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

 

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,...

3 Things You Need to Know About the Dakota Access Pipeline Win

Blog entry by Mary Sweeters | December 7, 2016

Thank you, water protectors. Yesterday, the Obama administration and the Army Corps of Engineers denied Dakota Access Pipeline builder Energy Transfer Partners the final permit it needs to complete the pipeline. This is a...

What will it take to protect the world’s fish and oceans for future generations?

Blog entry by Dr Cat Dorey | December 2, 2016

I don’t speak tuna . And I fear my ability to sign in shark could be fatally misconstrued. But next week when people from all around the Pacific and beyond meet in Fiji to discuss the future of fisheries in the region, our finned...

Where is the hope?

Blog entry by Rex Weyler | December 1, 2016

I’m not sure we can win with logic.  How do we reverse species loss, climate change, toxins, general overshoot of Earth’s generous habitats? We have the science, but humanity at the large scale does not appear to have the political...

Four ways our forests must be part of the climate conversation

Blog entry by Jannes Stoppel | December 1, 2016

On a warming planet, forests hold the key to stopping climate change. Forest landscapes and agricultural areas can absorb emissions like a sponge. They take carbon dioxide from the air through photosynthesis, and store it in wood and...

Samsung, can you hear us?

Blog entry by Robin Perkins | December 1, 2016

Over the past week we've watched as thousands of people around the world joined our urgent call for Samsung to come up with a concrete plan to reuse or recycle 4.3 million Galaxy Note7s. From Hong Kong to Washington DC, you called...

When Mahy met Māui: Fighting for our endangered dolphin

Blog entry by Juliane Thern | November 25, 2016

Do you remember what it was like to be a child? Or have you recently watched your children, your friend’s children, or your nieces and nephews? Everything they see is new and exciting, everything seems possible, and everything can be...

Stand for Indigenous rights – and for the planet

Blog entry by Dawn Bickett | November 23, 2016

For centuries, Indigenous Peoples have been fighting to protect their lands and secure their rights in the face of colonisation, environmental destruction and violence. Today – with looming global environmental crises like climate...

Citizen science in action: open-source air pollution monitoring in Bulgaria

Blog entry by Teodora Stoyanova | November 21, 2016

Every day, we breathe in between 15,000 and 20,000 litres of air – enough to fill three hot air balloons in a year. This precious substance is made up of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% carbon dioxide. But what else is in the air we...

“It's about the people, not about the products” - the faces of PFC pollution

Blog entry by Elske Krikhaar and Jeffrey Dugas | November 21, 2016

Elske Krikhaar, Greenpeace International The first thing that went through my mind as I entered Jan and Ineke van Genderen’s living room was how close the DuPont/Chemours facility was. I could almost see it from the window. It is...

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