Farmlands is partnering with nationwide rural wellbeing programme Farmstrong for the co-op’s annual Tag Your Charity fundraiser.
Each year Farmlands selects a national partner and its store teams choose a local charity for customers to donate to when they shop instore. Last year Farmlands raised $129,000 that was shared with the national partner and local charities involved – including $50,000 donated by Farmlands to kick things off on behalf of its team. The fundraiser began on November 1 and runs until Christmas.
Farmstrong works to promote mental health within farming communities across New Zealand, helping farmers, growers and their families to cope with the stresses of farming and growing by sharing things they can do to look after themselves and the people in their business.
Farmlands chief executive Tanya Houghton is acutely aware of the need to look after mental health after visiting rural regions devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle in February of this year.
“I saw first-hand the toll that the cyclone and its aftermath had on our farmers and growers. We were able to provide some practical support through our Post Your Support fundraising campaign, we also want to do as much as we can to help develop the skills and resilience needed to cope into the future.”
Farmstrong has helped thousands of farmers and farmworkers over the past eight years, with over 14,000 people reporting in 2023 that they credit improvements in their wellbeing to Farmstrong’s help and advice.
“Partnering with Farmstrong allows us to extend more support our rural communities in a way that really makes a difference. We want to help Farmstrong reach its goals of connecting with more groups working in agriculture and providing valuable resources to help rural people maintain wellbeing,” Houghton said.
All Black Sam Whitelock is a strong advocate of the benefits of Farmstrong’s way of doing things, an appreciation that developed following a salmonella outbreak on his parents’ Manawatū dairy farm. A Farmstrong ambassador for seven years now, Whitelock emphasises the need to find some calm amid the hectic pace of life, to prepare for the next big challenge.
Last year’s Tag Your Charity funds were distributed to each store’s local charity and to I Am Hope, the youth mental health and counselling advocate.