FARMING MATTERS: Step inside the open farmyard

LEAF Open Farm Sunday
LEAF Open Farm Sunday

Farms and farming can appear remote to those without any connection to them.

Just like any profession or way of life really. How many of us know about the jobs our friends and families and neighbours do, in any great detail? Every single job is important in a community, to keep the wheels turning, but we so rarely, if ever, get to see behind the scenes to see how much work goes into clearing our rubbish away, or running a hospital department, or building a car, or being a wedding photographer or writing a newspaper.

For 14 years now, LEAF Open Farm Sunday has helped the general public to take a look behind the farm gate to see what goes on in the fields and buildings where our food is reared and grown.

This year the date is Sunday June 9 and you can find details of all the farms taking part at www.farmsunday.org to find the farm closest to you.

The farms that take part are all unique and vary in size and the events are all different. Some are by invitation only or use a ticketing service, but all the details are online.

Annabel Shackleton, manager of LEAF Open Farm Sunday, said more than 90 per cent of last year’s visitors said it had made them appreciate the work farmers do; 87 per cent reported that it had changed the way they think about farming; and 86 per cent said they felt more connected with the farmers who produce our food.

The open days also offer a range of business benefits to the farmers who take part.

So it is perhaps fitting that this is the subject of my final Farming Matters column, to write about a day that supports and promotes the work of farmers. And I think they are lucky to have such a day dedicated to their industry - I am sure many workers in other professions would like such support.

I have written this column for seven years, but I have also worked on the news team and in the past few years have been responsible for the entertainment pages.

Now I am leaving JPIMedia. Much like farming, for many of us journos our work is a vocation. We spend our lives trying to understand other people’s work and translate it into a form that everyone can understand. I hope I have helped you to better understand farming and I thank you for all the emails over the years.