Open your farm gates to urban Kiwis this February

// Industry

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is encouraging farmers to take part in the nationwide Open Farms initiative on February 21, 2021 by hosting urban Kiwis and telling your farming story, your way.

Open Farms Greg Lisa Hart

Open Farms is a nationwide initiative to reconnect urban Kiwis with our food, land and farmers.

B+LNZ is proud to be a founding partner of Open Farms because we know how important it is to foster better public understanding of our farming systems and what farmers are doing to look after our environment and animals. 

“Like Open Farms, we believe that providing Kiwis 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.

“Our 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.” 

You can register to host or request a call back on the Open Farms website

Why you should host an Open Farms Day

Feedback and research show opening your farm gates has a positive impact

Last year's feedback show that after visiting a farm, visitors felt more connected to farmers and thought farming was more complicated than they previously thought. They were also more willing to pay a premium for sustainably grown food, were more likely to buy food directly from a farmer and generally had a more positive view on the environmental sustainability of farming.

Research also shows that just getting urban Kiwis on farm changes the way they think and feel about agriculture, and their own actions in the food system.

You decide how the day will run, telling your story in your way

Your Open Farm event can be as small or as large as you like – hosts choose the size, the format and focus of their event.  

You decide what’s important to show urban Kiwis when visiting your farm. To help with ideas, the Open Farms team have some activity ideas.

There is a dedicated team and resources to support you

The Open Farms team are here to help. If you want to talk to someone about hosting and ask some questions, you can request a call from the Open Farms team.   

The Open Farms Host Handbook has all the information you need to know, including health & safety, activity tips and ideas for using your open farms event to promote a product or diversification. Leave all the marketing and registrations to Open Farms – you just focus on running an event, and sharing your farming story.

You can find all the information you need on the Open Farms website.

Hear what some of last year’s hosts have to say

Greg and Rachel Hart opened their Mangarara Station for Open Farm last year. Greg Hart says, “We love sharing Mangarara Station and offering the farm as a place where people can connect back to the land and gain a better understanding of what we do.”

“Opening our farm gates helped us build important relationships and I highly encourage others to open their gates to Kiwis and strike up a conversation about what farming is really like. Registration was easy and you get a ton of information and support from the Open Farms team,” he says.

Lisa Portas from Palliser Ridge also opened her farm gates to urban Kiwis last year. Lisa says, “The opportunity to stand in front of someone from a completely different background and have a conversation about what’s important to them, and what’s important to us, is invaluable for us as primary producers.”

“We weren’t sure what to expect initially, but overall it was a really positive experience and we’re looking forward to making this an annual event for our farm.”

Useful links

Visit the Open Farms website and register to host or request a call.

Read a recap of last year’s Open Farms day.