NZ Farmer - NZ dairy farmers key to new food revolution

Written by Gerald Piddock

City-based future food systems such as cultured meat and vertical farming will rely heavily on the nutrient and water management expertise of dairy farmers, Australian science writer Julian Cribb says.

Food production that took in the emerging innovations would shift to the cities, Cribb said.

For the new systems to succeed, all of the freshwater and wasted nutrients dumped into the ocean via urban sewage and wastewater would have be captured and used in the new food production.

This was where dairy industry expertise would be critical, he said.

"Dairy farmers have a lot of knowledge in this space, they know how to do it on their own farm and reduce the flow of nutrients into the river or the creek."

"The industry as a whole can scale this up to help cities such as Auckland or Shanghai or Mumbai or New York rethink how they deal with water."

Vertical farming will have food produced in vertically stacked layers in buildings to increase production and reduce run-off.

Cribb is a speaker at the coming Farmer's Forum at Mystery Creek along with cabinet ministers, dairy industry leaders and economists.

The biennial event on May 8-9 brings together political and economic experts to talk about sustainable farming, future food and farm practices and is expected to attract more than 700 farmers.

Cribb said new production systems were needed because today's agricultural system would not feed the planet by the middle of the century.