COLDHAM: Open farm

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The Co-operative, one of Britain’s biggest farmers, will open the gates to its Coldham Estate to the public as part of Open Farm Sunday this weekend (Sunday 9 June).

The Co-operative Farms, which is one of the principal sponsors of the scheme, is helping to showcase British farming by welcoming visitors to six of its farms across the country as part of the national event, organised by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming).

During the day visitors to Coldham will learn about the farm, and what crops are grown there, as well as hear more about its award-winning outdoor learning experience for primary school pupils, called “From Farm to Fork”, and also its Habitat Heroes scheme to protect otters on the estate.

There will also be bee-keeping demonstrations, tractor rides, machinery displays, walking trails across the farm and an exhibition of The Co-operative’s first windfarm, which was set up by the Group in 2005 in conjunction with Scottish Power.

Tom Paybody, The Co-operative’s Farm Manager at Coldham, said: “The Co-operative has a long heritage in agriculture and is proud to support British farming. We are delighted to sponsor and take part in Open Farm Sunday and give the local community a ‘behind the scenes’ look at what we do and showcase our role within the farming industry and as a supplier of quality produce to Co-operative food stores.

“Visitors to Coldham will learn that farming today is much more than just about growing food. It’s about being a sustainable business that cares for the environment, protects local wildlife and raises awareness about food.”

The Co-operative, which has been farming at the Coldham site since 1912, grows onions, potatoes, shallots, sugar beet, beans, wheat and rapeseed, and it also has several beehives for producing honey.

Last year Coldham celebrated its centenary by taking part in Open Farm Sunday, which saw hundreds of people visit the estate and take part in the first ever National Insect Pollinator Survey.

Open Farm Sunday was launched in 2006 and each year has seen hundreds of farmers opening up their gates for visitors to discover what it means to be a farmer and see first hand how food is grown and produced.

Caroline Drummond, LEAF’s Chief Executive, added: “We are delighted to welcome The Co-operative Farms as one of the principal sponsors of Open Farm Sunday, which is the single, most-supported event in the farming calendar that celebrates British farming and the fantastic work our farmers do. I’m sure visitors to these farms will gain a fascinating insight, not just into The Co-operative Farms, but also the agricultural industry as a whole.”

For more information on Open Farm Sunday visit www.farmsunday.org