Some of New Zealand's leading women in agriculture have launched "Together we Grow NZ", a new initiative with a goal to connect urban and rural communities.

"Together We Grow NZ" will showcase the importance of both communities working together by sharing stories, collaborating, and creating opportunities to highlight New Zealand's farming background to the next generation.

The project was created by 15 women, who met while completing the Agri-Women's Development Trust's leadership and governance programme "Escalator".

The group continued working together during the Covid-19 lockdown and saw an opportunity to bring to light some of the stories of Kiwi food producers.

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CEO of NZ Avocado Jen Scoular said isolation had given the group time to "look at where our food comes from" and to celebrate it.

"We've realised we love local produce and we've had the time to browse through recipe books and create new dishes to star on the family dinner table. Let's keep doing that, let's celebrate food provenance, the passion demonstrated by New Zealand food producers and our collective love of food".

Also in the group is Founder of Grassfed in the City, Nicky Berger, dairy farmer and director of Enviroplan, Ali Van Polanen, co-founder of Leftfield Innovation, Susan Goodfellow and co-owner of Neat Meat, Vicki Eriksen.

"Together We Grow NZ" will also be a platform to discuss the future of the industry in a "post-Covid" world, said Ericksen.

"Covid-19 has given us the opportunity to not only think about where we buy our food, but where it actually comes from. As the co-owner of a family meat business, it made me realise there is a huge opportunity to connect with people all around the country to share some of these important stories".

"We already produce enough food to feed 40 million people, but I think there is an opportunity for our primary sectors to develop even further" said Goodfellow.

"We should be looking at a wider range of plants, including grains and pulses that we can grow sustainably and develop nutritious food products for New Zealand and global consumers".

To find out more check out Together We Grow on Facebook and search @togetherwegrownz on Instagram.

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