The Clearwaters arrived in New Zealand in the 1830s and settled on the Otago Peninsula where whaling, farming and fishing sustained the family of six children. Like all families ,they prospered from the bounty of the land, and my generation has been no exception. While my ancestors helped drive many whale species to the edge of extinction, cleared bush (lowland rainforest) and drained swamps (wetlands), we now aim to work within the limits of our natural resources and seek to enhance and sustain them . The notion that “bigger is better" is not a view we share.
To borrow language from the Maori, we are taungata whenua, the people of the land, the stewards, just a small part of something much larger. In our efforts to avoid toxic chemicals, we use natural fertilisers, seaweed and kelp, thus enhancing the natural biology, physical and chemical properties of our soil. The condensed tannins and diverse plant species in our pastures provides a 'fruit salad' for our cows and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. We have more 'liveweight' per hectare (biological activity) underground than we have above. They all have a role to play - as have we. The whole farm system adds to the flavour of our milk and the dairy products that we manufacture.
Our system is not perfect. We often joke that our quest for sustainability is unsustainable! Sometimes living the dream is really tough. Balancing the farm with the family, tomorrow with today, and cash flow with capital, all starts with the natural capital that you and I share - this it the natural capital our children will inherit .
We are forever grateful to our dedicated staff, family, community and global community of which we are all a small part. We hope this has provided some insight into our philosophy, our food products and this generation of the Clearwater whanau and beyond.
Bryan and Jackie Clearwater. April 2014
Roundup herbicide and the impact on human health