Your chance to ask a farmer anything
A newly-launched campaign by the Victorian Farmers Federation and the Victorian state government aims to build a stronger connection between the country and the city by starting an open conversation about how food and fibre is produced.
Open Gate Conversations is an interactive online hub that allows consumers to ask any question about farming practices – from climate change and sustainable food production to the use of chemicals and animal welfare. Just post your question here and Open Gate Conversations will put you in touch with a Victorian farmer who can provide an answer.
Research commissioned ahead of the campaign launch found that 61 percent of Victorians felt they had limited knowledge about farming practices, while 70 percent of farmers surveyed felt it was extremely important to farm in a way that met community expectations. The research also found that the three issues that raised the most concern with consumers were climate change, food quality and animal welfare. The creation of Open Gate Conversations provides the perfect opportunity for farmers to listen to community concerns and provide honest answers about how farming is changing.
Some of the questions already asked and answered on the site include “How do you know if your animals are happy?”, “Where does the water come from that you use on crops?” and “Do farmers think about the future of food production and the impact it has on soil regeneration?” Curious consumers have also asked about how farmers deal with the pressures of the job and the ongoing pandemic, whether they expect their children to follow in their footsteps, and even what their favourite meal is.
The site also offers information about animal welfare, food quality and sustainability, and includes links to relevant standards and codes, as well as industry research and frameworks. The idea is to create greater transparency between agricultural and non-agricultural communities when it comes to farm practices. Like an open farm gate, Victorian farmers are welcoming the opportunity to engage in a virtual conversation with people who’d like to know more about how their food and fibre is produced.
This is your big chance to ask a farmer anything (within limits, of course – keep it clean, people). Just head to opengateconversations.org.au and post your question. Once it’s been reviewed, a farmer will provide your answer within 7 days.