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

 

Revealed: HSBC is funding forest destruction

Blog entry by Annisa Rahmawati | January 17, 2017

Today we’ve let the cat out of the bag that HSBC - one of the biggest banks in the world - is funding destructive palm oil companies. Now its customers are waking up to the news that the bank card in their pocket is linked to the...

Neonicotinoids: A serious threat for flower-hopping life-bringers and many more animals

Blog entry by Anne Valette | January 16, 2017

At this point most people know about neonicotinoids and the serious risk they pose to honey bees. Bees are a link in a chain of biodiversity and pollination of incredible value to our food production. Up to 75% of our crops directly...

How green are the apps you use every day?

Blog entry by Gary Cook | January 16, 2017

Did you know some of the apps we use every day can make a difference in driving a green future by choosing to power their data centres (and our digital lives) with renewable energy?  The Renewable Revolution is here and some of...

Seeing is believing: Growing food for people, with people and with nature in Cuba

Blog entry by Reyes Tirado | January 16, 2017

“Ojos hacen fe.” Those are the words of Lucy Martín, an inspiring Cuban researcher with Oxfam in Havana. She has lived through decades of change in Cuba, while remaining grounded in the reality of farmers there. She uses...

Cease and desist message delivered to seismic blasting ship

Blog entry by Kate Simcock | January 13, 2017

Amazon Warrior, this is the Margaret Mahy . Do you copy? The world's biggest seismic blasting ship - the Amazon Warrior, AKA the 'The Beast' - is exploring for oil in the seas between Kaikoura and Napier. Despite the...

Wisdom & Foolishness

Blog entry by Rex Weyler | January 9, 2017

For Earth scientists and environmental activists, the urgent need for a dramatic shift in humanity’s relationship with the world seems painfully obvious, yet we find ourselves pushing against obsolete systems of economics and...

Every single piece of plastic ever made still exists. Here’s the story.

Blog entry by Diego Gonzaga | January 9, 2017

From the moment we wake up in the morning and brush our teeth, to when we watch TV at the end of the day, plastic is all around us. So much so that it can be hard to imagine leaving the supermarket without at least one item that isn’t...

Greenpeace NZ Television - Complaint 16/400

Publication | January 9, 2017 at 8:40

Following a complaint by Dairy NZ to the Advertising Standards Authority about a Greenpeace TV ad, Greenpeace provided the ASA with this 13 page file of scientific evidence pointing to nitrate and pathogen pollution of our waterways as a result...

7 social media moments that will keep us fighting in 2017

Blog entry by Stefanus Wong | January 5, 2017

If anyone has ever sneered at the idea of slacktivism, 2016 would like to prove them wrong. From fake news to echo chambers to trolls, this year, social media became more than just a “status update”. There are 1.79 billion active...

The best environmental movies of 2016

Blog entry by Shuk-Wah Chung | January 4, 2017

A wrap up of some of the best environmental movies and documentaries in 2016. If art imitates life then surely it must mean that it’s the end of the world as we know it , and climate change is taking us all down with it.

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