Author Archives: Moon Chen

Monday 21 June: Regenerative Agriculture’s Importance for New Zealand

Associate Professor Edgar Burns

Date: Monday 21 June 2021 at 6.00pm

Venue: EIT Lecture Theatre 1, 501 Gloucester Street, Taradale

Regenerative agriculture is a set of farming principles and practices that enrich soils and improve water quality and management. It is a farmer-led movement that reduces tilling, fertilizer and spray use, and increases ground cover. Regen ag shifts from maximizing production to maximizing profit, animal and farmer wellbeing. Environmentally, it approaches farming as a biological system. The term ‘regenerative’ acknowledges that simply being ‘sustainable’ at present levels of agricultural damage is no longer sufficient.

Dr Edgar Burns will talk about how regenerative agriculture could benefit New Zealand. He outlines the main features of ‘regen ag’ and gives answers to several questions: 1) How does this farmer-led movement support rural viability? 2) How does it mesh with government water and environment policies? 3) How does the media buzz compare with what critics say?
Social science research frames conventional science answers in new ways that include wellbeing and motivation.

Edgar Burns is an Associate Professor at Waikato University and currently Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chair of Integrated Catchments. He is also a member of the MPI (Ministry of Primary Industries) TAG (Technical Advisory Group) for regenerative agriculture.

Thursday 1 July: Fermented foods – what’s brewing?

Professor Steve Flint
Professor of Food Safety and Microbiology, School of Food and Advanced Technology, Massey University.

Date: 6.00pm Thursday 1 July 2021

Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, EIT Taradale

Admission: Gold coin donation

Steve will start by discussing the different microbes that are used to ferment food – yeasts, moulds and bacteria. He’ll explain the differences in fermentation results with wild microbes and those that are commercially available.

Fermentation has a long history in the food industry as a method to preserve natural sources of food. Foods such as cheeses, yoghurts, wines and beers are examples of traditional foods that are widely consumed today. However, there are changes towards a new range of fermented foods, driven by the potential effects on our health and the search for novel sensory experiences.

The latest Institute of Food Technology journal identifies some of the most recent trends in fermented foods in the USA. For example, sales of yoghurt fell by 6% in 2019, while sales of skyr Icelandic-style yoghurt jumped 23%. High protein fermented plant-based foods, such as tempeh and seitan, are attracting interest from consumers. Products such as Gochujang, a fermented Korean red pepper paste, is becoming a trendy condiment in the US. Fermented flavours such as miso, kohi and yuzu kosho are of growing interest. In the US, sales of kombucha grew 43% in 2018 and we are seeing a similar trend in NZ, with kombucha filling supermarket shelves. We appear to be entering a new era of consumer interest in fermented foods, providing new opportunities for the food industry.

Steve Flint teaches food safety and microbiology at Massey University in Palmerston North. He has a background in the dairy industry, having worked for the Fonterra Research Centre for 20 years before joining Massey University in 2008. Steve has a team of 10 research students working on various aspects of food microbiology.

Thursday 2 September 2021: Transforming the governance of freshwater: A case study of farmer and regional council change in Hawke’s Bay

Charlotte Drury

Director of View, a Resource Management consultancy

Date: 6pm on Thursday, 2 September 2021

Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, EIT Taradale

Admission: Gold coin donation

In New Zealand, two groups of actors are particularly involved in freshwater governing: namely farmers, who manage large areas of the countryside, and regional councils – the governing entity that has the legislative responsibility to manage the freshwater resources of a region.  

Based on the findings of her doctoral research, Charlotte will talk about freshwater management practices in the Tukituki Catchment region of Hawke’s Bay, and the regional council’s governance of farmland. The unexpected findings illustrate the raft of factors that shape freshwater governance, and provide some explanation as to why improvements in freshwater quality are yet to be fully realised.

Charlotte grew up on a sheep farm in West Otago, and studied geography and planning at university. Upon graduation she took up a job with the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, where for 12 years she worked within the policy, consents and land management teams.  In 2017, Charlotte left to set up her own planning consultancy, View Consult.  She undertook her PhD study at Massey University, while continuing to live and work here in Hawke’s Bay. She is passionate about freshwater and farming, having been involved with both topics both personally and professionally throughout her life, and was keen to draw those together in her study and career.