Following official announcements on the roadmap out of lockdown in England, the LEAF Open Farm Sunday (LOFS) team has decided to move the date of its flagship event to Sunday, June 27, two weeks after the original date planned.
LOFS manager, Annabel Shackleton, said: “By June 27, restrictions should be lifted for most parts of the country, allowing events to go ahead with minimal risk, giving our farmers and the public confidence to enjoy a safe, informative and fun day out on farm as they always have.”
Anticipating that LEAF Open Farm Sunday will be more popular than ever this year after several months of restricted activity and many country shows cancelled, Ms Shackleton is encouraging as many farmers as possible to open their farm gates in June for socially distanced farm walks and talks.
Host farmers are also being asked to use a booking system this year, whether through the LOFS TryBooking ticketing service, Facebook, or their own, in order to avoid overcrowding. This will help keep staff and visitors COVID-safe, and to inform visitors in case of any changes in plans.
“Big events may not be practical this year, but if the public is surging to the countryside, we’d love to see hundreds of smaller events taking place,” said Ms Shackleton.
“This is an excellent opportunity to share the farming, sustainability and food production story, but also, crucially, how to respect the countryside as we head into the summer holidays, which may see many more people spending time in rural areas for their staycation.”
LOFS is working with farmers to produce a series of films offering support on hosting events, and guidance on complying with COVID-safe measures. More details will follow later this month.
Although the last weekend in June will be the ‘official’ 2021 date, farmers across the UK wishing to host the Sunday before or after will have access to the same LOFS support and resources.