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

 

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...

Cabbages and Kings.

Blog entry by pvine | August 22, 2017

Frogs will rain from the sky, a blight will cross the land, and white walkers will travel south of the wall. All this will come to pass. Oh and cabbages might cost more. That’s the tenor of the response of Irrigation New Zealand...

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 developer from New Zealand, and I’m here on the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise with...

The world is on fire

Blog entry by Konstantin Fomin | August 14, 2017

A huge wildfire is raging in Greenland. 150 km from the Arctic Circle and just 50 km away from Greenland's ice sheet, large swathes of tundra have been   burning for over a week . Nobody has seen anything like this in recent times.

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...

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