- 17 Open Farm Sunday UK
Open Farm Sunday provides an opportunity for the public to get a behind-the-scenes look at life on a farm and the nature it sustains
The Event is organized by LEAF and hundreds of farmers take part by inviting the public to visit their farm where there are nature trails, talks, tastings and demonstrations.
Visitors can learn how farmers are encouraging natural plant species to thrive alongside crops and get a close up look at farm animals and wildlife.
Why Farming Matters in the 21st Century Edit
The role of farmers today reflects the changing needs of society in the 21st century. Not only do British farmers grow and produce much of the food we eat, they are also custodians of the land and protectors of wildlife, from insects to birds. Farmers are therefore, essential to the health and wellbeing of the nation.
The industry has responded to growing consumer demands for more home produced food and increased ‘green’ policies aimed at combating climate change, according to LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming).
Cereal yields have tripled over the past 50 years, and the UK is now the largest producer of cereal grains in Europe producing 22.5m tones over 3.5m hectares. The top three cereals grown in the UK are wheat, barley and oats, which are used in the production of staple foods from bread to breakfast cereals and beer. Traditional dairy, beef and poultry farmers are also gaining new ground by reaping the rewards of farm-to-plate sourcing.
The bulk of home produced food goes towards supplying the everyday needs of retailers who are under increasingly greater pressure to reduce the air miles involved in bringing food in to store. Each day, UK farmers supply 31 million pints of fresh milk, 19.5 million eggs and 11.6 million loaves of bread to British homes.
A growing number of consumers are purchasing food from local farmers and growers and taking advantage of the growth of farm shops and markets. Emerging trends for high-welfare, green and regional style foods are benefiting the farming industry and these trends look set to continue.
Research (Inst of Grocery Distribution) suggests that 70 per cent of people in Britain want to be able to buy local or regional foods and this is benefiting farmers who are producing shop ready foods such as meat and poultry. The growth in farms shops is already evidence of this trend and trade is booming. In England and Wales alone, there are 4,000 farm shops, generating a turnover of £2 billion plus farmers markets can now be found in many towns and cities.
As the world continues to turn ‘greener’, UK farmers are cultivating non-food crops that can be used to replace mineral-derived products. Borage or hemp are two such examples which are being used across many industries for lubricants, plastics, pharmaceuticals and packaging.
- Why Farming Matters in the 21st Century, LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday Press Releases, 17/05/07