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:



  1. 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.
  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 view sustainability in farming, perceive the complexity of farming and encourage more considered food purchasing behaviour.


For more information visit:



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


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