Register your event from 1st December 2014 - Registration for next year's Open Farm Sunday will go live on 1st December 2014. Please ensure you have registered your event and check that your details are correct on the Open Farm Sunday website - search for your event here to check your listing on this website.
Health and Safety - Health and Safety is important but it should not overshadow your day. The key is to assess the risks and plan around them. We’ve compiled some of the key information and golden rules for you. Read more
Signs - Let the characters from Shaun the Sheep help your visitors find their way around your farm and encourage them to keep their hands clean. We've got lots of signs for you to download and print out - take a look in the download library here.
Photo consent - If you plan to take photographs or video of visitors for any marketing or promotional activity (such as websites, Facebook, sending to your local media, leaflets, etc) you should get consent from visitors. We have produced some materials to help.
- Photo/Video Consent A3 poster – Put copies of the poster up at the entrance to your event (eg. in the car park, as they walk through the gate onto your farm) and draw visitors’ attention to them. It will then be a ‘condition of entry’ that visitors are agreeing to let you take photos/video of them unless they request not to be included.
Download: Word document or pdf
- Consent form: Multiple Signatures (A4 double sided) – You could ask visitors to sign this as they enter your farm, as they get on the tractor trailer ride or if you take a specfic group photograph, etc.
Download: Word document or pdf
- Consent form: Single Signature (A4 single sided) – For consent to take photographs or footage of individual visitors to your farm.
Download: Word document or pdf
Open Farm Sunday handbook - The handbook has lots of useful information to help you organise a successful Open Farm Sunday visit and covers everything from promoting your event to collecting feedback! You should receive a copy with the free resources you order. If you would like a copy please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 024 7641 3911.
Be prepared - Plan your route by taking account of interests and needs of your visitors, time available, distance, weather. Walk the route. Check all is well. Time it. Set up displays with posters and props of interest for early arrivers. Have ‘give-aways’ ready – farm facts, leaflets, stickers, products to look for and where to buy. Put signs up at the entrance, for parking, toilets etc. If you operate a number of guided tours or trailer rides, do put a sign up saying where the activities will start from and when... good communication with visitors helps them find their way.
Make it memorable – Using props and hands on activities really helps visitors' to remember their day. One idea is creating a 'mini-field' - a one square metre, made from plastic pipe, gives a focus for the 'farm to food' story you tell. Download an information sheet on this activity plus some great statistics on gowing a meter square of a range of crops. LEAF also have produced a booklet with step by step instructions for 12 other activities to help make farm walks and talks memorable, fun and interactive. To download a copy click here.
Wet weather plan - Have a Plan B for bad weather. Inevitably rain especially, or cold, will mean that fewer people will come and you will almost certainly need less parking, less help and fewer refreshments. However you can lessen the impact of bad weather by stressing towards the end of your publicity material that (assuming this is the case) there is still plenty to see and do indoors, that attractions will be moved to the barn etc. Suggest people come in boots, stout shoes or wellies and bring a jacket if the weather is poor. Then check the five day forecast for your area on June 1st / 2nd and keep checking it. Hopefully this will be for the weather to be fine and dry. If not - you should put a bit more time into developing Plan B. Think about things like whether parking cars on grass will be a challenge in a downpour, letting local radio know the open day is still going ahead based in the barn or grain store.Was it worth it - ask your visitors for feedback both in terms of your own performance but also what they learnt and most enjoyed. Remember to order visitor feedback forms in your resource pack when you register.
Make the link - Help people make the link between your farm and their fridges. Always start off from plate to plough, rather than plough to plate, in other words start by making your story relevant to your audiences lives, rather than starting off by talking about farming. If you process your own food, great, have it out on display. If not, go and buy some that could have been produced on your farm to help visitors make the link between your farm and their fridges. Why not organise a mini farmers market with produce visitors can taste and buy. You could even invite everyone to bring their own picnic and award a prize for the picnic that tells the best story about food and farming in the area!
Keep it personal - Make your event memorable by making it personal to you and your farm. Your visitors are far more likely to remember stories about you, your family, your animals, why you love farming, why you wanted to become a farmer. They are less likely to remember how many acres you farm, number of cows, crops and specific stewardship options.
Event size and publicity - There is a range of different ways you can publicise your event to get the numbers you would like. Whether you’re wanting a small scale event for a select few people, an event for the masses, or somewhere in between, we’ve got some useful information showing you how you can get the numbers you want. Read more
Involve others - To spread the workload and demonstrate the breadth of knowledge, skills and expertise in farming - team up with your farming neighbours, agronomist, vet, conservation advisor and sponsors. You could ask them to help publicise the event, or invite them to say a few words on the farm tour to give you some breathing space! You could also involve other local people and groups in the community to get involved such as the Young Farmers, the Scouts etc.
Money matters – We don’t envisage an entry fee for Open Farm Sunday events. However, if you do incur costs, or have a cause that is close to your heart such as a local charity, or would like to help raise valuable funds for LEAF to organise Open Farm Sunday, then your event would be a great opportunity for you to either ask for donations, or charge for specific activities such as tractor and trailer rides. If you plan to charge an entry fee, do make sure you make that clear on your website entry and on your publicity material.
Being positive, prepared and jargon free - If you get a tricky question, do not try and answer on behalf of the industry, but keep it personal to your farm which is far more positive. For example, if somebody asks why they can not walk everywhere with their dog, explain “Well on our farm we have footpaths and permitted rights on way and we welcome responsible dog walkers”. Or, if somebody asks why farmers spray all their crops, explain “Well on our farm, we only use sprays as a last resort, we use many natural techniques to avoid this very expensive job, such as a crop rotation to avoid the build up of pests and diseases, crop varieties with a good resistance to pests and disease and we have beetle banks to encourage beneficial insects that will go into the crops and eat bugs like aphids, then we have an agronomist, or crop doctor, who monitors our crops and if their health is in danger, as a last resort we will consider spraying them”.
Photos - and finally … don’t forget to take lots of photos of your event and send them to Justine Hards at LEAF (email@example.com) If you have a digital camera please make sure the resolution setting is high! And if the pictures on the day include children, remember to ask the parents if they are alright with the photos being used for publicity purposes.
And afterwards - Make a note of what went right and wrong – and do even better next time!
REMEMBER - Be positive, keep it simple and make it a fun day for everyone to remember!