This year's LEAF Open Farm Sunday is looking a little different this year.

A double bill of virtual food and farming is planned over the weekend of September 19-20 to be enjoyed from the comfort of home.

There are live, interactive tours of farms planned, with one from Sophie Gregory, a dairy farmer from Dorset.

It builds on the success of the first virtual Online Farm Sunday held in June to mark the original date of farming’s annual open day and which attracted thousands of viewers.

Farmers can take part through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #LOFS20. The focus on the Saturday is nutritious food, seasonal recipes and cookery demonstrations.

On the Sunday farmers across Britain are invited to virtually open their farm gates and show the public how their food is produced and the amazing work they are doing to protect and enhance the wildlife and biodiversity on their farms.

Farmers are encouraged to go live on Facebook, send in videos and share photographs about their wildlife and biodiversity highlights. 

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Annabel Shackleton, LEAF Open Farm Sunday manager, said: “At the very heart of LEAF Open Farm Sunday is telling the real stories of farming and this is the perfect opportunity for farmers across the country to get involved and collectively make a huge positive impact on the British public.

“It is not the event we had originally planned for 2020, but in fact both of our virtual events – in June and in September - provide an amazing opportunity to involve more farmers from all corners of the country.

"These could be farmers who may not have been able to host a LEAF Open Farm Sunday event for whatever reason before, but who can dip their toe in this year with as little as one photo or a self-made video on their social channels.

"What we want to show is a really rich and diverse kaleidoscope of farming stories from the people who can tell them best.”

The recent pandemic has highlighted to the nation the value of food as well as fresh air and countryside.

Northumberland mixed farmer, John Renner, and long-term LEAF Open Farm Sunday host farmer explained:

“We have always welcomed around a 100 people when we have opened our gates for LEAF Open Farm Sunday, which is a great number to keep it personal.

"That said, having taken part in the June virtual event, we reached over ten thousand, which was incredibly rewarding and great to know so many people engaged with our farm story."

For farmers considering getting involved, LEAF's Speak Out Toolkit is packed with easy-to-use guidance and resources, providing step by step support for virtual communications.

Some top tips for self-filming highlighted in a recent LOFS host farmer meeting include:

• Go live if you are confident! 82 per cent of viewers would rather watch a live video. If this isn’t an option, ‘on the day’ relatability is also popular. Take a photo or video that morning and post it the same day.

• When filming, keep things fun and light-hearted where you can

• Make sure you have a good backdrop – cow? combine? woods?

• If you have a particular message you want to get across – say things three times in three different ways to help the audience absorb it

• Authenticity is key – do not edit videos too much – the public like the raw material

• Use visual content – be prepared with props

• Always film with your phone in landscape (not portrait)

• Use #LOFS20, tag @OpenFarmSunday and have fun!