Opening the farm gate - guests welcome to visit my farm
The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is helping to open farm gates all over the state as part of on a new initiative to bring urban and farming communities closer through the ‘Visit My Farm’ agri-exchange trial.
DPI Manager Business & Social Resilience Programs, Sonia Muir said the idea for this new social enterprise was borne when taking part in an Australian Futures Project initiative aimed at tackling wide ranging agricultural challenges.
“A growing disconnection of people knowing where their food comes from drove the initial idea,” Ms Muir said.
“The online Visit My Farm platform provides a really easy way for people to connect with a farmer and have a first-hand experience by going to visit a farm for an hour, a morning, or a whole day.
“Farmers are looking to add diversity to their farming operations and are keen to provide a window into farm life so people better understand what farmers do.
“Visitors have the opportunity to choose from a variety of farm locations across the state. There are farmers on board from Bourke to Bulahdelah, from Gloucester to Young.
“The Visit My Farm trial will run until 30 April 2017 to test the concept. Visitors are encouraged to participate and provide valuable feedback so the project can be developed further.”
Ms Muir said participating ‘farmer hosts’ have provided profiles outlining the farm experiences they can offer to visitors.
“Depending on the farm, visitors can do things like pat an alpaca or a calf, learn about chickens and collect eggs, check out the sheep yards and farm machinery, watch a farmer muster stock, or maybe try their hand at catching yabbies in a farm dam. All activities provide an opportunity for visitors to meet and chat with a farmer to learn more about agriculture,” Ms Muir said.
Anna Lashbrook from Lashbrook Farm located at Old Junee said she signed up for the Visit My Farm concept as an opportunity to engage, connect and educate, in otherwise ‘off limits’ territory.
“By giving people a first-hand experience we close the gap between producers and consumers – awareness and education influences behaviour,” Ms Lashbrook said.
Laura Pennington, another host from Candlarah Farm on the Mid North Coast says, “If we can connect more people with where their food comes from and soil health they can make more informed choices at the checkout!”
To book your unique farm visit or to get more information, go to www.visitmyfarm.com.au