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Oliver Weber

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Growing for Good: A ‘Win-Win-Win’ Plan for Future Food Production

November 2022

Changing what we farm, and where, could provide all New Zealanders with a healthy diet with benefits to our water, climate, and the national economy, finds new research from two National Science Challenges.

The range of food we grow in Aotearoa, and where we grow it, is likely to change over the coming years, because of our changing climate and our responsibility to restore the health of our water and atmosphere.

New research from two National Science Challenges, published today, tested future scenarios for this land-use change to see whether it’s possible to design a ‘win-win-win’ plan for future food production. Could we produce the right crops, in the right places, to feed all New Zealanders a healthy diet, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions or freshwater contamination, and minimising the financial impact on families and farmers?

The short answer is yes, says Professor Richard McDowell, lead author of the report and chief scientist for the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge. “By shifting land uses in the parts of Aotearoa that are unlikely to meet water quality targets without land-use change, we would be able to meet our environmental targets,” says McDowell.

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Source: Growing for good: producing a healthy, low greenhouse gas and water quality footprint diet in Aotearoa, New Zealand. https://doi.org/10.1080/03036758.2022.2137532

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