LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) has joined leading representatives from across the Scottish farming and food industry to encourage more farmers to engage with consumers by getting involved with Open Farm Sunday.

At a reception, held at Holyrood, Edinburgh, LEAF recognised the positive contribution Scottish farmers have made as part of LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday over the last nine years, in changing public perception and understanding of the farming industry.

The evening featured talks from Alex Fergusson MSP, Caroline Drummond MBE, LEAF Chief Executive, Dr David Roberts, SRUC and LEAF Scotland Chairman, as well as Open Farm Sunday host farmer Michael Clarke of Williamwood Farm, Dumfries.

2015 is Scotland’s Focus Year of Food and Drink and Open Farm Sunday, held this year on Sunday 7th June, will form an important part of the calendar of events. Since 2009, 55,000 visitors have attended Open Farm Sunday events in Scotland with 63 farms taking part to date.

Last year, 20 farms across Scotland, from Dumfries to Orkney, opened for Open Farm Sunday. LEAF is calling on more farmers to take part on 7th June 2015, so that even more Scottish families can experience farming at first hand and discover the story behind their food.

Caroline Drummond, LEAF’s Chief Executive set out LEAF’s 10 year vision for Open Farm Sunday and explained why it is so important for Scotland: “Scottish farmers have so much to offer. Agriculture is not just a major part of Scottish history and tradition, but an important contributor to today’s economy. Our vision for Open Farm Sunday is to create an opportunity for everyone to visit a farm and discover the vital work of Scottish farmers in growing our food and enhancing the countryside, so that consumers fully value farming and the food they eat. We are therefore calling on farmers across Scotland to open and showcase the fantastic work they do – both as food producers and custodians of the countryside.”

LEAF are keen to advise farmers in Scotland that taking part in Open Farm Sunday does not necessarily mean holding a large event.

Registration for Open Farm Sunday and Open Farm School Days is now open at www.farmsunday.org. LEAF provide free support and resources for farmers who register. For more information visit: www.farmsunday.org.