Thursday, 24 March 2011
Open Farm Sunday Training
Yesterday Suzie and I visited Aston Hall Farm, on the Spetchley Estate, for some up to date training on hosting an Open Farm Sunday event. It seems long ago since we hosted a training event at Overbury and I just wanted to make sure we were not missing a trick or two.
The theme for this years event is 'Discover Life on Britain's Farms' and really opens up our farms for a great day out for all of the family. But how do we get our visitors there? That was the first part of the training. Depending of the size of event we wanted to host, there are lots of tools in the box; from parish magazines and postcards for small local events; through posters, banners and local newspapers for medium events, ending up with a chart topping national event using national media, tv and radio, the choice is ours.
The second aspect of the training, was once the visitors are here, what do we do with them? We looked at activities engaging our main senses, not just sight, but smell, feel, taste and hearing. How many people just stop in our busy lives and listen? The blackbird or the skylark singing proudly as it rises from the field, the sound of a far off child laughing at a new discovery.
We learnt how to make a visit personal, "this is my farm", "this is how we do things here on our farm". Engagement that's the key!
After a great game involving, leaves, roots, fertiliser, pooh and grazing cows, (I will blog about that another day), we went onto a health and safety (fake crime scene), we were the CSI farmers. Different aspects were explored within our scenario and how those risks can be managed. Don't forget farms are dangerous places and we should never underestimate the risks that we all face every day. But there are simple ways to avoid or reduce the risks. Fencing off areas that you don't want people to explore, putting up signs and moving machinery inside and locking it away. We must also remember the hand washing facilities that are required, liquid soap, running water and paper towels.