Farming and sustainability – perhaps not an oxymoron?

26th July 2019

Kelly Koon has been traveling around the Waikato, Nelson and Golden Bay regions catching up with meat and dairy farmers. And she’s asking them some probing questions.

It’s mainly about their farming practices. And yes – Kelly says she has truly been encouraged by their responses.

Her question – Does faith impact the way they treat the land and the animals they work with? She is also asking if faith informs their definition of what it means to be sustainable.

There is a vast divide at many levels among Christians and their engagement and care for the environment.  However, often this divide is thought to be bigger within the farming community.

Kelly, however, disagrees – by meeting with farmers and hearing their stories she says – “I have been humbled in the realisation that the majority of farmers see their land and their animals as intimate parts of themselves and their work”.

“Sustainability, while very much seen as an environmental issue, is also something that holistically encompasses all of life – economics, personal and community. Their faith is practically grounded within all they do and how they do it. They do realise that mistakes have been made in the past but that there is an opportunity to leave the land better than they found it.”

Kelly is currently working on her Master’s in Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. Her research focuses on farmers in New Zealand who are Christian and their sustainable agricultural practices. Some of her research/fieldwork has been supported by A Rocha Aotearoa New Zealand.

Check out this video to find out how the people of Whaīngaroa/Raglan, including local farmers, have worked together to clean up Whaīngaroa Harbour.

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