The search is on to find farms willing to open their gates to participate in Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend (BOIOFW) which will take place on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June 2016.
The event, in its fifth year, will coincide with the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink which is being co-ordinated by Tourism NI, supported by Food NI.
The Ulster Farmers’ Union led initiative, principally supported by the Bank of Ireland, has been running since 2012 and has attracted almost 60,000 people throughout that time. It has also made important strides in helping promote food education through a dedicated schools programme where farms can open exclusively to local schools on Friday, June 17, 2016.
BOIOFW steering group member and UFU Rural Affairs Chair Freda Magill said: “With 2016 designated as the Year of Food and Drink in Northern Ireland, we are looking for farmers to volunteer and help to tell their part of the food chain story to a wide captive audience. This is an exciting time for industry to really showcase our excellent produce and be part of this important celebration. From the small artisan outlets right up to the large scale producers, we want to hear from you if you would be interested in hosting this summer.”
BOIOFW is a unique opportunity to let the public explore the story behind local food and its link to nature. The whole aim of this family weekend is to highlight what happens behind the scenes at local farms and the important role they play in the food supply chain.
Feedback from visitors from previous events has been very positive and they have left farms with a greater understanding of local food production, modern farming methods and the challenges facing industry.
“In 2015, 21 farms opened their gates to the public and we would like a similar number to participate in 2016. We have quite a few farms already interested in taking part this year but there is always room for a few more, particularly in the west of the province,” said Freda.
There is a full programme of training and support in place for the 2016 initiative and project managers are on hand throughout the year to offer advice and guidance to participating farmers. To register your interest email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 028 9037 0222.
For more information follow on Twitter @BOIopenfarm and like Open Farm Weekend on Facebook.