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Open Farms: A great opportunity to learn more about farming in Canterbury

Logan From Streamside Organics talks to visitors about the farm

Over 100 members of the public last week visited Streamside Organics farm in Irwell to find out more about how their food is produced as part of the nationwide Open Farms scheme.

Dominque and Logan who own the successful vegetable growing business gave the visitors a tour of their farm operations, and as members of Ellesmere Sustainable Agriculture Inc (ESAI), they also shared their restoration work along the Irwell River as part of Project Tinaku.

“We thought it would be nice to invite ESAI along to talk to the public about why planting projects are so important alongside our waterways,” said Dominique.

The Irwell River/Waiwhio runs through the farm at Streamside Organics and with the support of the Tinaku Project, weeds have been removed and over 1600 natives have been planted along their stretch of river.

“We want to encourage native wildlife and improve the health of our waterways and we are grateful that ESAI have been able to help us work towards this” said Dominique.

ESAI Project Coordinator Jo Fearn said the group were delighted to be given the opportunity to be involved with the Open Farm scheme and provide a short presentation about the Tinaku Project and the work they do in the local area.

Fearn spoke about the benefits of native planting restoration on farms before those attending were given the opportunity to plant a native alongside the river.

Visitors planting along the Irwell River

“It was such a beautiful day and it was great to see so many people interested in learning more about farming, we really appreciate the chance Dominique and Logan have given us to talk to the public about all the good work being done on farms in our area,” said Fearn.

The visitors were treated to demonstrations on weeding and cultivation techniques, as well as a walk through the large poly tunnels and a chance to harvest their own vegetables and sunflowers to take home.

ESAI continues to organise new events for its members thanks to MPI’s Extension Funding and earlier this month teamed up with Environment Canterbury staff to host an open day for local landowners to learn more about the new winter grazing regulations.

“We wanted to give farmers a chance to ask those niggling questions and have a cuppa and a chat with ECan staff,” said Fearn who was pleased with the turn-out.

The ECan staff included consenting specialists to assist farmers with the application process and feedback from the attending farmers indicated that they felt more knowledgeable and confident in dealing with the new regulations now they had been given the chance to speak with ECan staff one-on-one.

Sylvia McAslan, Land Management Advisor from ECan, said that her team “just want to help farmers understand the new rules, it’s all about providing further information where it’s needed”.

ECan staff Sylvia McAslan & Caitlin Wallis and Sarah O’Connell from MPI On Farm Support team talk to the Johnson family

Environment Canterbury offer regular opportunities to speak with staff in rural locations at their drop in days.

More information about the times and locations of these drop-in sessions can be found at the ECan website.


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