An estimated 2500 urban Kiwis visited 24 farms on Sunday, part of New Zealand’s third national Open Farms.
Farms of all types participated in the nationwide project, from market gardens in Auckland to dairy farms in the Waikato, regenerative sheep and beef farms near Wellington and organic vegetable farms in Christchurch.
“This was a tough year for farmer hosts, so we really appreciate them giving urban Kiwis the chance to touch, feel and taste their way back into food and farming,” Open Farms founder Daniel Eb said.
Successive severe events in the project’s target areas around New Zealand’s major cities affected host numbers, but visitor interest remained high.
“About two-thirds of our events were fully booked this year – again proving that, when given the chance, urban Kiwis are keen to get back out on farm,” Eb said.
Up in Auckland, the Singh family at Kingseat Organics hosted more than 300 people for a day exploring organic vegetable production, meeting animals and planting native trees.
“We had 30m-long lines of people through the veggie beds at times and everyone was so engaged to learn about where their food comes from – it was a great day,” farmer Malkiat Singh said.
One of the largest 2023 events took place at Mangaroa Farms, a sheep and beef farm and market garden aiming to become a local food hub for its Upper Hutt community. Farmer Jules Matthews referred to the open day simply as “awesome”.
Open Farms is backed by three sponsors, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund.
For more information and to sign up for next year, prospective farmer hosts and visitors can visit www.openfarms.co.nz.