Here’s a guest post from Revd Janet Nicholls, Rural Adviser and Agricultural Chaplain, Diocese of Chelmsford.
The fields in the rural areas of our diocese are full of life, vibrancy and potential. After a long harsh winter, crops have fizzed into growth with the warmth of late spring. But can you recognise what’s growing? Do you look at the fields of green and secretly ask yourself if it’s wheat, barley, rye, linseed or millet or even, what on earth is that?!
Would you love to know more about the crops that are growing around you; the crops that provide your food; the crops that we offer to God in praise and thanksgiving at Harvest Festival?
If so, why not take advantage of the national Open Farm Sunday initiative? On Sunday 10th June, many farmers open their gates to visitors to provide first-hand experience of agricultural activity. In some areas, farmers join together to offer visitors a wide range of activities with crops, livestock and machinery across adjacent farms. These Open Farm Sunday events are usually free of charge and fun for all ages. Many offer you the opportunity to see the crops first-hand from the vantage point of tractor and trailer, with descriptions and explanations as you tour the farm-land.
Information, including directions to your local Open Farm Sunday event, can be found at www.farmsunday.org
If you have the opportunity to visit a farm this Sunday, you may find yourself in awe of the commitment that farmers show to providing us with high quality food. Many farmers dedicate their lives to this, working very long hours well beyond usual retirement age. But some do retire and sometimes find retirement a challenging and lonely time.
A new initiative has recently opened to support retired farmers. The Farmers’ Café is held every Friday morning, 10.00- 12.00 at Cammas Hall Farm, Needham Green, Hatfield Broad Oak, CM22 7JT. All are welcome to meet with farming friends over a cup of coffee.