Two of New Zealand’s largest horticultural businesses – T&G Global and Zespri – are teaming up with science organisation Plant & Food Research on a new project investigating regenerative horticulture.
A new white paper, entitled Regenerative Agriculture in Aotearoa New Zealand – Research Pathways to Build Science-Based Evidence and National Narratives, sets out 17 priority research topics and introduces 11 principles for regenerative farming in New Zealand.
Lead author Dr Gwen Grelet, senior researcher at Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, says that although evidence is urgently required, regenerative agriculture potentially has an important role to play in New Zealand.
“Regenerative agriculture has huge momentum internationally in all parts of the food system. It is not a magic bullet but its grass-roots popularity with farmers and food consumers mean it has huge potential for driving the transformation of Aotearoa’s agri-food system to move our country closer to its goals.
Grelet says consultation found many areas of strong agreement between advocates and sceptics.
“It’s time to stop bickering and focus on identifying any true benefits regenerative agriculture might have for New Zealand,” she says.
The white paper is the result of collaboration and consultation with more than 200 people from June to November 2020.
Collaborators include farmers and growers, researchers, primary industry bodies, banks, retailers, non-governmental organisations, government departments, large corporates, consultants, marketers, overseas researchers and educators.
The project was funded by the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge, the NEXT Foundation and Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research.