Blog

Toward a European Common Food Policy

The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) are pathfinders, shining a light on the deficiencies of industrial food systems and lighting the path to sustainable food systems. Their latest publication Towards a Common Food Policy for the EU is the result of  3 years of collaboration that provides a compelling roadmap for Europe with … Continue reading Toward a European Common Food Policy

Fruit tree guardians case study

CASE STUDY 1.  Fruit Tree Guardians, Wellington City Council               08/02/2019 This case study gathers the learning so far from the Fruit Tree Guardians project. Improving access to fresh fruit by supporting people to grow fruit trees in public places. The opportunity – the problem, opportunity and response The Fruit Tree Guardian Programme was set … Continue reading Fruit tree guardians case study

Kiss the Ground – Carbon Clarity

First published on Tai Tokerau Climate Change Action. The Soil Story, created by Kiss the Ground outlines with absolute clarity how people have upset the carbon balance by burning fossil fuels and industrial agriculture. Kiss the Ground is a movement started in 2013. Its mission is "Inspiring participation in global regeneration, starting with soil". The website's … Continue reading Kiss the Ground – Carbon Clarity

One billion trees

The new government want to plant 100 million trees over 10 years to support achieving our climate change commitments. Northland has roughly 5.1% of New Zealand's land area, so that equates to about 5.1 million trees for Northland per year. Of course we should probably have more, as we don't have snow here and trees will … Continue reading One billion trees

Power Plant opens

A couple of years ago it was difficult to find any restaurants or cafes who proudly proclaimed their support for local produce. Things have changed. This month two new Whangarei food sellers advocating for local food have opened. "Down the Road" featured in an earlier post. Around the same time "Power Plant", a wholefood and … Continue reading Power Plant opens

Feeding the world

The convergence of rapid population growth and climate change threaten our ability to feed everybody. But our thinking about solutions has been a monocultural reflection of how we grow our food. A recent Guardian article suggests switching to organic farming could cut greenhouse gas emissions and still feed the world. What we don't need We don't need … Continue reading Feeding the world

Trees and dairy

We have to deintensify dairy for a whole lot of reasons. Uppermost in public discourse is water quality, but also intensification has to be sustained by increased inputs that place a burden on the environment. For example, imports of palm kernel meal has risen from 96 metric tonnes in 2003 to 1,600 metric tonnes in … Continue reading Trees and dairy

Are we moving to a more local democracy?

The New Zealand Initiative (NZI) released their Go Swiss report last Monday. The NZI is a right leaning think tank, but the Executive Director, Dr Oliver Hartwich identifies subsidarity, exemplified by Swiss governance, as a feature of our new coalition government. Subsidiarity means that problems should be solved at the lowest possible level. Where a … Continue reading Are we moving to a more local democracy?

Election outcome a great result for MMP and sustainable food systems

Our new government, led by Jacinda Adern is a win for MMP and sustainable food systems. A win for MMP and the evolution of governance To form a government in New Zealand a party has to obtain a majority of seats. In a mixed member proportional (MMP) government, any party will need to work effectively … Continue reading Election outcome a great result for MMP and sustainable food systems

Sugar feeds cancer and addiction

Sugar feeds cancer cells. This is the key finding of a nine year research project published in Nature Communications. This article summarises the findings. And today on Radio NZ Jesse Mulligan interviewed Robert Lustig about the various ways that we are addicted, and sugar is possibly the most ubiquitous addiction. Here is the interview. Robert … Continue reading Sugar feeds cancer and addiction

Let me count the ways… food makes us sick

A new report from the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food (IPES-Food) outlines how industrial food and farming systems are making people sick in a variety of ways. An Overwhelming Case for Action lead author Cecelia Rocha says "Food systems are making us sick. Unhealthy diets are the most obvious link, but are only one of … Continue reading Let me count the ways… food makes us sick

Miraka milk showing the way

New Zealand has just been through a parliamentary election and elections breed dichotomies like still water breeds mosquitoes. We saw the town/country, farmer/environmentalist, economic growth/environment dichotomies in play. If you are the champion of one side, dichotomous thinking encourages you to be the enemy of the other side. One of the biggest issues was around … Continue reading Miraka milk showing the way

Reclaiming our waterways

Only San Francisco harbour is bigger than the Kaipara Harbour. And the Kaipara has the longest shoreline of any harbour in the world. I grew up near the Northern Wairoa river that flows into the north end of the Kaipara. The water is brown, drenched in colloidal sediment that doesn't settle. I was told the … Continue reading Reclaiming our waterways

Bananas and climate change

The question is not "is climate change happening?" The question is, "what are we going to do about it?" Some people continue to deny it, others choose to look the other way and hope it will go away, and another group only want to take action if it doesn't interfere with economic growth. In his … Continue reading Bananas and climate change

Food policy from our election candidates

The Northland Food Policy Council is asked political candidates from the Far North, Rodney, Te Tai Tokerau and Whangarei electorates five questions. Their responses are published here at Local Food Northland. Please pass this link on through your networks. Here are links to the candidates' responses. Each electorate has its own webpage. Northland (1 out … Continue reading Food policy from our election candidates

The food solutions to climate change

Wow. Who would have thought that there are so many ways that we can reverse climate change. The Drawdown project, led by Paul Hawken is a game changer.  His project team details 80 ways we can take carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere. Drawdown is the point where globally we start to reduce atmospheric … Continue reading The food solutions to climate change

Building momentum towards a sustainable food system

Every project I'm involved with aspiring to move from an industrial food system to a sustainable food system reinforces the critical importance of connecting people. In Northland we have a lot of organisations aspiring to improve our food system. They range from environmental groups and landowners working to improve waterways, health workers, farmers and growers, … Continue reading Building momentum towards a sustainable food system

Child obesity – another damning report

Hot on the heels of the New Zealand Beverage Guidance Council released a policy brief on a sugary drink tax comes the University of Auckland's Health Food Environment Policy Index. Professor Boyd Swinburn claims the Government lacks the political will to stand up to the food industry and push the necessary policies through. Professor Swinburn … Continue reading Child obesity – another damning report

The industrial agriculture “feed the world” myth

A video from Friends of the Earth International has some startling claims about how the need for industrial agriculture is overstated. This sounds plausible, but the problem is, I can't find this video anywhere other than Facebook - so it is difficult to find data that supports the numbers. And my attempts to link to … Continue reading The industrial agriculture “feed the world” myth

Sugary drink tax

The New Zealand Beverage Guidance Council released a policy brief on a sugary drink tax. In New Zealand sugary drinks contribute to 26% of the sugar intake of children, exposing our children to a range non-communicable diseases including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gout and dental caries. The policy brief also reports a link between … Continue reading Sugary drink tax

No more agrochemicals please

I've stopped using glyphosate on our land a couple of years ago - and I think that Papatuanuku likes that I am not pouring poison on her anymore. I only sprayed paved surfaces and now my efforts at weed control are more labour intensive - but its worth it. I know when I harvest food … Continue reading No more agrochemicals please

Lets make sugar an election issue

Eight countries, several U.S. jurisdictions and eight Island countries and territories have implemented taxes on sugary drinks (Wikipedia). In 2016 the WHO urged all countries to  impose a tax recommending 20%. Yet our politicians and health authorities seem to be asleep at the wheel on this issue. Jamie Oliver sums it up nicely. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot8LNlN-PGI And … Continue reading Lets make sugar an election issue

Local chocolate

The pending closure of the Cadbury factory in Dunedin is another step on the trajectory that big corporates take in the pursuit of their addiction to delivering dividends to shareholders. The closure is reputed to be part of Mondelez's efficiency drives as it moves production from first world sites to lower wage countries. Some foods … Continue reading Local chocolate

Urban food policy – a new iPES-Food report

The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (iPES-Food) yesterday released a superb report What Makes Urban Food Policy Happen: Insights from Five Case Studies. You can access the reports here. The five cities are Belo Horizonte, (Brazil) Nairobi (Kenya), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), The Golden Horseshoe (Toronto and neighbouring districts) and Detroit (U.S.A). Each city … Continue reading Urban food policy – a new iPES-Food report

Food Folly

Food was in the news last week highlighting a woeful lack of vision and leadership. If the consequences weren’t so tragic, it would be funny. They represent a failure of the industrial food system and of the health and political orthodoxy. 1. More sugar? The Ministry of Primary Industries wrote to the sports drink manufacturer … Continue reading Food Folly

Out of the (water) closet

I have finished reading Gut: The Inside Story of our Body's Most Under-rated Organ by Giulia Enders. It has challenged my identity. The microbes in me out-number my human cells ten times and I have about 100 trillion microbes in my gut! So am I a person, or a colony? Perhaps I should refer to … Continue reading Out of the (water) closet

The Northland Food Policy Network is underway!

These are the people that gathered at Northland Inc's Orchard on Saturday 27 May for the inaugural meeting of the Northland Food Policy Network. Saba Issa skilfully facilitated the meeting first leading us through an exploration of why we were there. Five main motives emerged: Supporting community based food systems projects, facilitated at the local level. … Continue reading The Northland Food Policy Network is underway!

Aotearoa Food Policy Network

This week the Aotearoa Food Policy Network was born! While we have been working on plans for a food policy council in Northland, there has been activity happening around the country. People and Groups in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, the Bay of Plenty and Auckland have, or are forming groups focussing on food policy. The Northland … Continue reading Aotearoa Food Policy Network