Festival sees the public flock to farms

Since 2012, the Bank of Ireland Open Farm weekend has been an annual family event which has aimed to educate and educate consumers about food and farming.

As a food and drink event, it is unique in that it allows the public onto a variety of farms for free.

The event is delivered by the Ulster Farmer’s Union, sponsored by Bank of Ireland UK, and supported by The Prince’s Countryside Fund, NFU Mutual, Asda and Tesco.

It has become firmly established as the farming industry’s annual open day and is one of the industry’s biggest success stories.

Primarily, the event aims to help the public, particularly those from a non-farming background, to better understand how our food is produced and to raise awareness of the importance of the local supply chain.

The initiative aims to reconnect the public with the countryside and the farming community responsible for producing the food we all enjoy.

In 2012, 12 farms attracted around 5,000 visitors. Since then, the event has exceeded the UFU and sponsors’ expectations. In 2016, 23 farms welcomed around 15,000 visitors. To date, over 75,000 people have visited a variety of farms across NI. Each farm event is unique and is organised primarily by a host farmer. Visitors have a free pass to see the exact processes involved, and the care and dedication that goes into food production, while hopefully also gaining an understanding of how important farming is for the local economy.