Blogger: Kate Blincoe - Communications Manager
Slugs keep eating my sunflowers, weeds grow as fast as I can pull them, and watering my thirsty sweet peas keeps emptying my water butt. After an hour or two of gardening, it is definitely time for a sit down and a glass of wine.
Making my handkerchief-sized patch into a pleasant place for my family and a haven for wildlife can be a labour of love at times. Blending the needs of people with those of nature is always a balancing act. Of course, it is all worth it when the bees buzz happily round, the children whiz down the slide and the baby starlings squawk happily in the birdbath.
As I sit back with my glass of Merlot, the light starting to fade, I can often still hear the nearby hum of a tractor working into the evening. Looking after my tiny garden is put into perspective by the scale of work carried out by our nation’s farmers, putting food on our plates and acting as custodians of our countryside.
Thanks to agri-environment schemes, food production is increasingly carried out alongside farming for wildlife. This leads to benefits for farmland birds and the patchwork landscape which we all celebrate as truly British. Nevertheless, the hard, ongoing work farmers do to maintain our countryside is often overlooked as we rush by in our cars. Even in a rural county like Norfolk, we have become increasingly cut off from our farming heritage. Many young children don’t know that beef comes from cows or lamb really is those fluffy leaping creatures we coo at in springtime.
Open Farm Sunday on 17 June aims to celebrate all things farming and give us the opportunity to get out into the countryside and discover the living, vibrant landscape on our doorsteps. You’ll get a chance to listen to the birds, soak up the scenery and experience the sights, sounds (and smells!) of a real farmyard.
Each event is unique with its own activities, all based around the farm’s own individual story. Activities during the day may include a nature trail, tractor and trailer rides, pond dipping, a mini farmers market or picnics. For more info and to find a farm near you look at www.farmsunday.org.
Farmers are our heroes and we want to celebrate their work for wildlife. We’ve joined forces with The Telegraph, Plantlife and Butterfly Conservation for the 2012 Nature of Farming Awards, to look for the top farms for wildlife across the UK. We’re looking forward to sharing the regional shortlist with you and raising a glass to our local farmers.