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

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

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

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

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

Food evolution and health in Aotearoa, part three: Consumerism

The first post in this series explored colonisation, one of three formative forces in our food system. This post explores the impact of industrialisation. Industrialisation First up, let’s acknowledge that industrialisation has delivered massive benefits for humanity – the technology we enjoy, rail, road, sea, air and even space travel to name just a few. Is it […]

Conference videos are out!

Thanks to Channel North for doing a great job of covering our conference. Thanks also to Northland Inc for supporting production of these videos. This short video provides an overview of the conference. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1boDW6KnWOE&feature=youtu.be We are in the process of uploading videos and you can access them from our conference pages. Here is the first … Continue reading Conference videos are out!

Tropical Fruit Growers is on a roll!

On 8 April Tropical Fruit Growers New Zealand had their inaugural public meeting at Northland Inc's Orchard. Attendance exceeded expectations and now the TFGNZ has over 100 members. Here is Hugh's report from the meeting. Some images are added from the TFGNZ Facebook page.  What a meeting! Thank you everybody for your support and TFGNZ is all go. … Continue reading Tropical Fruit Growers is on a roll!

What is policy and how do we change it?

On the cusp of establishing a Northland Food Policy Council (or whatever we might call it) I have stumbled across a book that has thrown a lot of light on the policy universe. In How Change Happens, Duncan Green shares his knowledge as a long-time advocate for change. The book is available for sale, but … Continue reading What is policy and how do we change it?

Archeological evidence of pre-European gardens at Whangarei

Heritage New Zealand is hosting "a short archeological walk" that reveals evidence of both pre European gardens and early European settlement. Meet at the riverside of Hatea Drive opposite the Settlers Hotel at 12 noon on Saturday 8 April. Go to their website for more details.

The nutritional value of local bananas

Professor Barbara Burlingame provided a compelling case study about the nutrient content of local bananas at our February conference. Before returning to New Zealand she spent 16 years with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation including the last four as Deputy Director of the Nutrition Division as was closely involved with the research referred to here. Professor … Continue reading The nutritional value of local bananas

Banana maths – a Northland banana industry?

What would a Northland Banana Industry be worth to the local economy? Bananas are starting to appear regularly at the Whangarei Growers Market. Consumption per person per year (kgs)[1] 18 Northland population[2] 171,400 Total banana consumption (kgs) 3,085,200 Price per kilo[3] $2.99 Total cost of bananas consumed in Northland $9,244,748 There are many variables to … Continue reading Banana maths – a Northland banana industry?

The local motive

Thanks to all of those who attended our conference. It was all about supporting the shift to sustainable food systems, characterised by strong integration of health systems and primary production systems. We drew on the experience of those in the state of Vermont in the U.S. While it has a colder climate than ours, and … Continue reading The local motive

Food hubs

At our Local Food Northland Conference, we have a panel on food hubs. Most Northlanders don't have direct experience of food hubs, so this video from Farm to Institution New England illustrates how food hubs can support the development of local food production, the downstream economy and jobs, and consumers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVWUf2RwEMQ&feature=youtu.be

Managing agrobiodiversity and our conference

Professor Barbara Burlingame, professor of Public Health (Nutrition) is a keynote speaker at our conference. She has recently contributed to a chapter in Maintaining Agrobiodiversity in Sustainable Food Systems published by Bioversity International. Cover of Maintaining Agrobiodiversity in Sustainable Food Systems executive summary. Photo credit: Planting rice in Nepal. Bioversity International/Sriram Subedi, LI-BIRD, Lamjung. The executive summary of the … Continue reading Managing agrobiodiversity and our conference

Growing the sticky economy

The defeat of Labour leader Andrew Little's procurement bill is another reason to have a regional food policy council. The bill, Our Work Our Future, proposed an amendment to the the Principles of Government Procurement, and the Government's Rules of Sourcing to include two considerations, job creation and fairness. The bill was supported by Labour, the Greens, New Zealand … Continue reading Growing the sticky economy

Why the food movement is unstoppable

In this remarkable article Dr. Jonathan Latham outlines 5 reasons why the food movement is unstoppable: it's a leaderless movement it's a grassroots movement it's international it's low-budget it's a movement of many values. He asks "could the food movement be the missing vehicle for transformative social change?" His conclusion encourages those supporting the move … Continue reading Why the food movement is unstoppable

Fresh food co-op Onerahi hub

Story and photos by Jacqueline Low (thank you Jacqueline). Originally published in the September edition of the Onerahi Orbit. Since the article was printed, the Onerahi hub has opened! And in late September, The Fresh Fruit Collective achieved 100% local supply for the first time. Here is their Facebook page. David and Sylvia Moore of … Continue reading Fresh food co-op Onerahi hub

Northland Food Policy Council Hui

As part of our food re-localisation project we have initiated meetings with interested parties across Northland. This is about discussing options and developing membership of a “Food Policy Council” from a wide cross section of education, health, growers, processors and so on in Northland. The first took place in Waipapa and involved people from Four Seasons Farms (eco-biological production … Continue reading Northland Food Policy Council Hui

Change will come at the local and regional levels

There have been some great results in our local body elections. I am happy that Sheryl Mai has been re-elected in Whangarei. She is a supporter of Local Food Northland, hosting our first formal meeting in her office and is a strong supporter of the Whangarei Growers Market. Tricia Cutforth has been re-elected. She campaigned tirelessly … Continue reading Change will come at the local and regional levels

A new mid-week market

By Lesley A'Court Growers are planning a mid week market to provide a daytime and after work venue for business people and others who would like to buy the same fresh vegetables, fruit and produce they already enjoy on Saturday.  Prices will be basically the same along with many stallholders. Starting Wednesday, October 19th 2.30pm - 6.30pm at … Continue reading A new mid-week market

What is the value of healthy fresh food?

By Lesley A’Court Lesley is a well known local grower, selling delicious strawberries, fermented foods and preserves in markets around Northland. Image from Home Remedies Natural Cures Growing and gathering ‘food’ be it fruit, veg, fish, dairying, cereal or collecting honey as a business is a fulltime job. The results are what we all need to … Continue reading What is the value of healthy fresh food?

Food as medicine

By Dr Melissa Gilbert This is the first of hopefully many posts by Dr Melissa Gilbert. It was first published on her blog, The Integrative Doctor. I've read all the modern whole food books on the trendy bookstore shelves at the moment and I LOVE what's happening. I love that our attitudes towards food are … Continue reading Food as medicine