Skip to navigation Skip to content

Open Farm Sunday 2017

Open Farm Sunday is the opportunity to see first hand how farms work.

The James Hutton Institute will be holding Open Farm Sunday on 11 June 2017, Dundee site.

Find us at Directions to the Dundee site.

Open farm Sunday - latest 

The Dundee site at Mylnefield, Invergowrie has just hosted a great Open Farm Sunday. The main events on the day included tractors, combines and other farm machinery (climb up and look inside the cab), tractor and trailer tour round the farm, 'meet the sheep' and the science of sustainable farming and food production. Activities included a range of games for children and information for grown ups.

OFS 2017 at the Hutton has recently had interest from the press and TV. Feature writer Gayle Ritchie from the Courier newspaper previewed the event. The article is available online. And BBC Landward filmed here for a programme that was aired on BBC One Scotland: Friday 9 June at 7:30 pm and Saturday 10 June at 4:00 pm.

Over 1000 people attended on the day despite the variable and usually wet weather. Many thanks to all visitors and for your enthusiasm for our wotk and for your many interesting comments and discussions.


Open Farm Sunday is a community event. Many of our staff and their families help with organising the exhibits and helping on the day. A successful OFS depends on people - here they are.

Entry/reception Car parking - Milan Rachici, Graham Dargie, Vasile Daniliuc and Mihail Marcu. Reception and general duties – Gillian Stirton, Pam Cassidy, Alasdair Cox, Adrian Langarica Fuentes (photography), Emily Beats (setting up), Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo (social media).

Farm/machinery/ tractors. Machinery - David Young, Derek Mathew, Gabriel Campan and Paul Heffell. From Hartwood Farm - John Rattray, Derek Hague, Wilma Rattray, Lauren Hague. Trailer tour - Andrew Christie, Euan Caldwell, Julie Squires, Petra Boevink, Susan McCallum, Adrian Newton.

Potting shed, glasshouses and Met site Jim Wilde, Ronnie Ogg, Ross Coleman, Graham Pitkin, Alison Dobson, Angela Thain.

Science exhibits. AP header and alley: Tim George, Malika Mezeli, Senga Robertson, Amy Learmonth, Graham Begg, Nora Quesada, Alan Begg. Portacabins: Mark Young, Erica Dello Jacovo, Geoff Squire. East garden: Matt Aitkenhead, Nikki Baggaley, Nick Birch, Carolyn Mitchell, Ali Karley, Tom Watson, Jenny Slater, Avril Britten, Hazel Mitchell, Holly Karley-Smith, Gregor Karley-Smith, Drummond Todd, Gill Banks, Lauren Banks. West Garden: CJ Baird, Maddy Giles, Camille Rousset, Gladys Wright, Jackie Thompson, Konrad Neugebauer; and external exhibits from Tina Scopa of DJCAD and Ken Kennedy and friends from Dundee Astronomical Society.

Coordinators: Events, Pamela Cassidy; Farm, Euan Caldwell; Living Field, Gladys Wright. Science, Geoff Squire.


This year we are please to welcome two exhibits and activities from outside the Institute. From Dundee Astronomical Society, Ken Kennedy and friends return to another OFS to demonstrate their sun scopes and talk about the moon, planets, sun and galaxies. Check the dundeeastro web site. And new to OFS at the Hutton is Tina Scopa who is studying at DJCAD in Dundee and will be teaching visitors all about plant pressing - making shapes and images of plants on paper using specimens from the Living Field Garden: see her on Twitter

The Science exhibits cover a range of themes. From rhizosphere to landscape: how plants help to recycle nutrients from soil looks at the way plants find and take up mineral nutrients, use the nutrients for growth and seed production then recycle them back to the soil in different forms. Grow a rainbow is based in the raised beds on the west side of the lIving Field Garden, which have been planted with an assortment of vegetables and herbs that have very different abilities to accumulate minerals from the soil and make vitamins essential for our health. And Grow your own food shows you how to get going yourself with plants like tomato and pea.

Two exhibits show the value of legumes - the plant family that 'fixes' nitrogen from the air into proteins in a plant's roots. Choosing the best (plant) team shows how by planting a legume and a cereal close together make better use of soil resources than planting them on their own. Revealing the role of wild legumes compares wild legumes that grow in the landscape around us with more famliar cultivated ones such as peas and beans.

Three more explore the soil (without which we would not be able to eat) and its interacton with the atmosphere. Big bacterial ball bonanza is a game to help children understand the role of microbes in maintaining a healthy soil. Go down the soil pit at Six feet under and see how soil forms by the interaction between the bedrock, plant organic matter and the weather. And Measuring greenhouse gases looks at the importance of our activities - in this case tilling soil and growing crops - on emissions to the air that influence global warming.

Several exhibits explore the world of pests and the way we can reduce their effect on crops. Creepy Towers! is for chldren, but don't be frightened! 'Creepy' refers to insects and 'towers' to a building that's just right for beneficial bugs to make their home in. You can help make the home better by adding bit and piecs to the 'rooms'. Pest control without the pesticides let's you design your own bug trap that will reduce the amount of pesticide sprayed on crops. 

Then we have two that span the range from DNA to the landscape around us. Jumping genes takes us into the world of plant genetics. Multi-cloured corn on the cob is used to show how some genes move around 'the DNA' between generations, creating diversity which we might use to improve our crops. Then Valuing our landscapes invites you to understand your link to local land use and your effect on what is around us. And finally at Measure the weather shows how the Institutes's Met Site gathers data to help us understand how yield varies with the season and year.

News from Open Farm Sunday HQ

Rebecca Dawes is again Open Farm Sunday Scottish Coordinator. Get in touch with her at  and @rebeccajdawes

LEAF has opened an OFS facebook group for current or potential host farmers to join. ' It is a platform to share ideas, ask questions and gain some tips to help with your event'

OFS Webinars

'On Tuesday 28th February LEAF will be hosting a dedicated Scottish webinar lasting just 20 minutes and can be enjoyed from the comfort of your office/home. We will provide some guidance on how farmers can get involved, new ideas for the day and recommendations from experienced host farmers.' You need to pre-register at

You will hear from: Annabel Shackleton, LEAF Open Farm Sunday Manager, and Emma and Sandy Milne, dairy farmers in Brechin who opened their gates for the first-time last year; Naomi and Ross Bremner, farm Buffalo in Orkney with several events under their belt; Rebecca Dawes, Scottish Coordinator and mixed livestock farm hosting 9 events to date

Check out also the Webinar on 10 March: OFS Bitesize: Making it memorable - activity ideas and resources. 



Learning & Resources

Printed from /learning/leaf/open-farm-sunday-2017 on 07/12/23 10:52:57 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.