The Northern Ireland agri-food sector is being asked to put some ‘welly’ behind an exciting new initiative taking place in Northern Ireland for the first time this summer. Open Farm Weekend, which will take place between 23rd-24th June, will give the public the opportunity to visit participating farms to learn about the story behind Northern Ireland food and its link to nature.
John Thompson, President of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), which is heading the project, explains, “We are absolutely thrilled to be bringing Open Farm Weekend to life here in Northern Ireland for the first time this year. The whole aim of this family event is to highlight what happens behind the scenes at local farms and the role they play in the food supply chain.
“With provenance and local sourcing becoming more and more important to the consumer, there is definitely a heightened interest in the world of farming. Combined with the strength of the local agricultural sector and its value to the wider economy, there is no better time to put the spotlight onto our farms to let people learn about the hard work of farmers. Open Farm Weekend will give farmers a chance to tell their individual story as well as building relationships with people in their area and developing a real sense of pride among staff.”
A similar project, Open Farm Sunday, has been running across Great Britain for six years, and has proved a huge success with the public.
John continues, “Farmers can make their event as interactive, fun and educational as they wish, from guided tours to petting zoos, kids’ activities to farmers’ markets. Full training and resources will be provided to all participating farmers and we’re keen to involve different types of farms so as to demonstrate the breadth of the agri industry,” John continues.
Open Farm Weekend is being delivered by Ulster Farmers’ Union and is supported by The Prince’s Countryside Fund, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Bank of Ireland and NFU Mutual.
“We would also love to see food businesses coming out to support those farms getting involved, to complete the supply chain and show how producers, manufacturers and indeed retailers work together,” said John.
If you would like to find out more about getting involved in Open Farm Weekend please contact Lindsay Lyttle on 02890 249449. Keep an eye on www.openfarmweekend.com for further information over the coming weeks.