Host Handbook

Everything you need to host an Open Farms event



Even small events will benefit from having a few volunteers. Additional support will give you flexibility on-the-day for more activities, help manage any risks and give you more time to interact with visitors.

Volunteers are particularly necessary for animal contact areas, car parking support, serving refreshments, welcoming visitors and running stands or activities.

There’s a wider piece to volunteers too, collaborating with others allows them to bring their skills or assets into the program e.g. inviting the local horse-riding club, vet or vintage machinery society will add a whole new element to your Open Farms event.

Research suggests that 2 team members per 50 people (including children) is about right to both manage a group and spend a little time personally greeting and interacting with people. Add a volunteer for any activities that need supervision, like animal contact areas.


Volunteers can be found through:


  • Family, friends and neighbours
  • Local clubs and community groups – young farmers, schools, local boards, conservation groups
  • Your business partners – vets, stock agents, machinery dealers etc
  • Your farming support network – your regional levy-body team, Federated Farmers or local council


Some tips for managing your volunteers include:


  • Book them early
  • Remind them every few weeks ahead of the event (a team-wide email works well)
  • Make sure they understand their jobs. Go through your risk assessment with them and explain the relevant risks and control measures
  • Do a volunteer briefing and walk-around on-the-day before visitors arrive
  • Look after them on the day – check in on them and keep them fed/watered
  • Thank them – a cold beverage at the end of the day always goes down well!