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Open Farms initiative to reconnect rural and urban Kiwis

Updated: Dec 13, 2019


Launching today, Open Farms is a grassroots initiative to reconnect rural and urban Kiwis through a nationwide Open Farm Day on Sunday March 1st 2020.


The project kicks off with a call-to-action for Kiwi farmers across all food and fibre sectors; visit the website and register to host urban Kiwis for a day on the farm.


“This is about reconnecting Kiwis with the people and places that grow our food” says Open Farms founder Daniel Eb. “60% of urban Kiwis don’t visit rural New Zealand[i], farmers are trying to tell their story and too many of us feel separated from our food and the land. 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.”


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.


“We built Open Farms to streamline the hosting experience for farmers. All the resources and guidelines are in one place and Open Farms will manage all the visitor registration and marketing, starting in January 2020” says Eb.


Through Open Farms, farmers can share their food and fibre story directly with Kiwis. This might include traditional farm day activities like farm walks or animal demonstrations, through to land stewardship showcases like bug hunts, wetland tours and river critter buckets.


Open Farms is backed by five sponsors - Beef + Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ, the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge and Farmside Powered by Vodafone - and supported by ten channel partners across rural and urban New Zealand.


Sam McIvor, CEO of Beef + Lamb New Zealand, says inviting Kiwis to actively participate in food production is critical for the industry. “Kiwi farmers want to get closer to our customers. Inviting them on-farm to genuinely experience the way we grow food and manage our environment is a win all-round. That’s why we’ve supported Open Farms since its inception and we’re excited to see it launch today. We’ll be strongly encouraging our sheep and beef farmers to get involved with the initiative.”


Eb says the project was inspired by a UK initiative; Open Farm Sunday. The nationwide, cross-sector event attracts 300,000 visitors to 350 farms each year. “The UK model is about farmer’s 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. It’s about giving farmers the tools and support to get the job done their way.”


For more information, prospective farmer hosts and visitors can visit www.openfarms.co.nz.


About Open Farms

Open Farms is a platform to reconnect Kiwis with the people and places that grow our food. It’s a grassroots, nationwide initiative encouraging farmers from all sectors to host Open Farm day experiences on March 1st, 2020. The platform 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. The platform is independently run by Open Farms Ltd, with support from sponsors Beef + Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ, the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge and Farmside Powered by Vodafone.


For more information, please contact Daniel Eb; +64 27 586 0884, dan@dirtroadcomms.co.nz

[i] MPI. 2017. ‘New Zealander’s views of the primary sector’. 60% of urban New Zealander’s do not often visit family or close friends that live in rural New Zealand.

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