Many rural organisations and businesses across Scotland are seeing more and more of their members or customers from remote areas interacting with them over video conferencing or social media, where previously they might have struggled to engage due to the distance required to travel for meetings.
While we can never replace face-to-face interactions, this recent time period has shown us that digital platforms are giving people additional means through which to hear stories and learn more about what goes on in rural Scotland, all from the comfort of their own home, their tractor or on their daily walk.
Podcasts are one of the platforms which are becoming increasingly important in the modern world of storytelling, allowing an in-depth look into a range of subjects that many other forms of media cannot do. Globally, podcast listenership is growing 25 per cent year on year and listeners enjoy the flexibility, richness of sound and ease of listening which podcasts afford.
OnFARM (Food, Agriculture and Rural Matters) is The Rural Podcast. Launched in January 2020 by Scene & Herd PR and Marketing, the aim of the podcast is to give rural areas a stronger voice and a new platform from which to share their wonderful and inspiring stories and to allow people from all walks of life to hear more about what goes on in the Scottish countryside.
The podcast showcases rural enterprise, rural community, rural creativity, rural charity, rural history and much more, speaking with individuals, businesses and organisations, telling their story and raising the profile of rural Scotland and the people, ingenuity and businesses which make it so special.
Since its inception, OnFARM has covered topics such as sustainable animal feed, rural hardship and mental health challenges, farming’s contribution towards ameliorating climate change, covered events such as AgriScot and the National Farmers Union Scotland AGM and looked at how co-operation and collaboration are helping rural businesses to grow. In addition, the podcast has featured exclusive interviews with famous rural personalities including rugby legend and MND fundraiser Doddie Weir, farmer and TV comedian Jim Smith and the extremely popular vlogger and author Suzanne Mulholland, aka The Batch Lady.
In May 2020, the OnFARM team was commissioned by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), who run the Royal Highland Show, to produce a series of episodes celebrating the very best of the rural sector, including the work of RHASS and their charity The Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET), as well as highlighting the social and economic impact of the Royal Highland Show and the other smaller shows throughout Scotland, all of which have been cancelled this year.
The series has been painting a portrait of rural Scotland’s resilience in the face of Covid-19 and illustrating the ways in which RHASS and the Royal Highland Show act as the social glue for Scottish rural communities.
This special series of OnFARM allows show-goers to reminisce about some of the things they love most about the Show, as well as revealing insights on the impact and influence RHASS initiatives have had in shaping the sector throughout the generations.
We created OnFARM because we wanted to see more media coverage focusing on all the wonderfully positive, inventive and inspiring things that go on within Scotland’s countryside. The podcast is produced by rural people, about rural people but for everyone – rural or urban.
We simply want to showcase some heartening and enlivening stories that can make us all appreciate the rural areas within our amazing country.
If you have yet to embrace the world of podcasting, please do have a listen to OnFARM – it exists to tell the brilliant stories of rural Scotland (and, in this current series, to showcase elements of the work of RHASS, RHET and the Royal Highland Show).
Free to listen to, you can support the podcast simply by listening and sharing episodes – enabling it to continue to champion rural Scotland and its amazing people and organisations, just like RHASS.
You can listen to all episodes, including those produced in association with RHASS, via www.podfollow.com/onfarm, by searching for OnFARM on Apple podcasts, or at www.on-farm.co.uk
Anna Davies, Director, Scene & Herd Ltd and an OnFARM presenter