Ooooby began as an idea in response to the overwhelming evidence that our modern industrial food systems are causing more damage than they are worth.

At the time I was in the industrial food business myself, importing frozen breads for distribution through Australian supermarkets, and making a decent profit for my part. It was only when I was confronted with information showing that I was participating in a system which was responsible for many of our social and environmental problems that I began to take a new path.

The shift happened shortly after moving from Australia to New Zealand in 2008. I had made the move with the intention of exporting New Zealand food to Australia and Asia.

Shortly after arriving in Auckland I attended a presentation by Sue Kedgley, a Member of Parliament with a particular political interest in food.
I imagined that the talk might have been about New Zealand's national strategy to develop their food export opportunities. Little did I know that Sue would soon introduce me to a whole new way of looking at the game I was playing so well.

Sue had recently returned from being the NZ delegate at the World Food Forum held in Rome, April 2008.

This was a high level conference attended by over 180 member countries in response to an accelerating increase of reports which suggested a global food crisis.

Sue presented credible evidence that we are in fact entering a global food crisis and that the globalised food system was doing a great deal of damage in the social, economic and environmental arenas.
As I sat in the community hall listening to Sue's talk, it occurred to me that the chronic ills of our current food situation were caused by models and systems that had been built by people, like me, in pursuit of an evermore efficient and lucrative way of providing food to the people of the world.

As you can imagine, Sue's presentation was not the sort of information that I was looking for. In fact, if I chose to acknowledge her information, it posed a dilemma for me. Do I ignore this information and put it down to leftist sensationalism or do I take the bait and look further into this inconvenient proposition?

After a few months of investigating the current global food situation, I became convinced that local food systems are the way of the future.

Failing to persuade my existing business partners to change course toward local food, I chose to take a leap of faith and embark on a new venture by starting Ooooby.

Over the course of working on Ooooby and its associated projects, I have come to understand a little more about the nature and state of our global food situation. In a nutshell, here is what I have discovered.


1. Our many diverse local food systems around the world are rapidly being displaced by a globalised and centralised food system.

2. Locally owned, polycultural farming has been diminishing at an accelerating rate over the last 30 years in place of large corporate owned monocrops. Locally owned food producers and retailers are also being displaced by the same system.

3. The Globalised Food System sees the world through a 'one big farm' paradigm. We grow all the oranges in Brazil, all the bananas in Ecuador etc. The ecological problem with this paradigm however is that our ecosystem is built to a certain scale. For example, bees can only fly so far and companion plants can only give benefit within a local proximity. So it doesn't work long term (or at least not until bees develop the wingspan of a 747).

4. The counteraction to the problems caused by this ecological imbalance is the use of petrochemical pesticides and fertilisers which are in turn causing untold environmental damage.

5. Local Food Systems are an integral part of the social and economic fabric of a region. So not only does a community lose its ability to feed itself, it also puts its economic welfare at risk. More and more countries are now finding themselves in the position where they can no longer turn back and they can't afford to keep going.

For all these reasons and more, I believe that we are at a point in time when we need to rethink and rebuild our food systems.

Long term provision of nutritious foods to every human is a vision that cannot be achieved by our current means.

To achieve this we need to relocalise our food systems by addressing our staple food provision at a community and regional level and to also support communities from all around the world to do the same.

The good news is that a global unified drive to rebuild our local food systems has been slowly gaining momentum over the last few years and is now expanding rapidly throughout the world.

Millions are returning to their own backyards and embracing the once declining skill of food growing.

World leaders including the Obamas and the Queen of England are heralding the need for us to get our hands back into the soil to provide the nutritious foods that have been so sorely lacking from our processed and packaged supermarket diets.

Ooooby is one of the many initiatives working arm in arm toward local food independence globally.

Ooooby is a lifestyle philosophy embodied in its acronym. It is a wholesome food lifestyle with family, neighbours and friends.

To join this fast growing network of people and to show your support of this vision come and join us here.

(click on the share link below to forward this to your friends or copy and paste into an email.)

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Comment by Ricardo Oscar Marques on January 6, 2013 at 10:56pm

Good article

Comment by Tim Lynch on January 18, 2012 at 11:28am

Food Bill Enforcement

Letters to the Editor NZ Herald 12 Jan 2012

It is of concern that neither a Herald editorial nor any political responses have mentioned the iniquitous sections relating to enforcement in the Food Bill.

Section 274 provides that an officer may enter a place without a search warrant. Next, (even with out a warrant) they may use any force that is 'reasonable'.   

This is a very elastic term. It would seem that if the police were involved, they could be armed.

Section 295 states that a person assisting a constable or a food safety officer executing a warrant 'is protected from civil and criminal liability that a person does or omits to do'. So they can do what they want with impunity and immunity?

Those protected from civil and criminal liability include the chief executive of the ministry, all employees and agents of the ministry, or members, employees or agents of a territorial authority, and most startlingly, employees or agents of a 'recognized agency', which it seems, includes any private firm.  

Is this the sort of legislation that we want or need?

A P Holman. Northcote.


We can be 'EXCEPTIONALLY' thankful for people like AP Holman.

QSO; BA; Dip. LGA; Dip. Tchg

Comment by Murat Keskin on September 11, 2011 at 3:36am
Simply awesome guys...thank you!
Comment by Karen Bee on August 26, 2011 at 7:57am
Pete, what you have created here is awesome!There will be a world food collapse, and the time for personal responsibility for our food and ourselves is NOW! I think we are in big catch-up mode in terms of 'lost knowledge'. Learning and applying skills and biological systems take time; this means learning quickly, taking action, educating ourselves and others - the lead-in time to food production can be long - starting at the soils and local environment, but changing human thought before action is challenging too.  And all this is where you come in, Pete - what you have created here is extremely valuable, and leads us to a better way. Thank-you, I am looking forward to being a part of it. :)
Comment by Shona Cullen on November 25, 2009 at 6:01pm
Well - Pete - You deserve too pat yourself on the back, you could have exnored the whole thing and carried on making money, leaving joe bloggs none the wiser, as I for one dont listen to any thing politistans have to say, Although I do spend time in my garden, I wouldn't have known I was saving the planet! It must have been a differcult decission to make, GOOD FOR YOU!!!
Comment by Philip Machanick on October 12, 2009 at 6:45pm
It's a fun challenge to see how much can be grown locally but we don't have to be fanatics. The occasional import isn't the problem, it's the mindset that we are entitled to eat whatever we like, whenever we like and no matter the cost to the environment. The other thing I like about the Ooooby philosophy is rediscovering community. A world where we go everywhere by car becomes very impersonal. Doing more in our back yards and working with neighbours on solving local problems brings everyone together. That it takes a global technology like the Internet to make that happen is no irony; people wanting to do this are scattered all over the world and need to communicate. We are kind of reversing the old slogan to think local, act global.
Comment by Pete Russell on October 9, 2009 at 10:13pm
Thanks. Your comments are very encouraging. So now it's about coordinated action right?
Comment by Lynda Coe on October 9, 2009 at 12:05am
Hi there peter. Thanks for informing us about the situation we live in and ways to over come it. I recently watched a series of documentries on tv about a couple who encouraged a canadian town to try the hundred mile challenge.
They held a community meeting and discussed the idea of eating only produce grown in a radius of one hundred miles. This was to be for one hundred days. Interested parties signed up for it and 6 families were chosen.
First they went through the families pantries and fridges and took away all food that was from out of the 100 mile radius. ( The food was returned at the end) Then they had to locate and in many cases learn to cook local produce. The biggest thing that was misssed was flour, but even things like coffee, salt and spices were off the menu.

It was a real eye opener for me, but I feel that the families should have been given a chance to get a producing garden in before starting the challenge. To be thrown in the deep end, was really tough.
Comment by Theresa Dewse on October 9, 2009 at 12:01am
Thanks for the efforts you have gone to to develop the site. In my circle of friends I am often seen as the anal retentive eccentric who won't spray her produce with pesticides, who composts everything, who uses every disposable plastic at least twice, who has gates between neighbours and herself so they can feed scraps to the chooks and empty their lawn clippings into the compost its great to talk o like minded folk
Comment by Jude Simpson on October 8, 2009 at 5:06pm
There is enough food to feed everyone on this planet, but it suits the interests of certain dictatorships to keep their people hungry. People weakened by hunger and disease are unable to mount an uprising and challenge the government. These same countries are in areas where there is ongoing drought/flood.
We are blessed in New Zealand to have a friendly climate, and choice.


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