Thinking outside of the square and challenging the status quo is and will become more and more important as we see challenges to the primary industries. The changing consumer preferences and urbanisation of our communities is and will continue to erode at the traditional way of farming and growing in New Zealand, and the world over. How do we combat this and retain a highly valuable primary production systems in New Zealand.
The simplistic answer is for us to evolve and change in line with consumer preferences and what is accepted by society, we can see this happening all around us. Cage free eggs in all major supermarkets by 2027, Low alcohol wines gaining a market share from relative obscurity only a few years ago, chicken free chicken and artificial proteins becoming available to consumers, that were highly expensive prototypes at the start of the decade. But what do we need to do to evolve?
The question then lies, “how do we keep ahead of the curve” and “how do we maintain relevance in todays society.” The answer to this is complex and not straightforward, but it all starts in one place, asking questions and challenging the status quo, not being content with how things are, or how they are progressing. Always asking why.
I will use the example here of looking to grow wine grapes in a semi-protected or undercover system. I have investigated and continue to evaluate this as part of my professional role as a viticulturalist, and for the Kellogg programme. Also I will try to understand the process of thinking outside of the square, as well as provoke thought about all our systems and processes, and encourage you to always be looking forward for a new and novel solution.