For the last three previous years at Hope Farm, we have celebrated LEAF Open Farm Sunday with additions of new and exciting activities every year. On Sunday we were thrilled to open our gates to around 800 visitors from all around the area. Our aim was to help people engage with, be educated about, but mostly enjoy experiencing wildlife friendly farming at the heart of it. I think its safe to say that we succeeded with members of staff, volunteers, and other farmers from the local area all teaming up and giving up their Sundays to create a festival of farming.
Activities were enjoyed from the sheep and wool spinning, to the tractor and trailer rides, pond dipping, bug hunting, wildlife friendly and sustainable farming stands, bird ringing demonstrations, actual hatching chicks(!), farm machinery on display, and excellent food from Steak and Honour and Verrechia’s Ice Creams. We were also thankful for the attendance of the Cambridgeshire Mammal Group who did a fantastic display of what mammals can be found in Cambridgeshire farmland accompanied by mammal traps running throughout the day.
Special thanks go to Martin Lines and his tractor team for supplying the machinery, the bales for seating; to the Cambridge University Natural History Society for helping with the bug hunting, identification, and pond dipping, to Simon and Gemma Dell for a fantastic display of their sheep and what amazing garments you can make with their wool; and the rest of the volunteer team who were amazing across the whole farm, smiling from dawn ‘til dusk to make sure every visitor had a fantastic time.
The best quote of the day remains from a young visitor telling his parents that he had been on “The best adventure ever!”
Meeting members of the public and educating people about sustainable and wildlife friendly farming is a big part of what we do at Hope Farm, but it is quite rare that we can hold such an event as Open Farm Sunday. LEAF helped put together another fantastic nationwide event each year with over 270,000 visitors across the country visiting a farm last Sunday. I am sure that Hope Farm isn’t in isolation in how many people were left inspired for the work that farmers, helping to put good quality food on the table.