The Helmsley Experience takes visitors behind the scenes as part of virtual Open Farm Sunday and British Food Fortnight - a two day festival of food, farm shops and farming

Food and biodiversity will be at the heart of LEAF Open Farm Sunday’s (LOFS) first two-day virtual event next weekend.

LEAF Open Farm Sunday is holding two day virtual event in partnership with British Food Fortnight and Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight.

Following the success of the online event held on June 7 – the day farmers across the country would normally open their farm gates to visitors – next Saturday and Sunday sees Open Farm Sunday teaming up with British Food Fortnight and Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight, also held in September, for a two-day showcase of food and farming.

LEAF Open Farm Sunday manager, Annabel Shackleton, said they were all very excited about the event, which would feature cookery demonstrations for the first time.

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“We had a hugely positive response to our online event in June with 80,000 views on the day and thousands in the weeks after. What we want to do next weekend is build on that link between farm to fork.”

Saturday will see recipe demonstrations and foodie chat from the likes of Richard Sim at The Potted Lobster in Bamburgh and John Renner at his farm in Northumberland, while Sunday is given over to virtual farm tours across the country.

Tim Durham from the Wensley-dale Experience in Swinithwaite, North Yorkshire, is one of the ten farmers taking part. He said Open Farm Sunday was a “fantastic” event which his farm had been involved with for the past three years.

Mr Durham, who runs farm tours and experiences at the farm, said he would be introducing his virtual visitors to their pigs. “I want to show the high welfare and outdoor spaces our pigs have, as well as lots of love.

“I think it is important to educate people and on previous Open Farm Sundays my partner, who is a scientist, has set up microscopes to look at plant cells and talked about genetically modified crops.”

Also taking part will be Rawcliffe Bridge Farm, near Goole, which will feature in a focus on wildlife and biodiversity.

Ms Shackleton said one of the great things about the virtual events, which they intend to incorporate into next year’s events, is it gives visitors a chance to see farms from all around the country.

“The online experience of Open Farm Sunday, is hugely educational, visitors can see the different terrain and land management in different parts of the country.”

This month’s event will also be going international with farms in Ghana and Spain taking part.

“Our specific focus this year is wildlife and biodiversity, which reflects what is happening in British agriculture,” Ms Shackleton. “We would love it if farmers across Yorkshire took part sharing pictures on social media showing the work they do to look after our countryside.”

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James Mitchinson