A former national convener of the Guild and a minister who has been instrumental in the recent initiative to appoint a farming minister within the Church of Scotland have spoken out to encourage churches and church members to re- connect with farmers in their local areas.
On Open Farm Sunday (5th June) farmers across Britain are encouraged to open their gates to tell their food and farming stories. By allowing the general public the opportunity to hear first-hand from those who rear, grow or produce the food and drink that we enjoy we hope to provide a better understanding of the importance behind supporting your local farmer.
Rev John Paterson, minister at Lugar, linked with Old Cumnock Church in Ayrshire, said: “Farmers, vets, suppliers, employees, estate workers and the like are in difficult times. The church needs to reach out to all in the farming community and associated workers and professionals, and to reaffirm the Christian belief in the infinite value of each person and the equality of all before God. The farming community has been and continues to be central to the rural community in which it exists.
Mrs Helen- May Bayne, former National Convener of the Guild, who along with her husband Sandy farms in Perthshire, said, “Initiatives such as Open Farm Sunday provide an invaluable opportunity for those who have little contact with farming to get an insight into what makes the farming community tick- and also to understand where our food comes from. In our report to the General Assembly on sustainable agriculture, we sought to emphasise the fact that food is a gift from God, for which we should all be thankful. (see www.srtp.org.uk/assets/uploads/267_WEB.pdf)
Rebecca Dawes, Open Farm Sunday Scotland Co-Ordinator, said: “In 2015 Scotland saw 24 farms get involved at all levels and from all different backgrounds. There was the dairy farm that offered a small, exclusive visit for the local church congregation allowing the host farmer to determine the size and time of the event. There was the fruit and vegetable farm that opened for just a few hours welcoming anyone that wanted to come along for a farm walk. An environmentally-led farm carried out woodland trails to allow families to see how many species of insects and birds they could find. And a mixed livestock farm ran a full open day offering tractor and trailer rides, refreshments, talks and activities for several hundred visitors.
“Open Farm Sunday is continuing to grow in Scotland, but we need those who are at the heart of agriculture to get involved so we can keep telling our farming stories.
For further information, and to find a farm near you which will be open on June 5th, please see www.farmsunday.org