The Open Farms movement kicked off on 10 December with a call-to-action for farmers across all sectors to get involved by visiting the Open Farms website and registering to host urban New Zealanders for a day on-farm.
“Like Open Farms, we believe that providing New Zealanders with the opportunity to have a genuine on-farm experience and better connect them with the people and places that grow their food is hugely important for our country,” says B+LNZ’s CEO Sam McIvor.
"Farmers have been asking for us to create opportunities for them to tell their story, and this is a fantastic opportunity to do just that.
“Our own research has shown that a growing number of New Zealanders have never stepped foot on a farm before. Urban and rural New Zealanders value the same things, but this physical and relatively new disconnect is leading to misunderstandings and misconceptions about how food is produced.”
B+LNZ has been involved in Open Farms since day one, including being the sole sponsor of the initial scoping study that laid the groundwork for the movement.
“One of the best ways we can address this disconnect is by being proactive and providing opportunities for New Zealanders to visit a farm and experience first-hand just how much care and passion farmers put into producing the food we eat and the fibres that we wear. This is why Beef + Lamb New Zealand is such a strong supporter of the Open Farms movement and we’re encouraging sheep and beef farmers to get involved and open their gates to help build better relationships between urban and rural New Zealand,” says Mr McIvor.
Farmers who want to learn more or are keen to get involved can visit www.openfarms.co.nz. Open Farms provide a toolkit to help you organise your individual Open Farms event, and they’ll take care of the marketing, visitor registration, as well as ongoing support for farmers who are involved. If you’re unable to host your own Open Farm, you can also get involved by volunteering to help on other farms too.