The countdown is on to one of the highlights of the wider region’s agriculture calendar, the 2021 East Coast Farming Expo for sheep and beef farmers.
45 farmers opened their gates to visitors on Sunday for New Zealand’s inaugural nationwide open farm day.
Farms of all types and sizes participated: from high-country sheep stations in Otago to dairy farms in the Waikato and even an indoor, vertical microgreens producer in Wellington.
A wide range of activities were on offer for visitors, says Open Farms founder Daniel Eb.
“From compost making to bush and stream tours, petting zoos, working dog demonstrations and fruit picking, today was about Kiwis reconnecting with our land, food and farmers, and having a bit of old-school fun.”
Open Farms events ranged in size and format, from small farm walks for 25 people to local food and farming festivals for 500+. More than three-quarters of events were fully booked, particularly those close to urban centres.
“To see such enthusiasm from both farmers and townies in our first year is really encouraging” says Eb.
“We built Open Farms to grow into an annual event and we’re now working off a great year-one foundation. Looking more broadly, today is a reflection that many Kiwis share our vision for a more open and collaborative national farming story too.”
Open Farms is backed by five sponsors - Beef + Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ, the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge, Farmside Powered by Vodafone and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund.