Food and farming

These things are fundamental to who we are, what we do and how New Zealand makes its way in the world. But there are big problems with the way we’re farming. The industrial farming model prevalent in New Zealand is damaging our land, water, climate and farmers.

New Zealand farming made a name for itself based on two simple five-letter words – clean and green - with our products setting us apart in shopping trolleys and baskets across the globe. But somewhere along the way we lost our bearings.  

Family farms got snapped up and subsumed into industrial-scale dairying operations. We began clear-felling forests to make way for industrial dairy farms, piling fertilizers onto the land; squeezing too many cows onto every hectare, and feeding them supplementary feed from destroyed Indonesian rainforests. All this to sell faceless milk powder on volatile global commodity markets.

This industrial, high input model has cost our rivers (two thirds are already at times too polluted to swim in safely) our water (New Zealand now has the highest rates of waterborne gastro disease in the developed world), our climate (agriculture emissions make up half New Zealand’s emissions and continue to rise) and our farmers. New Zealand dairy farmers are collectively burdened with $38 billion worth of debt, putting unimaginable pressure on individuals, families and communities.

And things are set to get worse, with large-scale irrigation schemes planned across the country. People don’t necessarily make the link between irrigation and industrial farming. But the one leads directly to the other.  The reason big irrigation companies want to take water from our rivers is to enable more industrial agriculture (namely dairying) where it wouldn’t otherwise have occurred. Irrigation schemes are a golden ticket to more dairying and more water pollution.
 
The industrial dairying model is a failed experiment. Change is needed if New Zealand farming and farmers are to prosper again. We need to make New Zealand farming something we can be proud of again.

The latest updates

 

With love from the Arctic

Blog entry by Lizzie Sullivan | August 18, 2017

Greenpeace kayakers have stopped an oil rig drilling in the Norwegian Arctic. I know, because I’m there right now. My name is Lizzie. I’m a web designer from New Zealand, and I’m here on the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise with...

Civil Disobedience Against Big Irrigation

Blog entry by atobert | August 15, 2017

Construction has started on huge irrigation schemes in Canterbury. When they start working, it’s going to be disastrous for our rivers - most of which are already struggling. More irrigation means more cows and that means more...

Violence against Indigenous peoples destroys our common home

Blog entry by Rex Weyler | July 18, 2017

In May this year, two brothers, Vázquez and Agustín Torres, were murdered near Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico. They were Wixárika (Huichol) leaders, working to preserve their land from incursion by cattle ranchers and drug cartels.

Historic day at the UN: Nuclear weapons are now banned under international law

Blog entry by Jen Maman | July 8, 2017

Today at the UN Headquarters in New York, a global treaty banning nuclear weapons has been adopted.  This is an historic moment: according to the treaty, to possess and develop nuclear weapons is now illegal under international law.

BP’s next disaster? Not on Spongebob’s watch!

Blog entry by Mal Chadwick | July 4, 2017

BP are at it again.  The company that devastated the Gulf of Mexico with its Deepwater Horizon disaster wants to drill for oil near the pristine Amazon Reef. What could possibly go wrong?  🤔 Home to pink corals, sunset-coloured...

What’s happening in Poland’s last remaining ancient forest will make you furious

Blog entry by Marianna Hoszowska | June 30, 2017

Would you put your body on the line to stop some of Europe’s oldest trees from being cut down? That’s what hundreds of activists are doing to protect the Białowieża Forest in Poland. Fifth blockade of the Białowieża Ancient...

How much longer can we take our water for granted?

Blog entry by Amanda Larsson | June 28, 2017

The first message I sent home from New Zealand was about tap water. Sounds weird. True story. Having spent the previous five years drinking London water (you know, the kind of hard water that means endless scrubbing to get crusty...

Sick of Too Many Cows

Publication | June 28, 2017 at 11:14

This Greenpeace report examines the potential connections between livestock farming, water pollution and public health.

Battle of the parodies - Fonterra answers Greenpeace video spoof with parody of its own

Blog entry by Phil Vine | June 15, 2017

“OMG - Dairy Bosses discover climate change - 20 years too late” Hot on the heels of Greenpeace’s parody video about Pure Dairy, the industry leadership has countered with a parody of its own. The Dairy Action plan 2017-2018, ...

Pure Dairy. Pure Fiction - A Parody

Blog entry by Nick Young | June 13, 2017

How Greenpeace is using satire to call out NZ Dairy Bosses on their outrageous billboard. You can't miss it. Even at night. The Fonterra billboard bores down through your windscreen with sunny insistence. It strikes you the moment...

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