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

 

2016 — The year in photos

Blog entry by Madeleine Smith | December 22, 2016

2016 was a challenging year for people and the planet. It brought many challenges that will continue in the year ahead — a changing climate, greedy corporations and politicians whose policies spell trouble for the planet. As we look...

Building a future for fish AND people

Blog entry by Dr Cat Dorey | December 21, 2016

You’d think it would be hard to get emotional about fish and how they’re managed. But at the 13th Annual Meeting of the Western & Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) emotions ran high - after five long days of tough...

Are there human rights abuses in your seafood?

Blog entry by Anchalee Pipattanawattanakul | December 21, 2016

Migrant workers from Cambodia and Myanmar are being used as forced labour in the Thai fishing industry. Using tricks of deception, non-binding verbal agreements and induced debt, these workers catch fish both for human consumption and...

Kayaktivists just took to the water for biodiversity – and for the communities...

Blog entry by Richard Page | December 16, 2016

Greetings from Cancun, Mexico where I am attending the 13th meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), perhaps more easily understood as the “summit for life on Earth". That the meeting is held in Mexico is highly...

"Our forest is shedding tears" — a Munduruku woman fights for Indigenous rights

Blog entry by Vânia Alves | December 16, 2016

On November 27, the Munduruku Indigenous People traveled from their home in the Amazon to Brazil’s capital to demand the official recognition of the Sawré Muybu Indigenous Land on the Tapajós River. The Brazilian government is planning...

The Anthropocene Debate

Blog entry by Rex Weyler | December 13, 2016

“A hushed hundred million years from now, all that we consider to be the great works of man – the sculptures and the libraries, the monuments and the museums, the cities and the factories – will all be compressed into a layer of...

Too long to wait: Russia’s Dvinsky Forest could be lost in a decade

Blog entry by Erika Bjureby | December 13, 2016

Home to eagle-owls, wolverines, brown bears, rare plants and animals, the Dvinsky Forest is one of the last remaining Intact Forest Landscapes in the European part of Russia. Intact Forest Landscapes (IFL) in Russia are huge...

So long as there’s climate change, every day is human rights day

Blog entry by Yeb Sano | December 10, 2016

When I decided to embark with others on a 1500 km, 60-day  pilgrimage  from Rome to Paris, culminating at the COP21 climate talks in 2015, the urgency I felt wasn’t just scientific or political, it was also very personal. After so many...

Ladies and gentlemen, meet The Great Northern Forest

Blog entry by Juha Aromaa | December 7, 2016

The Great Northern Forest has many names. Scientists see The Great Northern Forest as the boreal forest ecosystem - the global coniferous forest blanketing the northern hemisphere. The Russians traditionally call it “Taiga”. If you...

Protecting what protects us

Blog entry by Daniel Mittler | December 7, 2016

The diversity of nature is essential to ensure our planet remains habitable. That is why we need to stand up to all those who endanger the global web of life – those who plunder the Commons for private gain. Back in 1992,...

81 - 90 of 2715 results.