Submitted by Riley Browning on the 2023 summer program in New Zealand…
This week was my first week in New Zealand. As I have been here I have been able to reflect on the differences in farm production and eco-friendly aspects of New Zealand compared to the United States. The biggest difference in farm production that I have seen so far is the open pasture farms that are here. All the livestock in New Zealand have full access to all the grass in their paddock. They are not given supplemental nutrients because they receive all the necessary nutrients from the grass in their paddock. Therefore, they are spending no money on feed. Whereas in the United States, all our cattle are fed a mixture of grass and supplemental roughages to equal the need requirements of our cattle. These dairy farms are just as efficient if not more than the United States in producing milk. The only food their cattle get is grass. We spend so much extra money on these nutrient supplements because we don’t have the space to allow our cattle full access to graze on all grass, all day, every day. Can we do better?
Another difference I have thought a lot about is something so simple that I think it can be implemented in the United States quickly. The dining hall of Lincoln University has a separate bucket from the trash for organic material to be thrown out. I have never been to a buffet in a university dining hall or another restaurant where there is a special bin for organic material. It all just gets thrown away with the other trash. I think we could easily have a dedicated bucket for organic leftover food material that all gets thrown together and can be reused into our soil to make more food.
The last thing I want to mention for this week is the blue water. I live in Delaware and go to the beach in Delaware. Our beach water is green or brown. You can see 1 inch into the water. In New Zealand, I can see multiple feet to the bottom of the water. The water is beautiful! What can we do to clean up our oceans? (Week 1).