Members of the public are encouraged to experience their local farm virtually in one of the biggest free awareness initiatives of its kind in Northern Ireland.
Almost thirty farms from across the province are participating virtually in this year’s Bank of Ireland Virtual Farm Weekend on Friday 30 July-Sunday 1 August and due to Covid restrictions all activities will be shown online through social media channels.
Led by the Ulster Farmers’ Union and with the support of Bank of Ireland UK, Asda, Moy Park, NFU Mutual, and the Livestock and Meat Commission, the initiative is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a packed schedule of virtual activities to capture the imagination of families and foodies by giving a behind the scenes snapshot of the local farm to fork story.
This is the second year the Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend has been delivered in a virtual format. The physical event usually attracts upwards of 16,000 visitors from rural and urban towns and cities, but the new format is attracting a different type of audience.
David Brown, Ulster Farmers’ Union Deputy President, said, “Last year’s Bank of Ireland Virtual Farm Weekend was a runaway success, with the activities over the weekend and the build-up having an online reach of around 250,000. We had viewers engage with us from across the island of Ireland and far beyond these shores, highlighting our belief that Northern Ireland has a global reputation for high quality food production.
“The Covid experience has reinforced the importance of the local food chain and buying produce reared and grown in Northern Ireland is vital for the long-term success of the industry. Highlighting this is a core objective of Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend and why we re-invented our initiative into a virtual format to continue to showcase the work of our local farm producers.
“I would encourage the public to follow our social media to get a flavour of the range of farms we have in Northern Ireland and hear the real life stories behind them. Hopefully next year they will be able to visit the farm they have seen online and experience their hospitality in person.”
Bank of Ireland has been closely associated with Open Farm Weekend for many years and has renewed its title sponsorship for 2021.
Richard Primrose, Bank of Ireland UK Agri-Business Manager, said “The last year in particular has shown how vital this industry is to communities within Northern Ireland and as a Bank we are proud to be showing our continued support. We believe the reason the Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend has thrived over the past 10 years is because it captures the true spirit and ethos behind the local farming industry and how committed farm families are to showcasing the quality of food produced in Northern Ireland. We are looking forward to this year’s virtual event and building on last year’s success.”
All details on how to watch Bank of Ireland Virtual Farm Weekend can be found at www.openfarmweekend.com
(Pictured Callum & Carys Logan from Hillstown Farm & Farm Shop)