Telling our food story
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? In the past year, we have taken on the challenge of getting our food story out to urban New Zealand and our local and central government politicians. Along the way, we’ve discovered that a lot of people don’t really understand what goes into growing their food.
Horticulture and our growers have fantastic stories to tell, starting with the provenance of the food grown by family businesses, many intergenerational, who produce healthy food and care about the environment. They want to pass on their land and growing operations to their next generation in the best condition possible.
Consumers are now, more than ever, wanting to know about their food, where it comes from, and how it is grown. Many consumers are looking for a plant-based diet with healthy fresh food, and that is what we produce in New Zealand: sustainable, environmentally-friendly, healthy food. In New Zealand and many of the countries we trade with, there are high rates of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, and a healthy diet is associated with helping to address such conditions. We connect with 5+ a day on this, and our vegetable industry runs its own series of promotions to encourage healthy eating.
Telling the horticulture story is one of the most important functions that Horticulture New Zealand and each of the primary sectors’ industry good organisations undertake. Getting that story out from behind the shelter belts into mainstream media and through social media are what needs to be achieved. A good example of this is Horticulture New Zealand’s Instagram programme @growersofnz. Each week, we profile a grower and their produce that is in season at the time. We follow that up with a recipe using that produce. The aim is to get people to know who is growing their food, to understand the benefits of buying in season, and to have options for healthy eating. Instagram is the social media favoured by travellers and foodies, and we have a good following of New Zealand and international foodies and influencers.
In the past year, we have run a series of political and media campaigns designed to inform government policy choices and connect the New Zealand public at large with their food production. Our Country of Origin Labelling campaign has its basis in an independent survey we commissioned that showed consumers want to know where there food comes from, and they want to buy fresh and local. Consumers want to know.
And that is what we exactly what we are doing; telling our New Zealand food story to New Zealand, and the world.
- Mike Chapman, CEO