Our Land and Water is proud to be backing Open Farms – a movement to reconnect urban and rural Kiwis through a nationwide open farm day on Sunday 1st March 2020.
Like Open Farms, we believe that every Kiwi should have access to a genuine on-farm experience to connect with the people and places that grow our food.
One of the 9 strategic goals of our National Science Challenge is to increase urban and rural understanding of how land and water issues can be addressed, so that we're all able to share our aspirations and participate in well-informed debate about alternative futures.
This starts with reconnecting Kiwis with the people and places that grow our food.
“Too many of us feel separated from our food and the land,” says Open Farms founder Daniel Eb. “Open Farms is about building a place in the middle, where we can all reconnect.”
“We believe that every Kiwi should have access to a genuine on-farm experience, and we’ve built the roadmap to get there. Now we need farmers to reach out with us and invite urban New Zealanders back onto the land.”
We encourage farmers across all food and fibre sectors to register to host urban Kiwis for a day on the farm
According to MPI's 2017 research on New Zealanders’ views of the primary sector, 60% of urban Kiwis don’t visit rural New Zealand. Open Farms gives them an invitation and reason to visit, and provides a platform for generating and sharing information.
Eb says the project was inspired by UK initiative Open Farm Sunday. That nationwide, cross-sector event attracts 300,000 visitors to 350 farms each year. “The UK model is about farmers telling their stories, their way. Some events are like mini festivals, others are farm walks for a few dozen people, some focus on environmental practices, others on family-friendly participation.”
In 2018, mixed-methods research into Open Farm Sunday (UK) found that 90% of visitors said the experience changed the way they think about farming; 92% said they appreciated more the work farmers do; and 86% said they felt more connected to the farmers who produced their food. The research also found an average of 21 local helpers supporting each event, strengthening the local rural networks that our Indicators Working Group has shown to be important to the social and cultural resilience of rural communities.
Host an Open Farm at your farm
We encourage farmers across all food and fibre sectors to register to host urban Kiwis for a day on the farm. Open Farms provides farmers with event guidance, visitor marketing and registration support and connects visitors to Open Farm days via a booking system at www.openfarms.co.nz.
Through the website, farmers can post an Open Farms event, set and track their visitor numbers and download a full hosting guide covering Health & Safety, activity ideas, checklists, presentation tips and more.
Open Farms will do all the visitor registration and marketing, starting in January 2020, and provide the guidance and tools farmer need to host an engaging, safe event.
If you’re ready to share your farming story with our urban Kiwi cousins and customers, Open Farms and Our Land and Water would appreciate your support. Join us.