In Search of good food

You may have seen conversations happening around the community over the last few months about food, and more specifically good food. It’s part of a wider project currently underway to create a Food Plan for South Kaipara.
The project is one of the initiatives that came out of the community-led response to last year’s COVID lockdown.
In the first week of the Level 4 lockdown, a number of social service agencies including Te Ha Oranga, Kindred Family Services, Out West Youth and Parent Aid North West banded together to create a foodbank for people they knew would struggle over those unprecedented few weeks.
Over a year later and the Kai Collective Te Awaroa is still going strong. A manager has been employed and every week a committed and dedicated team of volunteers pack kai parcels to feed an average of 45 families.
“As proud of the Kai Collective as we are, and as impactful as it is, we know that it is not solving the bigger issue of food security,” says Ana Christmas of Kindred Family Services, one of the agencies involved in the foodbank collective. “We’re so fortunate in this area to have an abundance of food with farmers, hunters and the biggest harbour in the Southern Hemisphere right on our doorstep, and yet people are still struggling to put a nutritious meal on the table each night for their family, particularly when a crisis happens.”
The answer, it’s hoped, will come from the community. From people who have a few too many apples falling off their backyard trees when it’s picking season, to people who know how to preserve fruit and are keen to pass that knowledge on to others.
Community gardens is an idea that’s receiving a lot of interest. But there are other ideas like berm gardens where someone walking by would be welcome to pick a bunch of silverbeet, food co-ops so people can take advantage of buying in bulk, as well as ways to get food delivered for those who might struggle with transport to get to town to do a big shop.
The ideas don’t stop with growing food. It could go further, for instance a community kitchen or café that creates employment, runs cooking classes and has a pay-what-you-can menu.
Mike Bridgman of the South Kaipara Men’s Trust is also excited about the potential of the Food Plan. “Having people work alongside one another, at a community garden for instance, offers so much in terms of education, connection and community building,” he says.
There’s still time to have your say before the South Kaipara Food Plan is completed in mid-July. You can follow the plan on Facebook @southkaiparafood or visit https://linktr.ee/southkaiparafood to discover how you can get connected.
Rochelle Gillespie

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