- Date published:
6:05 am, September 24th, 2020 - 25 comments
Categories: climate change, election 2020, farming, farming, food, greens, sustainability - Tags: community gardens, farm for the future, local economies, relocalsing food, urban farming
More from the Green Party on their Farm for the Future policy. James Shaw spoke at the Waimarama Community Organic Gardens in Nelson last weekend about the importance of local food.
Typical of Green policy, this is both environmental and social, with benefits for climate action, Māori, health, and local economies.
The key points,
Shaw said the top of the South Island was leading the way in several areas, including the Te Tauihu Intergenerational Strategy convened by Wakatū Incorporation in partnership with the Nelson, Tasman and Marlborough councils; the business and education sectors, whānau, hapū, and iwi across the region.
“This is exactly the kind of approach the Green Party would like to encourage – it’s strategic, it’s intergenerational and it recognises the interconnectedness of our people, the environment and local communities.”
Shaw said he met with a variety of farmer groups on his travels around the country, from organic market farmers to large-scale dairy farmers and family-owned sheep and beef farms, and there was strong interest in a shift to more sustainable, higher-value ways of producing food.
“My experience is farmers just want the practical support and the tools to be able to make that transition. A number of them feel stuck, a lot are carrying significant debt loads but they’re keen to make that transition.”
I’m particularly pleased to see the point being made here about the value of having food growing spaces in urban areas. Urban farming is not new, we’ve been doing that since we started making towns and cities, but there is a renewed interest in recent decades and there are people now making a decent living from this as well as community initiatives bringing multiple benefits to communities.
Climate change and food resiliency issues mean that protecting prime food growing land from development is an imperative. Food security comes with having a diverse range of food growing systems, not just relying on large scale farmed food imported from far away.
Green spaces are also cooler in high heat and drought cycles (we should be planting trees too). There is still much fertile land in New Zealand being subsumed under housing and industrial developments as cities and towns spread. If we integrate urban and community farming, gardening and food forestry into our lived landscapes, then there is no conflict between housing and green spaces. Solving the housing crisis requires we build homes not just units, and we can close loops around urban development, food security, and housing.
Front page photo of Waiutuutu Community Garden.