Ag Proud NZ will be hosting a free barbecue in Manukau Plaza on Wednesday 16th October between 11.30am and 1pm.

The aim of the event is to reach out to urban communities to engage over the universal language of food and show that farmers want to do the very best for their animals, their environment and Aotearoa.

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Jon Pemberton, the trust chairman of the group Ag Proud NZ, recognised the need to strengthen the relationship between rural and urban areas and the impact this was having on the mental health of farmers.

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"It's not a divide, it's a relationship and it's a bit misunderstood at the moment. There's a disconnect between rural and urban people, but protests and shouting don't work for either side.

"My message is simple; come down, grab some delicious food and have a chat with us – although get there early as there is likely to be a queue!"

Ag Proud NZ was born to create awareness in the agricultural sector around mental health.

An Ag Proud barbecue held in Dunedin. Photo / Supplied
An Ag Proud barbecue held in Dunedin. Photo / Supplied

Through positive engagement with Kiwis nationwide, Ag Proud NZ hopes to shed light on this growing crisis and bridge the gap between their urban friends and rural whānau.

The event in Manukau – which has cross-sector support from Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Dairy NZ, Alliance Group and Fonterra – is part of a series of barbecues hosted by Proud Ag NZ being held around the country, with another three planned in other cities later this year.

It is also hoped the barbecue will provide an opportunity to showcase the agriculture sector as an attractive career path, with Pemberton adding:

"If anyone is interested in pursuing a career in agriculture, I would encourage them to come along and get further information on what employment opportunities are available to them in the industry."

Ag Proud NZ is a registered charitable trust, find out more on their Facebook page.

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