Open Farm Sunday
LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) is the leading organisation promoting sustainable agriculture, food and farming. Open Farm Sunday is their annual initiative encouraging farmers throughout the country to throw their gates open to the general public for one Sunday in June. It is incredibly popular, with around a quarter of a million people visiting each year.
We were tasked with designing and developing a brand new website for the event - complete with various sections of content, farmer and event registration, and the ability for the general public to search for events close to their location.
After selecting a suitable content management system (CMS) platform, one of the requirements of the website was that it needed to be able to ‘talk’ to LEAF’s existing database of registered members, as well as handle new registrations and other operations.
This was achieved through the creation of a custom module for the CMS that connected to an application programming interface (API). This means that all account functionality (registering, logging in, changing password etc.) is fully synchronised between the two systems.
As well as enabling farmers to register their event, the site also required a customised e-commerce section, allowing farmers to order resources to help promote their participation. We selected a sophisticated bolt-on shopping cart service that not only handled the intricacies of the various complex price breaks required, but also seamlessly integrated with the design of the new site.
The primary goal of the website was to allow users to easily search and find Open Farm Sunday events. We proposed a highly filterable map which would allow them to choose what type of event they wished to go to based on the activities, accessibility, distance and more. Having this functionality meant we needed to make the input and management of this data as easy as possible. We created an easy to use event manager for host farmers to create and manage events. The manager allowed them to add events in a procedural and logical way making sure every piece of information required for the map was added before validating the submission. This made the process much smoother for both farmers and the Open Farm Sunday team.
For the farm search, we integrated Google Maps and used sophisticated development techniques such as caching and map marker clustering to return search results to users as quickly as possible. Users can search by postcode, town, city or county, plus select from several pre-defined geographic areas.
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