We’re sending love and prayers out to all those affected by the recent extreme weather events 💚
Landslides, flooding and high winds have decimated farms, communities, homes, and businesses. Countless families are without homes, dry places to sleep, and a plan for surviving the next few months.
Many people’s lives will never be the same.
As communities band together to clean up the mess, and we see the real extent of the damage - it seems a huge amount of Aotearoa's main fruit & vege production areas have been heavily impacted. Some are not even sure where to begin with cleaning up - the question remains of the viability of even continuing at all.
As water swelled around the Mangaroa River (see image above) during cyclone Gabrielle we were reminded that this area was once an ancient thriving wetland ecosystem with a diverse ecosystem and giant swamp Kahikatea up to 600 - 1000 years old.
It is estimated that only 5% of Aotearoa’s indigenous Wetlands remain. Many of these low lying areas have been cleared in the last few hundred years for farming and urban development.
Cleared as perfect, fertile areas for growing kai.
In the last few weeks we have seen many farms / urban areas on the East Coast absolutely devastated, and countless others still underwater. Many of these regions were likely once thriving wetlands.
These giant “carbon sponges’ (usually near a river and flat lowland areas) absorb and store large amounts of carbon dioxide, and also act as an extreme buffer and natural filter for excess water, absorbing into the canopy, undergrowth, and guided to streams and rivers, and deep into the earth via underground soil & root systems.
As colonial ancestors cleared land and commercially extracted ancient native timbers, the land was left bare for farming, or replanted with a monoculture of Pine. Our 'business as usual' practices through forestry, farming and urbanization have degraded these once ancient water catchments of diverse forests, wet lands, and underground soil sponges that would usually guide excess rainfall - and turned them into pooling water sheds.
Excess water has nowhere to go except wash across the surface, taking with it precious topsoil (the very thing we rely on to survive) and anything else in its way - creating huge sediment washouts metres deep, and destroying additional ecosystems by smothering and choking river and sea-bed life.
We are now suffering the inter-generational impacts of consequences of these practices.
It is a type of commercial destruction that we will be paying for for decades - and what is it going to take for us to change?
These kinds of extreme events are not going away, this was not just a 'wet week.'
These events are an indicator of what is coming.
We may be headed to bigger more intense rain events, both wet and dry.
As caretakers of Mangaroa Farms we have the opportunity to generate our carbon soil sponge to hold water and build resilience against, so that we are in a better position to withstand what is inevitably coming at us.
Food prices are increasing.
Farmers giving up after sustaining massive damage & financial loss.
Where will our food come from?
Now is the time for us to localize food production in a meaningful way. To look at what we need to do to develop local, secure, and resilient food production systems.
In the early 1900s, Upper Hutt was once considered the 'bread basket' of Wellington, supplying kai for the surrounding area. Our vision for Mangaroa Farms is feeding people in a sustainable way, whilst simultaneously restoring the harm that we have done as rural and city dwellers.
All of this calls us into responsibility as individuals, communities, and corporations, to repair our entire relationship with Papatūānuku. The living, breathing mother that supplies us with all we need to survive.
To see ourselves as part of nature rather than separate from it.
To keep on planting.