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Farmers' conference called to endorse sustainability

Media Release                               For immediate release                    20 February 2014

Farmers' conference called to endorse family farming for sustainability 

To be truly sustainable, farming systems must be socially as well as environmentally friendly.

This is the message that Brendan Hoare, the Chair of Organics Aotearoa New Zealand, and the convenor of the New Zealand national co-ordination committee for the International Year of Family Farming 2014, is taking to the 2nd National Conference on Biological Farming Systems in Rotorua today and tomorrow.

“Farmers today have a choice between producing high quality food that nourishes their own families and many other families – or producing bulk feedstocks for processing into products for the global industrial food system,” says Mr Hoare.

“Family farming is key to retaining the nourishing food option, because 3000 years of history show that wherever family farmers are replaced by absentee owners, and farm work is done by contractors, indentured/slave labourers, or low-paid machine operators, the natural environment and society are the losers.”

“In a world where contaminated food scares are becoming more frequent and severe, and where consumers are becoming more savvy about the dangers of pesticides, genetically modified organisms, processing additives and other legal but doubtful components in most industrially-produced food, there is a growing move towards seeking out food that can be trusted,” Mr Hoare said.

“Trust can only be built on good relationships and communications between producers and consumers, not on tiny type labels and advertising spin.”

Mr Hoare will be taking that message to the panel on 'Guidelines/standards for biological farming systems' at the conference at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon. He will be explaining why it is important that those producing trustworthy food consider the consumer's need to know why and how it is trustworthy, and become organically certified as an established guarantee for the sustainable production and quality of the food.

ENDS

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