Farmlands is partnering with nationwide rural wellbeing programme Farmstrong for the co-op’s annual Tag Your Charity fundraiser which kicks off on 1 November and runs until Christmas.
Each year Farmlands selects a national partner, and its store teams choose a local charity for customers to donate to when they shop instore. Last year Farmlands raised $129,000, shared with the national partner and local charities involved – including $50,000 of funds donated by Farmlands to kick things off on behalf of their team.
Farmstrong aligns with Farmlands’ focus on mental wellbeing and resilience. Farmstrong works to promote mental health within farming communities across Aotearoa New Zealand, helping farmers, growers and their families to cope with the stresses of farming and growing by sharing things they can do to look after themselves and the people in their business.
Tanya Houghton, Farmlands CEO, is acutely aware of the need to look after mental health after visiting rural regions devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle in February of this year. “I saw first-hand the toll that the cyclone and its aftermath had on our farmers and growers. We were able to provide some practical support through our Post Your Support fundraising campaign, we also want to do as much as we can to help develop the skills and resilience needed to cope into the future.”
Farmstrong has helped thousands of farmers and farmworkers over the last eight years, with over 14,000 people reporting in 2023 that they credit improvements in their wellbeing to Farmstrong’s help and advice. Farmstrong takes a practical approach, showing people simple daily wellbeing habits and ways of thinking that farmers and growers say help them deal with life’s ups and downs.
“Partnering with Farmstrong allows us to extend more support our rural communities in a way that really makes a difference. We want to help Farmstrong reach its goals of connecting with more groups working in agriculture and providing valuable resources to help rural people maintain well-being,” says Tanya.
Well-known rugby player Sam Whitelock is a strong advocate of the benefits of Farmstrong’s way of doing things, an appreciation that developed following a devastating salmonella outbreak on his parent’s Manawatū dairy farm. Farmstrong’s Ambassador for seven years now, Whitelock emphasizes the need to find some calm amid the hectic pace of life, to prepare for the next big challenge.
The Tag Your Charity fundraiser has become an annual event for Farmlands’, showcasing the co-op’s commitment to making a positive impact in the rural sector. Last year, over $120,000 was donated and distributed to each store’s local charity and to I Am Hope, the highly-regarded youth mental health and counselling advocate.
Gerard Vaughan, Farmstrong spokesperson says that he’s extremely pleased that his organisation has been chosen as Farmlands’ 2023 National Charity Partner. “Farmlands is very focussed on mental health and wellbeing across the communities it’s part of. The donations of $75,000 to two Rural Support Trusts after the cyclone’s an example of this. Having Farmlands onboard will go a long way towards helping farmers and growers to keep investing in themselves and their family, their team, community and businesses.”