Despite having an internationally renowned reputation for its meat and dairy industries, New Zealand is a great place in which to embark on a vegetarian lifestyle. A large amount of arable land means that crop growing has flourished here ever since the first humans arrived. With warm, semi-tropical temperatures in the north and dry cool days in the south, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables can be propagated here. Seasonal produce provides the backbone of a vegetable-based diet, and the New Zealand vegetarian is highly fortunate to have a range of different locally grown foods all year round.
Furthermore, this produce is generally widely available. Unlike countries such as the USA that suffer from “food deserts” (areas in which there are no places to buy food besides convenience stores and fast food chains), most New Zealanders live within commutable distance of either a dedicated veggie shop, or a supermarket. Because the nation is so small, supermarkets are able to get fresh produce quickly and stock a wider range, meaning even those who can’t reach a farmer’s markets can still find fresh fruit and vegetables.
It also helps that New Zealand has a sizable Green movement, rooted in a tradition of being anti-nuclear and pro-environment. While it’s still far from the mainstream, this has lead to a reasonable consciousness of vegetarianism, along with other alternative/natural lifestyles. There are many vegetarian-products and restaurants that cater specifically to vegetarians, and almost all general restaurants provide a vegetarian section on the menu.
New Zealand is also home to a number of societies and organisations that provide information and support for both seasoned and new vegetarians, to help you stay on track and change your lifestyle for good.
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