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

 

We shall not be moved

Blog entry by Marianna Hoszowska | September 7, 2017

This week, a courageous group of activists from across Europe are joining Greenpeace Poland to stop illegal logging in the ancient   Białowieża  Forest. Dozens of people have been chaining themselves to trees and logging machinery...

Lightning Occupation of Central Plains Water

Blog entry by Genevieve Toop | September 7, 2017

We had to go for it. At the crack of dawn today, a team of our activists began an occupation of the Central Plains Water (CPW) irrigation dam. If you want to join us - we’re on Coxs Road, Springfield. Time is of the essence, and...

Hurricane Harvey and South Asia Floods: How Climate Change Kills

Blog entry by Sophie Schroder | August 31, 2017

Hurricane Harvey and the devastating floods in South Asia are reminders of the cost we pay for climate denial and inaction. As we speak, floods in India, Bangladesh and Nepal have killed far over 1,000 people and impacted an...

11 things political parties should do now if they are serious about climate change

Blog entry by Kate Simcock | August 31, 2017

It’s the greatest challenge of our time and also a huge opportunity. Climate change is not merely an ‘environmental’ issue. It’s an existential threat to all aspects of our society and way of life. Acting now is a moral choice we must...

Oil companies' Amazon Reef drilling plans in big trouble

Blog entry by Greenpeace | August 31, 2017

BP and Total have suffered a massive setback in their plans to drill for oil near the Amazon Reef. The companies' joint application for a drilling permit is in crisis, after the Brazilian government rejected their environmental...

Glimmer of hope for the orangutan as palm oil company bows to peat forest pressure

Blog entry by Juliet Perry | August 30, 2017

For the first time ever, a palm oil company has been forced to restore rainforest and peatland in order to continue supplying the global market. Under pressure from customers and civil society, Malaysian palm oil company FGV has...

Can the world come to its senses on nuclear weapons?

Blog entry by Bunny McDiarmid | August 29, 2017

Looking back, one of the key moments that was to define both my professional and personal path was the moment I stepped onto the small atoll of Rongelap, in the Pacific Ocean. It was 17 May 1985 and I was 24 years old. At first...

The dairy farmer's daughter who locked herself inside an irrigation pipe to protest...

Blog entry by Rosemary Penwarden | August 26, 2017

I'm inside a pipe on the Canterbury Plains with Olga from Greenpeace. We each have an arm secured into a tube inside a two and a half metre irrigation pipe. We're in a ditch between the Rakaia and Waimakariri Rivers. Our pipe is one of...

9 ways to reduce your plastic use

Blog entry by Alice Hunter | August 25, 2017

We’ve all seen the headlines about the huge environmental problems caused by single-use plastics. Governments and corporations have a responsibility to take action – but what can we do to cut down our personal plastic footprints? ...

How does plastic end up in the ocean?

Blog entry by Louisa Casson | August 23, 2017

We know our oceans and coastlines are choking on plastic. We’ve all seen plastic bottles, food wrappers and plastic bags polluting beaches, and been horrified by the stories of marine creatures like seabirds and whales starving when...

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