Open Farms is back!
Our Land and Water is proud to support our nationwide Open Farms day on Sunday 21 March 2021.
Like Open Farms, we believe that reconnecting urban Kiwis with our land, food and farmers is best done on-farm and in-person.
Open Farms is now recruiting farmer hosts. If you’re interested in sharing your farming story and running an open day, they’ll support you with marketing, planning and more. Farmers from all food and fibre sectors are encouraged to participate – visit the website to register. Visitor registrations will open in late January.
Now in its second year, Open Farms is a grassroots initiative that supports farmers to host open days for urban Kiwis. The first event saw 3500 people visit 45 farms across the country – ranging from high-country sheep stations, to permaculture orchards, dairy farms and even an indoor microgreens producer in central Wellington.
“We built Open Farms because we believe that every Kiwi should have access to a genuine on-farm experience. To get there, we’ve streamlined hosting for farmers – all the guides and resources are in one place and Open Farms will manage all visitor marketing and registration,” says project founder Daniel Eb.
We encourage farmers across all food and fibre sectors – including research farms – to register to host urban Kiwis for a day on the farm
Farmer hosts choose the size, format and focus of their event. Events on-the-day differ by farm but can include anything from farm walks to animal displays, conservation tours, compost-making, fruit picking and more.
Year-one feedback from hosts and visitors was overwhelmingly positive – three-quarters of events were fully booked, 91% of visitors intend to visit a farm again and hosts rated their day at 4.4/5. Post-event research conducted by Our Land and Water shows that visiting a farm encourages a range of positive perception and behaviour effects among urban Kiwis.
“The research shows that getting on farm changes how we view our role in the food system,” says Eb. “72% of visitors left a farm wanting to buy food direct from a farmer and 64% were more willing to pay a premium for sustainably grown food. This the right trajectory for citizens, farmers and our environment.”
North Auckland sheep and beef farmer Nicky Berger is one host looking forward to hosting an open day and helping Kiwis connect with their food. “We take a lot of pride in producing nutritious food for our urban cousins and caring for the land. It’s a passion worth sharing and we’re really excited to open the family farm come February 21st.”
Sam McIvor, CEO of Beef + Lamb New Zealand, says creating opportunities for Kiwis to connect with farming and food production has never been more important. “The primary sector is being called on to step-up and support New Zealand’s Covid recovery, citizens are looking for ways to support sustainable farming and our farmers want to demonstrate how we grow the nation’s food and manage our environment. Having a platform to connect customers and producers together is critical – that’s why we’ve supported Open Farms since its inception and continue to encourage sheep & beef farmers to get involved.”
Open Farms 2021 is backed by three sponsors: Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund. The event is supported by more than a dozen leading organisations representing rural New Zealand.
For more information, prospective farmer hosts and visitors can visit www.openfarms.co.nz.
Host an Open Farm at your farm
We encourage farmers across all food and fibre sectors – including research farms – 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 2021, 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.
For more information, see www.openfarms.co.nz