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

 

Great news for the Arctic AND the Antarctic!

Blog entry by Louisa Casson | December 7, 2017

Today is a great day for oceans at both ends of the earth. Last night, governments from around the world agreed to protect a huge part of the Arctic Ocean against all commercial fishing. Thanks to the millions of you who supported...

Samsung: fuelling climate change

Blog entry by Insung Lee | December 7, 2017

As extreme weather increases, the world is being forced to wake up to the realities of climate change. The good news is that every day more and more people are coming together, taking action to ensure a greener future for us all.

Can we create healthy oceans and tackle climate change at the same time?

Blog entry by Louisa Casson | November 22, 2017

“We woke up to the fact that there’s ocean change just like climate change. We need ocean action like there’s climate action.”   These words rang out at international climate talks last week, spoken by Peter Thompson,...

Plastic is Everyone’s Problem, So Why Are We Focusing on Coke?

Blog entry by John Hocevar | November 18, 2017

Coke is one of the most recognizable brands in the world and says it is committed to environmental sustainability. As the world’s largest soft drink company, Coca-Cola has a special responsibility to drastically reduce its plastic...

Fire and Rain

Blog entry by Rex Weyler | November 16, 2017

The year 2017 may become a historic milestone where the visceral effects of global heating - extreme storms and wildfires - finally reach public consciousness.   Homeowners Access Hurricane Irma Damage - 12 Sep, 2017 Humans...

Big oil is destructive in more ways than one

Blog entry by Bunny McDiarmid | November 13, 2017

This September I took my first trip to Russia to join the celebration of Greenpeace Russia’s 25 Year Anniversary. In big cities like Moscow, oil powered transport is a major source of pollution and greenhouse gases emissions. This...

Antarctic krill – not just whale food

Blog entry by Willie Mackenzie | November 10, 2017

Krill is whale food. In fact, it’s a commonly held misbelief that ‘krill’ in Norwegian literally means ‘whale food’. It doesn’t, but it’s still true. Massive swarms of krill, a tiny micro-shrimp in the Antarctic Ocean, provide the...

3 reasons this small country’s court decision will have a big impact on global...

Blog entry by Kristin Casper and Kate Simcock | November 8, 2017

Two years ago, a courageous law student, Sarah Thomson, sued the New Zealand Government over its weak climate targets. Now she’s made history. On 2 November, 2017, the High Court of New Zealand issued a game-changing ruling. It ...

5 peaceful protests that prove you can still change the world

Blog entry by India Thorogood | October 29, 2017

NBA players  kneeling  against white supremacy. Catalonians  marching  for independence. Quakers disarming Saudi-bound  jets . In turbulent times, it’s inspiring to see protest happening — but when change doesn’t come, even the...

We have one year to create the largest ever protected area on Earth

Blog entry by Greenpeace | October 16, 2017

In the words of David Attenborough, “Our planet is a blue planet”. With over 70% of our world covered by water, our oceans can be seen from across the solar system. It wasn’t long ago that the oceans were still believed to be too...

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