Exciting times ahead for North Canterbury as Food Secure North Canterbury (FSNC) group receive a large injection of funding from Ministry for Social Development (MSD)
An initial allocation of $690,000 over two years has been provided to work towards creating nourished and empowered communities, pioneering sustainable change for the future of North Canterbury through innovation, education and collaboration.
In our recently changed environment, central Government are partnering with sustainable food collaborators across New Zealand, to work towards supporting them to become food secure communities. Food security essentially means that all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food.
FSNC was developed out of talks in lockdown at the North Canterbury Food and Budgeting forum, when it was identified that a strategic plan to ensure future food security was developed for the community. Partners include; Satisfy Food Rescue, Kaiapoi Food Forest, Community Wellbeing North Canterbury Trust, The Salvation Army, Hope Community Trust, Oxford Community Trust, Social Services Waimakariri, Waimakariri District Council and Hurunui District Council. FSNC’s four main strategic cornerstones include Food Security, Access, Infrastructure and Engagement.
FSNC has received funding from MSD of $690,000 over two years to be spent in areas that include, a comprehensive strategic food secure plan, food provision, food storage, education and a contribution towards developing the concept of a community hub in Kaiapoi which will benefit the whole community.
The funding has significant potential to provide food security by empowering locals affected by unemployment and social deprivation, through the provision of a sustainable food supply, working with them to develop skills and providing wrap around support. Nicki Carter, Facilitator of Social Services Waimakariri said “This is about our community being self-sustainable in the face of another crisis. If we have flourishing food forests and gardens, and a strong collaboration of all those who are passionate about developing sustainable food sources, and less food waste then I believe individuals can have their basic needs met”.
One of the most recent projects that the funding has enabled has seen the Oxford District Lions Club plant, grow and harvest fresh produce to donate to Satisfy Food Rescue, a stakeholder in FSNC and the fundholder for the group. The Oxford District Lions Club (ODCL) members and volunteers planted 7500 seed potatoes, 2500 corn and 300 pumpkin plants at land generously provided by a Lions member in Ohoka. Weekly harvests are made by the Oxford Lions which are then collected by Satisfy Food Rescue, with over 3 tonnes of fresh produce being donated to date. Lyndsay Fletcher, Secretary of the Oxford District Lions Club said “The ODLC was pleased to be able to work with Satisfy Food Rescue to see this opportunity through to fruition. A priority of the Oxford District Lions Club was to work to assist others in meeting their own post Covid objectives”. Stef Van Meer, Manager of Satisfy Food Rescue commented “Satisfy has been rescuing on average 10-12 tonnes of food a month from our regular donors post Covid. Having the availability of extremely fresh, nutritious and healthy produce to donate on to our 26 recipient organisations who are providing food for individuals and families in need, has been a wonderful addition to the work that we do here at Satisfy”.
There is considerable community interest in seeing food security in North Canterbury become a reality. Social service providers, community groups, faith based organisations, local councils, service clubs and schools have all expressed interest in being involved with this initiative. The value of collaboration in the food security space was highlighted nationally with the Kore Hiakai - Zero Hunger Collective and aligns with discussions at a recent local COVID-19 Social Recovery Planning Forum.
FSNC are holding a wider community forum to develop the plan on Wednesday 25th February at Woodend Community Centre, 12pm – 3pm and would like any individuals, organisations and businesses who feel like they have something to offer to the future of food security in North Canterbury to attend. To secure your place at the forum, please rsvp by email to Nicki Carter firstname.lastname@example.org.