Now in its third year, Open Farms continues to provide a platform for farmers to share their stories with urban Kiwis.
More than 7,000 people have visited 82 farms throughout New Zealand in the last two years and Open Farms founder Daniel Eb is confident the initiative will continue to grow.
“There is no lack of interest to get on-farm,” he says.
“We book out half of our capacity in 24 hours and more than 80 percent of events are overbooked. We’re asking more farmers to host with us to give more Kiwis a chance to reconnect with their rural roots”
Ahead of the 2023 event, changes have been made to make hosting easier including a private event format for first-time hosts and a subsidy to help cover farmers’ time.
“We made these changes to help reduce some of the anxiety around hosting and show farmers that we value their contribution to the project. We’re seeing a lot of hosts return for another year, we can’t do it without them.”
Eb says hosting is also valuable and rewarding to farmers and their businesses too.
“Farmers feel a renewed sense of pride when seeing their farm through fresh eyes or sparking a passion for food production in others,” he says.
“There are tangible economic benefits to hosting. We’ve seen farmers use their open day to build team morale, hire new people or market a direct-to-customer business model.”
Greg Hart from Mangarara Station in Hawke’s Bay has seen first-hand how the day can positively impact both urban Kiwis and farmers.
“Farmers will get to see and feel that big body of support for them out there in the wider public. They see that they’re not alone,” he says.
B+LNZ’s Chief Executive Sam McIvor says Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has sponsored the event from its inception to foster better public understanding of farming systems.
“When it comes to growing the understanding of, and support for farmers there is nothing more effective than an on-farm experience,” he says.
“Farmers get to talk directly with consumers to build better understanding of the expertise, passion and care that goes into New Zealand’s world-leading red meat sector. It is an invaluable experience.”
Visit the Open Farms website for more information about hosting.
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 supporting farmers from all sectors to host on-farm experiences as part of a national open day. The platform supports farmers with event planning, marketing, registrations and kit, and connects visitors to Open Farms events via a booking system. The platform is independently run by Open Farms Ltd, with support from sponsors Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund.