Urban Kiwis keen to buy food direct from farms & support sustainability I Dr James Turner


It turns out that according to new research following the Open Farms Day, a day where farmers open their gates to the public, urban Kiwis and farmers actually share similar views on what sustainable farming looks like.


They both share concerns that supermarkets and regulators, are putting pressure on producers and holding back a healthy food system with more and more Kiwis are keen to buy direct, at farmers markets or labelled NZ-grown.

pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
Source: Open Farms
"Urban and rural dwellers have a similar vision for sustainable farming. They don’t just agree on the issues, but also on the solutions!” says Dr James Turner, Our Land and Water science leader & senior AgResearch scientist.

As a Change Maker this week in Sarah's Country, Dr James Turner, Our Land and Water science leader & senior AgResearch scientist, shares the insights:

  1. The research by the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge and Open Farms suggests that direct relationships between farmers and citizens could be a pathway towards more sustainable farming practices.

  2. Urban and farmer respondents generally share a vision of more diverse landscapes, fewer chemical inputs, and farming practices that improve soil and water health.

  3. These findings support Ministry for Primary Industries research that found the divide between urban and rural attitudes to farming is smaller than perceived.

  4. Urban and farmer respondents agreed that the biggest barrier to sustainable farming is the purchasing and pricing power of large market players, like supermarkets.

  5. At 29%, purchasing food directly from the farm was ranked as the most effective sustainable food action customers could take, followed by buying NZ grown food at 21%.

  6. Visiting a farm builds a connection between those who grow and those who eat food. On-farm experiences also positively change how people perceive the complexity of farming and encourage more considered food purchasing behaviour.

For more information visit:

  1. Keen to host an Open Farms Day in 2022? Click for the Host Handbook

  2. A longer-form version of the release & infographic at the Our Land and Water website.

  3. The Farmers’ Market NZ study comparing supermarket/market prices, as referenced above and in the release.

  4. The Consumer NZ submission to the Commerce Commission echoes the concerns raised by survey respondents.


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