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

 

Incineration and human health report

Publication | March 1, 2001 at 0:00

State of knowledge of the impacts of waste incinerators. Greenpeace International Research Laboratories, University of Exeter, UK.

Greenpeace activists aboard the 'Federal Pescadores' carrying GE soy

Image | December 27, 2000 at 0:00

Greenpeace activists aboard the 'Federal Pescadores' carrying GE soy. The activists attached themselves to on board cranes and the anchor chain of the cargo ship to prevent the cargo being unloaded.

Nuclear Free Seas Flotilla

Image | July 2, 2000 at 1:00

Nuclear Free Seas Flotilla, led by Tiama heads out to meet the Pacific Pintail,a british ship carrying 250kilos of plutonium. They are seen here midway between Lord Howe and Norfolk islands.Seen here is skipper of flotilla ,Henk Haazen.

Damage caused by Hurricane Andrew

Image | August 1, 1992 at 1:00

Damage caused by Hurricane Andrew, USA.

School of tuna

Image | January 1, 1989 at 1:00

School of tuna.

Survivors of the DOW disaster in front of the Union Carbide factory

Image | December 3, 1984 at 0:00

The morning after. Survivors of the disaster stand in front of the Union Carbide factory one day after the lethal gas leak. Their eyes and lungs have been badly damaged by exposure to the gas.

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