If you want to skip to the bottom, and visit a short little video of some really pretty Jerseys and an astounding view of the country side here
1) Most top quality New Zealand food is all exported (Milk and Lamb)
2) There really are not harmful animals here
3) They have a possum problem, which was imported and they DIDN'T bring in a predator to try to eat it, which could cause more problems, they just trap them.
4) For a country that is so green, they surprisingly enough do not have widely adopted composting programs and have run off and waste management issues here
5) There is very little litigation and its commonly held understanding that basically your life is your responsibility.
6) Three national languages: English, Maori, Sign Language
I find it most interesting that they export most of their milk and their beef and lamb. On the flip side of that is actually quite a cool thing. The dairy farmers actually only produce in accordance with the grass seasons. They don't try to make the cows produce lots of milk during the winter, when the grass is the best they send them out on pasture and have very small percentages of other dry feed in their diet.
*(some cows are milked during the winter for domestic liquid consumption, however the population is so small it is a very small percentage of total milk production, and often its quite costly to produce in winter, so they offer more money to farmers who do milk in winter)
I have a background in Social Science (and Business) from University. I can't help but be fascinated about the people. I see new places through the people and through the food. The people here seem to have a very laid back approach to many things. I have to wonder if its because the seasons aren't as drastic and there isn't a rush to finish something before the snow flies? They have a sense of knowing they will be provided for. There is abundance surrounding them, oceans full of fish, land full of avocados, lemons, grapefruit, oranges, every bearing strawberries. Tea tree and Manuka honey exist in abundance here too! The other part of this approaching life knowing everything will be ok, is the lack of very harmful predators. Aside from the occasional shark attack (which I think has happened maybe 2 times in 40 years - not official, just in talking to people). They really don't have predators here, I noticed as I walked into the forest at night to see glow worms, that I have an underlying approach of defensiveness, knowing there can be harmful things in the forest at night at home. It took me a few moments to realize that really nothing was going to harm me. (The most harmful thing is probably tourist driving... on the wrong side of the road!)
Both Maori people and kiwi people (European settlers) enjoy the fact that there are hikes and adventures right under your nose. You'll see people snorkeling, hiking (they call it tramping here) and generally enjoying the outdoors. I met a few of my hosts family and they are ocean people. I noticed how much of a land person I am when they started talking about how familiar they are with the sea, its like a second habitat for them. I am familiar with the land and land animals. They can hold their breath under water for crazy lengths of time. They know where all the crayfish are, how to catch large fish, when to fish, where to fish, when the ocean is dangerous, when it isn't. They are very much one with the ocean. I on the other hand, feel totally like an outsider in the ocean, I have no sense of what is a dangerous wave and what isn't. I realize this is how most feel when coming to the farm. It is part of me, it is in my bones. I became very grateful right then and there for my upbringing, my understanding of food and health and soil and animals and livestock. The woman hosting me right now calls me "the animal whisperer". She says wherever we go it seems there are always animals and they always want to come to talk to you!
Next up an interview with Mr. Joel Salatin - Food Inc movie star. - Be sure to subscribe to the Newsletter. I'll be releasing exclusive content there. Find out what he says is the biggest problem our world is facing!