Shropshire Star

Shropshire Farming Talk: All set for Future Fest

A couple of weekends back, farms across Shropshire opened their doors for a very special occasion.

Ian Rowley

The LEAF Open Farm Sunday has grown to be a hugely valuable event, and as an institution which works very closely with LEAF, it is one we support wholeheartedly.

So when we weren’t able to open our own farm on June 9, we spoke to LEAF and asked if they do us a massive favour – and allow our Open Farm day to become part of Future Fest, our community engagement festival which takes place this coming weekend on Saturday, June 22.

We were, therefore, delighted when they said yes!

As a specialist institution, there are a lot of things at Harper Adams which are truly fascinating – and which we want the world to know more about.

Opening our farm up is definitely one way in which we can do this.

We’ll be letting people see our animals, hear more about the work we do with them and some of the high-tech research which boosts their diets, health and welfare. They can see first hand some of our machinery, technology and the ways in which we use it on our farm – and how the knowledge we generate is shared with farmers, with opinion-formers, with industry, and more.

Not many Universities have a farm on their campus – fewer still one which functions as one where cutting-edge research and high-end teaching is carried out at the same time as it is run a fully commercial operation.

That’s one of the reasons we were so pleased to be able to put the work of our farm front and centre during Future Fest – people will be able to undertake self-guided tours, and there will of course be something for people of all ages – from the youngest visitor, through to those currently considering Universities - as Future Fest coincides with our June Open Day – right through to parents, grandparents, curious neighbours: everyone is welcome.

As well as the Open Farm, we’ve brought a fascinating art installation to campus which has toured the world – and is now in Shropshire. The Pollution Pods have already proved a great hit with the school visitors who we’ve welcomed to our campus to see them over the past week – inspiring songs, poems, creative writing and art.

The pods have been around the globe, and have been seen by diplomats, leading politicians, campaigners such as Greta Thunberg, celebrities and more – and this Saturday, we’re offering people across Shropshire the chance to see them for free.

During the day, there’ll also be a packed stage full of live entertainment, talks and discussions about all kinds of fascinating topics, live cookery demonstrations, lots of activities for the children, a Farmers’ Market and street food of all kinds.

We will be charging for parking – £5 in advance and £10 on the day – but we’re running free shuttle buses from Telford and there’s absolutely no entry fee – so whether you’re interested in finding out more about our farm, there’s a question about Harper you always wanted to ask, or you just fancy a fun day out, we’d be delighted to see you!

Visit for more information and to book your place now!

Ian Rowley is Chief Global Impact Officer at Harper Adams University

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