The Future of Food

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, October 1st, 2017 - 36 comments
Categories: Economy, Environment, farming, food, sustainability - Tags: , ,

Happen Films made this 6 minute short about Wairarapa Eco Farm. It looks at how the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model allows small farmers to step out of the market limits imposed by the agribusiness wholesale model in NZ, and how this fosters sustainable farming practice as a consequence.

 

 

36 comments on “The Future of Food”

  1. ianmac 1

    Maybe the day will come when all our food will have to come from the near locality. Then will come the universal Eco farm. Wouldn’t that be loverly?

    • alwyn 1.1

      I, like most New Zealanders, will really miss the most popular fruit sold in New Zealand.
      Why do you want us to have to give up eating the very popular, and very healthy I believe, banana?
      If we are only going to eat food grown in our “near locality” it will have to go.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        Yes! Because growing bananas here is impossible, I tell you!

        No, wait…

        • alwyn 1.1.1.1

          Where can I buy them?
          Surely if it is so easy someone will have them on the market?
          Or is it an almost impossible task to grow them without doing it in heated glasshouses, and commercial prospects are nil?
          I can remember people growing bananas outside in Napier when I was a kid. The were just a novelty of course with very small crops of rather woody and not very tasty fruit.

          • marty mars 1.1.1.1.1

            In one comment you illustrate all of the errors of judgment, the selfishness and unreasonableness of the attitudes and actions that have given us these challenges. Thanks.

          • solkta 1.1.1.1.2

            I buy bananas at the Whangarei growers market that are grown in Tutukaka and transported via electric car. They are a smaller variety and way yummier than the big crap ones in the supermarket. OK so this is a seasonal thing but fruit is a seasonal thing. This time of year is the most boring but that just means resorting to eating really juicy and tasty oranges.

            I usually don’t touch imported fruit as it has always been dosed with insecticide.

            • Psycho Milt 1.1.1.1.2.1

              I usually don’t touch imported fruit as it makes no sense to import things like oranges and mandarins into NZ so we shouldn’t encourage it by buying the product. Whatever traces of insecticide might be left on them are a potential health risk only to insects.

      • Psycho Milt 1.1.2

        There’s nothing inherently healthy about a banana, it’s a bunch of carbs and a few nutrients much like lots of other foods.

        Also: false dichotomy. Sourcing most of your food locally doesn’t preclude eating stuff that isn’t grown locally.

        EDIT: oh, sorry – I see you were responding to a suggestion that all food should be local. Can’t see that myself, short of a complete collapse of civilisation, in which case no bananas would be the least of our problems.

        • weka 1.1.2.1

          I can’t see any reason why NZ couldn’t continue to have fair trade bananas from the Pacific Islands, probably not on the scale we currently do.

          But the film points to the industrial food supply chain engendering unsustainable and harmful farming practices, whereas relocalising food engenders sustainable practice (think less pollution, GHGs, and more regeneration of soil and biodiversity). The more we support local food growers the more sustainable and resilient our food supply will be.

        • alwyn 1.1.2.2

          Thank you for the edit.
          Yes it was only the extremeness of the viewpoint I was objecting to.

          I don’t mind having most fruit and vegetables as being seasonal either. I really cannot see why we bother to airfreight asparagus into New Zealand when it is out of season here. I wouldn’t ban it though. I love the stuff but eating it from October to about Christmas is enough.
          I would miss my bananas though.

          • Molly 1.1.2.2.1

            “I wouldn’t ban it though. “
            You don’t need to. Just make people (like yourself) aware of the waste and pollution of food miles, add an import tariff to relect this global cost, and the market will decide. ie. the asparagus will be exorbitantly high in cost, and noone will want it.

            At the moment those costs are externalised and the price is effectively subsidised.

          • Stuart Munro 1.1.2.2.2

            Never mind the bananas – what about coffee?

  2. Ant 2

    ….and a resounding blow to big corporations and destructive capitalism.
    ‘Lets do this!’

    • Pat 2.1

      and there in lies your answer….if this is important to you buy only local and use your purchasing power to change the market…the impact will be more immediate and effective than waiting for an administration to regulate for such an outcome

    • Janet 2.2

      Exactly the problem that has hijacked and now blocks the commonsense approach to food production and supply in New Zealand.
      Support your local Growers/ farmers markets , your online local food coops – there are a few underway now- and the online direct from the farm fresh produce web site and we all start to win; growers , consumers and the environment we live in. We CAN do it together!

  3. Robert Guyton 3

    I’m in the Gibbston Valley, near Queenstown, today and yesterday, running workshops on this very topic. No one’s moaned about bananas yet. Everyone’s been very, very enthusiastic. The Happen Films people are lovely. They filmed Robyn and I in our Riverton forest garden a while back and that film, “An invitation for wildness” has been viewed over 400 000 times. I’d say eating locally grown food is rapidly becoming an important thing to do,

  4. Good stuff. Grow and eat local. Be community. together yet separate, connected and discrete. And stay away from a banana brick like alwyn – spoilers always spoil, like decay, it makes their day.

    • ianmac 4.1

      Years ago our local Supermarkets sold locally grown fruit and vegetables. Supermarkets changed policy. No market for locally grown stuff in Supermarkets in Marlborough. If they did it would be transported to Auckland then sent all round the country.
      We try and buy from local stalls but it is convenient to pick up a cabbage from the Supermarket.
      We are growing potatoes in holey buckets this year as our section is tiny. Try and beat the system.

      • marty mars 4.1.1

        Good one Ian. Here on the other side of the top it is cheaper to buy local now. Lots of extra freight costs to get it all over he hill. Added advantage to local growers. A way a lot of places will go as costs of moving produce will rise. Another factor is the ability to keep it fresh. So all in all I suspect nature, and the law of diminishing returns and the increasing risk and costs, to force people local and many places are already surviving that way now.

  5. Tom Barker 5

    Ah yes, the wonderful, universally ubiquitous banana. Here’s what Neruda thought of it:

    When the trumpet sounded, it was
    all prepared on the earth,
    the Jehovah parcelled out the earth
    to Coca Cola, Inc., Anaconda,
    Ford Motors, and other entities:
    The Fruit Company, Inc.
    reserved for itself the most succulent,
    the central coast of my own land,
    the delicate waist of America.
    It rechristened its territories
    as the ’Banana Republics’
    and over the sleeping dead,
    over the restless heroes
    who brought about the greatness, the liberty and the flags,
    it established the comic opera:
    abolished the independencies,
    presented crowns of Caesar,
    unsheathed envy, attracted
    the dictatorship of the flies,
    Trujillo flies, Tacho flies,
    Carias flies, Martinez flies,
    Ubico flies, damp flies
    of modest blood and marmalade,
    drunken flies who zoom
    over the ordinary graves,
    circus flies, wise flies
    well trained in tyranny.

    Among the blood-thirsty flies
    the Fruit Company lands its ships,
    taking off the coffee and the fruit;
    the treasure of our submerged
    territories flow as though
    on plates into the ships.

    Meanwhile Indians are falling
    into the sugared chasms
    of the harbours, wrapped
    for burials in the mist of the dawn:
    a body rolls, a thing
    that has no name, a fallen cipher,
    a cluster of the dead fruit
    thrown down on the dump.

    • Molly 5.1

      Read an interesting article many years ago (in the Herald of all places) about the United Fruit Company and the development of the term banana republic.

      Bananas lost a large part of their sweetness for me after reading.

  6. Ant 6

    Living for 3 years on an outer island of 520 souls (Cook Islands) approximated for us the ‘sustainable organic model.’ The supply ship was irregular and infrequent, local crops sporadic, fish catches unpredictable. We ate what was available on the day freshly harvested, slaughtered or caught from the sea.

    During spells of poor catches the islanders resorted to reef fish (patuki and marau),- small bony coral dwellers requiring great skill negotiating a myriad bones. We found ways of preparing them, developed patience eating them and appreciated all the more regular fare when it returned to the menu.

    Converted, here at our local fish shop we’ve been jostling Asians at the counter to lay our hands on lesser knowns; Frostfish, Ruby, Alfonso, Jack Mackerel. One cannot deny they are not as good as Snapper but carefully prepared bring amazing variety and interest to a fish dish.

    Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s fish fight program urged Brits to think outside the square and to try the lesser known species. This would take commercial pressure off traditional fish, bring some balance to the range of target species and open the way to new taste sensations.

    Hand in hand with vast food corporations are the cook books with shiny covers and shiny foods, keeping in place the imperative of conformity and the illusion of perfection.

    The “Happen series” are providing great insights towards how readily sustainable practice can be adopted.

  7. RedLogix 7

    We met these people a few times when we lived in the Wairarapa. The location of their original farm was not an easy location; the Tauherenikau Plains get a massive thumping from the westerlies blasting down over the Tararuas for much of the year. Spring is especially bad; truly it’s the kind of wind where the gusts will knock you off your feet.

    But the film shows just how much can be achieved with shelter belts and complex layering, while conventional farms all around them are probably running at much lower biological values.

  8. Incognito 8

    I know this post is about food but buying local is a good thing across the board IMHO. It would allow dealing directly with the producer of whatever it is that you’re buying. This would cut out the middle man and thus should make it cheaper, or maybe not if there’s an opportunity cost to the producer having to the selling (and marketing?). It might help to build trust in the product. Often you will also be able to view/see the production/manufacturing process & practices with your own eyes (e.g. employment conditions & environment) since it is local.

  9. mikesh 9

    I sometimes buy at a local ¨farmers¨ market here in Wellington. The goods are a bit cheaper than at the supermarkets, but I think this is probably because of lower overheads. I´m pretty sure they buy in from the same sources as the supermarkets and fruiterers. Some of the stuff they sell is obviously from overseas: bananas, watermelons, etc. Some of the fruit is labelled as coming from Australia or USA.

    I don´t know if we have a true farmers´ market here in Wellington.

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