A Veterinary Approach to Sustainable Food and Farming

Are you ready to support meaningful change for a sustainable future?


Registration open now. First live tutorial Friday 28 June 2024 at 6am (NZDT).

Duration: Self-paced

Location: Online


The world is facing a multitude of complex and interconnected challenges, many of which present existential threats to human society, the animals we care for, and the environment. It has never been more important to utilise the skills and influence we each have to support meaningful change for a sustainable future.

We increasingly understand the impacts that some farming practices can have on the environment. A sharp decline in biodiversity has been attributed to land use change for agriculture, and concerns are rising around the environmental impacts of overfishing and certain aquaculture practices. At the same time, climate change is making our food systems more fragile, and our global population continues to rise, applying increasing pressure on our planet’s boundaries as well as on public health and animal welfare. We rapidly need to become more sustainable in our approach to producing, distributing and consuming food and other agricultural products, including those derived from animals.

As veterinary professionals, we are in a unique position to take action and inspire others. As farm animal health professionals, we have privileged access to the farming businesses that represent our food system, the unrivalled trust of our clients, and a multidisciplinary skill set. With these tools, we are in an ideal position to help develop the sustainable food and farming system we need to meet the nutritional needs of our growing population, combat climate change, regenerate ecosystems, secure rural livelihoods and safeguard animal welfare.

A Veterinary Approach to Sustainable Food and Farming will empower veterinary professionals working with farm animals to unlock their unique toolbox of skills and knowledge to help producers attain multiple sustainability objectives – for the benefit of the animals under our care, rural communities, wildlife and the wider environment. The course offers a step-by-step actionable guide to food system sustainability and our opportunities for embedding these principles into our daily veterinary work. 


  • Veterinary Professionals in Sustainability
  • The Sustainable Practitioner
  • Sustainability Challenges and Opportunities in Food and Farming
  • Farming Systems of the World
  • Better Farming


Ruth Clements BSc Hones, BVM&S, MRCVS 

Ruth Clements graduated as a Veterinary Surgeon from Edinburgh University in 2008 and has a degree in molecular biology. Ruth livers in Oxfordshire with her husband, daughters and an assortment of animals. She started working in sustainable agriculture in 2002, joining FAI Farms full time in 2010 leading their veterinary sustainability programmes. She continues to work for the Benchmark group to date. Ruth developed a holistic management framework to tackle lameness in sheep and the resulting "5 Point Plan" approach has been accepted by industry stakeholders as the national control strategy against this disease, with prevalence levels and associated antibiotic use in the UK steadily declining.  She now takes these principles across agriculture, looking towards tackling some of the most challenging disease-based blockers to sustainable production in various sectors. Ruth has been involved in the creation and evolution of Vet Sustain and has a strong interest in the development of farming systems and innovative health management. She now chairs the Food and Farming Working Group for Vet Sustain and sits on the scientific advisory group for Roslin Technologies Ltd.

Lewis Griffiths BVMS MBA MRCVS

Lewis Griffiths graduated from Glasgow University in 1978 and initially returned to his native west Wales to work ion mixed, predominantly dairy practice. Having immigrated from Wales to New Zealand in 1990, he formed Riverside Veterinary Services in Ashburton and supervised the rapid growth of this practice into one of the largest in New Zealand at the time. Lewis was awarded an MBA from Canterbury University in 2005. In recent years, Lewis has developed a growing interest in climate change and sustainable agriculture and this has led to his role with VetSalus. Lewis is convinced that the veterinary profession has a major contribution to make in the "race to zero".

Alexandra Tomlinson MA Vet MB MSc PhD Dip ECZM (Wildlife Population Health) MRCVS

Alex Tomlinson qualified as a veterinarian from Cambridge University in 1992. After spells in mixed practice and a teaching position at Hartpury University, Alex specialised in wildlife health, beginning with an MSc in Wild Animal Health from the Royal Veterinary College/Institute of Zoology, followed by a position as a wildlife pathologist. From there, she progressed to a PhD from Liverpool University, studying the epidemiology of bovine tuberculosis in free-living badgers at Woodchester Park in Gloucestershire. Since 2013, Alex has been self-employed, working on wildlife conservation projects with Wildlife Vets International, as a veterinary consultant for the Food Animal Initiative (FAI), and most recently working with sankalpa on regenerative food systems and their role in supporting human, animal and environmental health in the widest possible sense. 

Any questions?

You will be supported throughout the course by our Community Coordinator and Course Facilitator, who will contact you on enrollment and address any queries you have throughout your learning journey. For any generic enquiries about Vet Sustain or our partners, please contact hello@vetsustain.org.


Register by emailing hello@vetsustain.org or via the link at the top of the page (NZVA members can use the code NZVA10 to receive 10% off the purchase price).