WEST Dorset farmers are being urged to open their farms to give the public a first-hand insight into where their food comes from.

Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) is encouraging farmers to host an Open Farm Sunday event on June 9.

The number of farmers already committed to the event is up 10 per cent on this time last year, with 300 farms currently taking part, which include Washingpool Farm and Symondsbury Estate.

Annabel Shackleton, LEAF Open Farm Sunday manager, said: “We are calling on more farmers of every size and sector to open their farm and share their story.

“We need more farms to respond to the public’s compelling appetite to visit a farm and learn more about where their food comes from and how it is produced.

“It’s the perfect time for farmers to strengthen the connection with their customers when the industry is being challenged by policy changes, dietary trends and cheap imports.

“Even at this stage there is still time to organise a small event such as a farm walk for a few people. This can be out in the fields where you can keep preparation to a minimum - a great starting point if you’re hosting for the first time.

“You decide what size of event to run, what visitors see, for how long and can manage visitor numbers through our free online ticketing service.

“Every event matters and every conversation helps bridge that gap between producers and consumers.”

Farmers interested in opening for LEAF Open Farm Sunday on June 9 can find out more and register at www.farmsunday.org.

Once registered, farmers receive a handbook and free resources.