New Zealand has established itself on the strength of a clean, green image drawn mostly from the beauty, health and grandeur of its landscapes, waterways and clear air.
Much of New Zealand’s land and waterways are used for agriculture and production. To date, the link between the tourism economy and the agri-based economy has not been successfully married or managed in a regenerative way.
In many parts of the world, aspects of agriculture is perceived as harmful to the environment, with practices such as intensification impacting waterways, adding pollution to the air and reducing the long-term effectiveness or lifespan of productive land.
New Zealand, however, has a number of positive initiatives in place – regionally and nationally – supporting improvements and identifying better ways of operating.
One such initiative is One Health. Ahikā Journeys has adopted the principles of One Health as it aligns to our belief that with the right practices and vision in place, agriculture can be regenerative and sustainable. An approach that can benefit the land, the animals, environment and the communities who work in and around rural properties.’ Ahikā Journeys is looking to put the culture back into agriculture – showcasing the symbiosis between land, life and culture (families, people, food and more).
So what is One Health?
It is a virtuous self-reinforcing cycle that helps to improve the reputations of New Zealand producers within this country and beyond. It is about focussing not just on the monetary value of the agri-sector but also the esteem in which products are held. We believe this is communicated through the relationship producers have with the land.
Ahikā utilises the One Health framework to effectively set farming standards and mechanisms to review and help support the properties involved. Through One Health we help focus on developing systems for:
This aspect focusses on regenerative farming practices, reducing air pollution and waste management
See more on regenerative practices below.
Developing a sustainable water catchment management plan, that involves testing and not just adherence to industry standards but excelling in them.
Taking a proactive risk-based animal health and welfare planning approach. This aspect requires properties to adhere to the core concepts which the NZ Animal Welfare Act (1999) is founded on:
- Proper and sufficient food
- Proper and sufficient water
- Adequate shelter
- Opportunity to display normal patterns of behaviour
- Physical handling in a manner which minimises the likelihood of unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress
- Proactive documented animal health plans that are annually reviewed and risk assessed by a veterinarian to ensure protection from, and rapid diagnosis of, any significant injury or disease, – being a need which, in each case, is appropriate to the species, environment, and the circumstances of the animal.
Or more simply, proactive animal husbandry that results in truly happy animals.
Ensuring a safe and healthy workplace where a team feels supported, encouraged and rewarded is just part of this aspect of One Health. It is also about the flow on effect of a rural entity on suppliers, guests and the broader community that supports or, through employment, is supported by a rural property. One Health properties take care to ensure involvement with the community as valuable and respected contributors to the overall health of their rural property.
Agriculture is not the end in itself: it is part of a value chain that culminates in consumption – but to be successful we need to ensure our landscapes, our people and the animals are nurtured.