Monday, April 22, 2024

Welcoming city folk with Open Farms

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Everything from endangered skinks to sustainable dairy on show as initiative gathers even more steam in its fourth year.
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A dairy farm working to increase endangered skink numbers and a boutique farm business selling milk in recycled bottles are among the properties opening their gates to the public on Sunday, March 10.

Donald’s Farm in Whitford is also joining the national Open Farms initiative, where a number of farmers of all types welcome the public onto their properties to learn about agriculture. 

Donald’s Farm is a unique farm dedicated to teaching Auckland children about the primary sector and nature.

DairyNZ GM Alyce Butler said Open Farms is a great opportunity for people from towns and cities to get insights into dairy farming and where their dairy products come from.

“It’s great for Kiwis to check out the beautiful farm landscapes, see cows close up and get a glimpse of what it’s like living and working on a farm. Kids really love it,” Butler said.

Open Farms founder Daniel Eb said the annual initiative is about connecting urban Kiwis with the people and places that grow their food. The initiative is now in its fourth year, with around 10,000 visitors having taken part so far in more than 100 Open Farms events. 

State-owned enterprise Pāmu is looking forward to welcoming the public to its Eyrewell dairy farm in Canterbury. 

Pāmu CEO Mark Leslie said Pāmu farmers are embedded in their local communities and enjoy showing the public what they do.

The farm has a unique project underway working with conservation organisations and local schools to enhance habitat for at-risk Canterbury grass skinks and native McCann’s skinks.

“Eyrewell and the skink habitat restoration project are a great example of us striving to balance farming excellence with nurturing the environment,” Leslie said.

Dreamview Creamery is a family dairy farming business for the Hill family of Raglan.

Dreamview Creamery is a Raglan farm owned by the Hill family, with 120 milking dairy cows. 

Jess Hill manages the farm and loves working outdoors with animals. She said Open Farms is a fun event and she hopes that showing people around the farm will encourage them to consider a farming future.

The family sell milk in recycled bottles and donates milk to Raglan Area School for the children. The family have planted native trees on the farm and will plant more.

“We’re always looking at ways to make our farm business more sustainable,” Hill said.

Donald’s Farm is owned by NZ Young Farmers and is about 30 minutes’ drive from Auckland. It doubles as a working dairy farm and outdoor classroom. Last year, the farm hosted 900 primary and secondary school visitors to learn about the primary sector and get involved in environmental initiatives on the farm.

“With Open Farms, it’s awesome showing people around the farm to learn how milk goes from grass to glass and to learn about career opportunities in the primary sector,” Donald’s Farm manager Sam Waugh said.

“I highly recommend farming as a great lifestyle for people of all ages and families.”

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