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Speaking Tour Launched To Change Hearts For Healthier Farming

Presenting unseen footage of the problems with intensive farming alongside practical ways forward and a vision for healthier agriculture

A speaking tour has been launched to change hearts and inspire healthier, less intensive farming in New Zealand.

Environmentalists Geoff Reid and Matt Coffey will take audiences on a journey through Aotearoa, presenting unseen footage and photography, to show the damage intensive farming is still doing to New Zealand’s land, water, animals and people.

They will be joined by Dr Alison Dewes, respected Agroecologist and Veterinarian, 4th generation dairy farmer and expert witness for regional plans around the country. Dr Dewes will guide audiences on ways forward to healthier farming in New Zealand that supports and restores the health of the environment, and the well-being of animals, people and communities.

“Intensification of our agricultural systems has overshot the natural, healthy limits of our shared land and water,” Reid says. “There are big animal welfare issues in the current system as well as significant risks to our own health.”

“People can find it hard to get their head around exactly what this intensification of our food production is doing to our rivers, land, people and animals. Aerial footage gives people the literal ‘birds-eye-view’, showing how these issues connect and how the health of people and animals relates to the health of land and water.”

Reid says the tour aims to inspire a change of heart in agriculture by showing how intensification is undermining the country’s health through dramatic footage of intensive winter grazing, and other intensive land use practices, alongside information on constructive ways forward for New Zealand agriculture.

“We not only need to understand the extent of these problems,” says Reid, “But create a new vision for healthy agriculture by providing meaningful information on solutions. For this reason, we are really pleased that Dr Dewes is joining the tour.”

Each event will invite local parliamentary candidates to share their party’s policies and vision for agriculture, freshwater, human health & animal welfare.

"It will take a change of heart to get us fit for a better world with a whole food strategy”.

About the speakers:

Dr Alison Dewes

Agrocologist and veterinarian Dr Alison Dewes is a fourth generation dairy farmer. Her Master of Science degree focussed on how Upper Waikato dairy farms could be profitable despite the lowest possible environmental impact. She won New Zealand’s Te Reo mo te Awa (River Voice) award late last year, presented by the Cawthron Institute. The award praised her role in raising the profile of water and rivers. In 2015 she was a finalist for the Woman of Influence Awards in Public Policy. She has worked for Nestle Australia and the Commonwealth Bank, and was Head of Environment for Landcorp until earlier this year.

Geoff Reid
Matt Coffey

Geoff Reid and Matt Coffey were driving forces in publicising the intensive winter grazing issue last winter. Newspapers, online outlets and television channels featured photographs and film of herds of dairy cows stuck in river-side mud in Southland. This led to MPI taking action to set up an Intensive Winter Grazing Taskforce to address the animal welfare issues. They are both involved in numerous other environmental campaigns all with the goal of achieving a healthier, thriving environment in Aotearoa.

Tour dates and information:

18th August 6.30pm
Smiths - Craft Beer House, 53 Shotover Street Level 1

24th August, 6pm
Pequeno Lounge Bar, 50 Princes St
Special Guest: Dr Paul Tapsell

26th August, 6.30pm 
Exchange Christchurch (XCHC)
376 Wilson Road, Christchurch

27th August, 6.30pm
Mapua Community Hall

Golden Bay 28th
7pm, Saturday 29th of August
Senior Citizens Hall,
94 Commercial Street, Takaka

30th 3pm
Venue TBA

31th August, 5pm
Room: GBLT3, Pipitea campus, Victoria University.
Special guest: Dr Mike Joy


2nd Sept

Venue TBA

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