Wednesday, 10 April 2024 08:55

No rural/urban divide - research

Written by  Staff Reporters
According to new research, the urban-rural divide could be a myth. According to new research, the urban-rural divide could be a myth.

The urban-rural divide is a myth.

These are just some of the findings from Farming for Good, a new collection of social science research exploring New Zealanders relationship with farming.

Initiated by the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge, the collection is New Zealand's most comprehensive study of the social licence to farm, drawing on findings from five research projects conducted during 2022-2023.

"The Farming for Good research collection is about understandng where trust and connection is strong in our food & farming system, where it might be faltering and how to build it back," says Peter Edwards - senior researcher at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research and lead on the 'Connecting Food Producers and Consumers' research project.

The collection also launches alongside a social experiment. The 'Food & Farming People's Panel' brings the research to life. It asks hard questions of eight everyday people from across the food system - like how climate change makes them feel, what the farmer of the future looks like and how we solve New Zealand's food security issues.

Some of the findings across the 26-piece collection include:

  • Farmers and the public generally define 'good farming' similarly. Both agree that it's about transparency, looking after staff and animals well, maintaining biosecurity, decreasing chemical inputs and following regulations.
  • 82% of public respondents thought farmers themselves are the most trustworthy sources of information. Followed by scientists, some sources of media and farming industry bodies.
  • 65% of the public already feel connected to the farmers and want to learn more about on-farm practices, ideally from farmers themselves.
  • There is no deep divide between the general perceptions of urban and rural New Zealanders.
  • The two main concerns about farming across all New Zealanders are environmental impact and rising costs of food/farming inputs.
  • Rural and urban people both recognise a disconnect between them. They blame institutions - government, media and supermarkets - for this, rather than each other.

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