In February 2020, a half day introduction to Regenerative Agriculture and its relevance in the global marketplace was held in Inglewood. This event was organised to help grow an awareness and shared understanding of the potential role Regenerative Agriculture could play in the region. 

Convened by Fiona Young of ReGenerative Solutions, in conjunction with Venture Taranaki, the event responded to themes identified in the Taranaki 2050 Roadmap, which sets out the vision for the region in 2050. 
 
While the idea and principles of regenerative farming are gaining widespread use and awareness - Amazon pegged it as the #1 food theme for 2020 - Fiona noted some of the biggest barriers we face are a lack of understanding and thus appreciation of its relevance to New Zealand.
 
The event drew a sizeable crowd from across the rural, food production, landcare, community leadership and other sectors, who heard from a range of engaging speakers – click the links below to view slide decks made available from this session. 

MC’s and Facilitators for the day were Trish Rankin – NZ Dairy Woman of the Year 2019, and Founder of www.porohita.co.nz and Fiona Young - ReGenerative Solutions

The Regenerative Agriculture conversation is just beginning in earnest in Taranaki, and will continue to gain momentum. If you’re interested in being part of this discussion, trialing or transitioning to Regenerative Agriculture or learning more, contact Fiona Young at TaranakiRegenAg@gmail.com.


Speaker Presentations

Food and Fibre
Justine Gilliland, CEO, Venture Taranaki

Venture Taranaki is facilitating a just transition to a low-emissions future, and the food and fibre industry is a key element of this plan. This pathway is aimed at a balanced mix between dairy, beef and lamb plus alternative uses of fertile land, including horticulture and tourism and developing complementary food and fibre value chains for the region.

View presentation >>


Fit for a Better World 
Julia Jones, New Zealand Primary Sector Council & NZ Stock Exchange

Julia Jones and the ‘Fit for a Better World’ initiative from the Primary Sector Council sees New Zealand’s opportunity for producing food more regeneratively as an asset in the international foodstuff marketplace. To leverage this, the agricultural industry must listen to the consumer, whose expectations are increasingly driven by health and wellbeing, social impact, experience, and impact on the planet. These themes must become central to New Zealand's food production story.


Global Market Trends
Hugh Good, Global Market Intelligence and Research Manager – Beef + Lamb

New Zealand’s red meat sector will likely be impacted by macro trends including aging populations, the impacts of climate change, and a rise in trade protectionism. Alongside these impacts the importance of the consumer, with personalised diets and extensive information available online is on the rise. For these reasons, the red meat industry is becoming hyper visible. Regenerative Agriculture has the potential to satisfy consumers’ appetite for sustainable red meat that is able to compete with meat-free alternatives, such as the Impossible Burger.

View presentation >>


Regenerative Agriculture: Digging Deeper 
Jules Matthews, Regenerative Agriculture Coach, Integrity Soils

Originally from Taranaki, Jules has farmed and worked in the agricultural sector for over 40 years in NZ and abroad.  She works with Integrity Soils globally as a regenerative agricultural coach and educator to help farmers transition to wholistic farming systems and adopt regenerative practices. Outlining the core principles and practices, Jules described the benefits to ecological, economic and social outcomes that aid farm systems to be more resilient, healthy and profitable.  Jules provided case studies of farmers who are making these shifts within existing budgets, with extensive benefits.

View presentation >>


A Regenerative Farming Journey
Miah Smith, Dairy Farmer, South Waikato (originally from Taranaki)

Miah Smith shared his journey in employing Regenerative Agriculture techniques on his Dairy Farm in Atiamuri. Thin topsoil and grass root systems on their undulating hill country farm was presenting challenges and stress in times of summer drought, rain and winter. This situation has been improving considerably with the gradual introduction and trialling of regenerative farming techniques.  Animal health has also improved significantly, as has resilience and recovery from drought conditions, as observed especially this Summer.  All the while keeping profitability in check.


The Scientific Validation: Where is it currently for Regenerative Agriculture and What’s Needed? 
Gwen Grelet, Lead Research Scientist, Maanaki Whenua/Landcare Research

Originally from France, Dr Gwen Grelet has worked in Scotland, Canada and the USA prior to moving to NZ in 2010. Dr Grelet’s extensive track record in soil-plant and molecular ecology has been the foundation upon which she has developed a collaborative research portfolio that is seeking to scientifically evaluate the potential benefits of Regenerative Agriculture across three ‘pillars’ (environmental, economic and social). Gwen gave an overview of overseas results from both farmer-led and academic-led science investigations that are providing tangible data on regenerative farming systems and presented an update on NZ-focused studies that have recently begun.

View presentation >>


Verifying Regenerative Outcomes & Linking these to
Local & International Supply Chains 
Erin Crampton, Prairie Pasture Hub, Canada

Visiting New Zealand on a Global Impact Visa (as an Edmund Hillary Fellow), Erin is working to transfer learnings from rural Canada, the US and Australia to NZ. She is part of the Savory Institute's Global Network, which focuses on supporting farmers moving into and enhancing a regenerative farming approach and verifying regenerative outcome measures for consumers. 

The Savory Institute has developed an Ecological Outcome Verification (EOV) monitoring protocol that farmers can use in a collective network.  It benchmarks environmental outcomes in regions that share similar rainfall, soil types and weather patterns, then scores individual farms in that region against the benchmark.  This scoring allows farmers to know if their land is moving towards regeneration.  Farmer cooperative initiatives are emerging around the world.  Verification systems are being successfully introduced that are providing evidence for farmers, producers, sellers and consumers that their production processes are improving the quality of the environment in which they are situated. 

Erin shared inspiring examples of farms in North America that have become carbon negative and Australian farm collectives which are showing leadership in verifying regenerative outcomes, and via this, generating profitable market supply chain opportunities that have great potential for NZ as well.

View presentation >>


Funding potential via MPI and Maori Agri Business
Glen Katu, Senior Advisor, Agriculture & Investment Services, Tapuwae Ahuwhenua, Maori Agribusiness, Ministry of Primary Industries 

Glen described the Ministry of Primary Industries’ interest in farming practice changes that offer positive potential for our land, water, air, biodiversity, animals and people. He sees good potential for Taranaki farmers to take steps in this direction and shared information regarding potential funding streams available for farming, food and fibre interests in the region. Glen indicated that there is appetite from MPI to assist the transition to Regenerative Agriculture where a regional or collective approach is deployed.  The more farmers interested in trialing and learning about Regenerative Agriculture, the more opportunities for funding support from MPI.


Upcoming Events

WORKSHOP: Building Resilience into Farm Systems with Jules Matthews of Integrity Soils – 29 April 2020 
POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19.


For more information and to sign up for notification of future workshops and webinars, contact Fiona Young at TaranakiRegenAg@gmail.com