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Urban Kiwis keen to buy food direct from farms to support sustainability  I  Dr James Turner, Our Land & Water
Sarahs Country

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

It turns out, according to new research, that Kiwis - urban and farmers - share similar views on what sustainable farming looks like.

They both share concerns that big retailers, like supermarkets and regulators, are putting pressure on producers and holding back a healthy food system with more and more Kiwis ready to shop with their farmers in mind whether buying direct, at farmers markets or labelled NZ-grown.

"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 Turner.

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:

  • The research by the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge and Open Farms (a nationwide Open Farm day event), suggests that direct relationships between farmers and citizens could be a pathway towards more sustainable farming practices.
  • Urban and farmer respondents generally share a vision of more diverse landscapes, fewer chemical inputs, and farming practices that improve soil and water health.
  • These findings support Ministry for Primary Industries research that found the divide between urban and rural attitudes to farming is smaller than perceived.
  • Urban and farmer respondents agreed that the biggest barrier to sustainable farming is the purchasing and pricing power of large market players, like supermarkets.
  • 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%.
  • Visiting a farm builds a connection between those who grow and those who eat food. On-farm experiences also positively change how people view sustainability in farming, perceive the complexity of farming and encourage more considered food purchasing behaviour.

For more information visit:

  • A longer-form version of the release & infographic at the Our Land and Water website
  • The Farmers’ Market NZ study comparing supermarket/market prices, as referenced above and in the release.
  • The Consumer NZ submission to the Commerce Commission echoes the concerns raised by survey respondents.

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