10th November – The United Nations has turned a few Kiwi farmers into international role models for their efforts to combat water pollution and climate change by farming in a new way. Not long after Greenpeace launched a short film called The Regenerators featuring some of the leading regenerative farmers in New Zealand the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation approached the environmental advocacy group wanting to showcase the farmers.
The United Nations has just published a report based on the short film, and Greenpeace’s video has now been viewed nearly 100,000 times. Greenpeace’s agriculture campaigner Gen Toop says they are chuffed that New Zealand’s regenerative farmers are getting the recognition they deserve. “The farmers who star in our film have gone much further than just fencing off the odd stream and planting some riverbanks, they’re farming in a fundamentally different way and we believe their model is the future of agriculture,” she says.
“The way they farm is literally regenerating the ecological value of the land instead of stripping it away like industrial farming commonly does. It’s great to see the ground-breaking work these Kiwi farmers are doing is being recognised internationally by the United Nations.”
Regenerative farming is a way of farming which prioritises growing diversity and healthy soil and essentially works with nature and ecology not against it. Some of the techniques include: diversifying pastures, crops and animals, reducing costly and environmentally damaging inputs like chemical fertilisers and lowering stocking rates.
The farmers in Greenpeace’s video and on the UN profile are running profitable farms and report, more importantly, that they have a great quality of life. “Industrial agriculture particularly industrial livestock farming, is one of the world’s biggest polluters. But regenerative farmers are turning farming itself into the solution for clean rivers and a safe climate.
“With public concern over water pollution and climate change at an all time high, intensive dairying’s social license is all but lost. We believe that regenerative farming is really the only option for New Zealand agriculture going forward,” says Toop.
Despite global momentum behind this new model of agriculture, relatively little is known about it here in New Zealand. “The former Government and the farming leadership have ignored regenerative farming. Instead they’ve incentivized and supported intensive agriculture, which has polluted our rivers and caused huge public upset.
“After the video was launched we had farmers contact us seeking help to transition their farms from conventional to regenerative. The fact that farmers are having to come to Greenpeace for help makes it pretty clear that they aren’t getting what they need from their leadership
“Fonterra has been too busy spending megabucks on flashy ad campaigns trying to convince us all that everything is fine with the dirty intensive dairying model.
“We hope now that regenerative farming in New Zealand has received this kind of international attention, that the farming leadership and the new Government will start getting in behind it”