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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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?

Localising food, climate change and the implications for food security in eastern Northland

By John Clarke The 2016 Climate Change Projections for NZ  predict that the eastern half of Northland will experience hotter, drier summers with less winter rain and frosts. Droughts will become more common, as will extreme weather events. Relative humidity will decrease and evapotranspiration will increase. I believe that planning our landscapes to meet these changes … Continue reading Localising food, climate change and the implications for food security in eastern Northland

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

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

Who to vote for in the DHB elections?

A big issue we face in local body elections is knowing who to vote for. For those of us interested in moving to more sustainable food systems, the District Health Board (DHB) elections are very important. Our health system remains largely focussed on dealing with primary health care based on orthodox approaches. The massive investment … Continue reading Who to vote for in the DHB elections?

Food recovery in Northland

Dr Laupepa Va'a of the Northland District Health Board (DHB) is working on a major project investigating the feasibility of a more integrated approach to food recovery. He is busy engaging people involved in food recovery and food access. Globally, we waste one third of food produced. The good news is that we produce enough to … Continue reading Food recovery in Northland

Jeff’s travels in Sweden and Denmark

Earlier this month Jeff Griggs returned from visiting Denmark and Sweden. Here are his reflections on his time there. Both are amazing countries that look after their people. Most are bi-lingual especially the young people. Very old histories makes New Zealand seem very young. They both have high tax rates that pay for a lot of social … Continue reading Jeff’s travels in Sweden and Denmark

A Local Food Northland conference?

Local Food Northland is in the early stages of planning a local food conference. A big part of the shift to a more sustainable food systems is working together - so the diverse people and groups that have an interest in food and health can learn about what each other are doing and build productive … Continue reading A Local Food Northland conference?