant countryside. Take time to listen to the birds, soak up the scenery, experience the smells of the farmyard and really get in touch with the land that feeds us. Discover at first hand what it means to be a farmer and taste the produce. So come and feed your senses on Open Farm Sunday.

Each event will be unique with its own activities – based around the host farm’s own individual story. Activities during the day may include a farm walk, nature trail, tractor & trailer rides, pond dipping, activities for kids, mini farmers market or picnics.

Event Life(style) Reviewer

Open Farm Sunday, 2007

With the growing interest in locally produced foodstuffs, do you know how the food on your plate is produced? There was an opportunity to find out at Shotford Hall Farm near Harleston on Sunday 10th June, which opened their farm as part of a national event ‘Open Farm Sunday‘. Hosting such an event for the first time, Tim Lewis, Tenant Farmer, had no idea whether to expect 30 or 300 visitors, and in the event had over 500 coming through the gates. Clearly finding the day enjoyable, many visitors stayed for several hours, with much to see: machinery could be climbed on, animals (calves, cows, sheep, chickens, and a bull) could be seen, egg-production was explained, information about crops grown (wheat, barley, sugar beet, maize, vining peas, oil seed rape and grass) was provided. One highlight of the day was the opportunity to watch the milking in progress. Another was the opportunity to take a tractor ride around the farm, which included information on the crops produced, an insight into conservation and farm management practices, and beautiful views across the Waveney Valley.

After all the excitement of all these activities, there was a chance to sit down, relax, and enjoy some home made food, with a hog roast, cream teas and cakes, local ice cream and smoothies available. Visitors gave much positive feedback, describing it as ‘the perfect free day out for the family’. Tim was keen to stress that the day was not a money-making exercise, and that any profits would be given to charity. The purpose of the day was to demonstrate the links between food and farming, the efforts farmers make to work and care for the countryside, and to give visitors a real insight into farming, rather than the myths and half-truths that surround the industry. The event was staffed not only by friends and family of Lewis Partners, but local farmers and businesses who worked together to ensure that a wider variety of exhibits was available. Businesses to which the farm supplies products, including Dairy Crest, Birds Eye, and Silver Spoon, also provided information packs to demonstrate the steps between farm and plate.