POTATO growers were amongst the 100-plus farms who opened their gates last weekend for LEAF Open Farm Sunday 2021,farming’s annual open day.
Defra Farming Minister Victoria Prentis MP joined LEAF Chief Executive, Caroline Drummond, on a tour of Rectory Farm in Oxfordshire which produces LEAF Marque certified potatoes, as well as wheat and asparagus for processing, supplying supermarkets and direct sales to local delis and restaurants.
She said after the tour: said: “British farmers do so much to not only produce the nutritious food we eat, but also to care for the environment. It is vital that people understand more about all that farmers do.”
The event enabled visitors to visit a working farm and see first-hand all that is involved in the sustainable production of food and what farmers do to look after the wider environment.
Given the current Covid regulations, less farms than usual chose to open, with pre-booking a key requirement to limit visitor numbers, but this did not diminish the enthusiasm farmers put in to sharing their farming stories and showcasing British farming. Most farms offered socially-distanced farm walks or guided tours.
Caroline Drummond, said: “It was wonderful to welcome some new farmers into the LEAF Open Farm Sunday family. We also really appreciated the feedback we’ve had from farmers who, for a variety of reasons, chose not to open this June, but sent messages of support. Many of them have indicated that they plan to open again in 2022 and we’re already looking forward to next year.”
“It has never been more important that we continue to raise awareness of all that British farmers deliver in supporting our health and wellbeing, producing nutritious food, managing our beautiful countryside and protecting and enhancing our environment through climate positive, regenerative farming.”
Sponsors included AHDB, Arla Foods, Asda, BASF, Co-op, Farm¬ers Week¬ly, Fron¬tier Agri¬cul¬ture, John Deere, Kellogg’s, LEAF Mar¬que, NFU, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.
Imogen Stanley who led the tour with Minister Prentis, spoke of the importance of communicating with the public: “I’m so keen to help educate children and families about farming and how food is produced. Everyone needs to be eating more freshly cooked produce, and what better way to do that than by giving visitors the experience of picking their own fruit and vegetables, and meeting the farmers who grow crops on a commercial scale. It was a pleasure to meet Minister Prentis, show her round our event and introduce her to the wonderful team of farming friends who have all volunteered to help tell the story of farming to visitors at our Open Farm Sunday event.”
LEAF Open Farm Sunday 2022 will take place on Sunday 12th June.