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Thursday, 12 May 2022 11:55

Helping feed the needy

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Fresh fruit and vegetables currently make up 46% of KiwiHarvest’s total rescued-food volume. Fresh fruit and vegetables currently make up 46% of KiwiHarvest’s total rescued-food volume.

New Zealand generated 571,000 tonnes of food waste annually - including residential and commercial food waste.

It is estimated that 60% of food going to landfill is still edible.

For the past 10 years, an organisation founded by Deborah Manning has been collecting food before it goes to waste and distributing it to frontline agencies, helping to feed our most vulnerable.

Fresh fruit and vegetable category currently makes up 46% of KiwiHarvest's total rescued food volume.

Pukekohe-based Balle Brothers is just one of 275 active food donors working with KiwiHarvest.

Dacey Balle, managing director of Balle Brothers, says they have been supplying KiwiHarvest onions, potatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes for the past 10 years. The vegetables are picked up from Balle Brothers farms by T&G and delivered to KiwiHarvest.

"Our mantra is real food, for real people, every day," Dacey Balle says.

"We have an innate desire to make sure people everywhere have access to fresh nutritious food.

"In our communities this is becoming much harder, and the pandemic has really exposed some of the inequities in the supply chain.

"The partnership with KiwiHarvest has enabled us to focus on what we do best - large scale production and distribution of fresh produce.

"By working with the skill set of KiwiHarvest we can get healthy food out into the community and achieve our combined goals together."

Since its launch in 2012, KiwiHarvest has distributed over 7.7 million kg of food – 22 million meal equivalents. Over 20m kg of carbon dioxide equivalent has been diverted from landfill.

Manning told Rural News that KiwiHarvest is incredibly proud of what it has achieved over the past ten years. She says KiwiHarvest wouldn’t be the success it is today without the support of our valued donors and partners.

“The fresh produce we receive from fruit and vegetable farmers across the country helps us to provide healthy and nourishing food to communities in need, making up nearly half of the total food rescued at KiwiHarvest.

“In the past two years, the horticulture industry has been significantly impacted by border closures and restrictions.

“Despite labour shortages and supply chain challenges, many generous growers and farmers still continued to donate produce to help with rising demand – this support has made a real tangible difference to many Kiwis struggling in the wake of the pandemic.”

What Is KiwiHarvest?

With 11 trucks on the road, KiwiHarvest is New Zealand’s largest food rescue social venture.

Works with the food supply chain including growers to rescue the good food that they are not able to sell.

Apart from providing much needed food support to Kiwis doing it tough, KiwiHarvest prevents food from ending up in landfill where it produces methane as it degrades. It has five branches nationwide – Auckland (North Shore and East Tamaki) Queenstown, Dunedin and Invercargill. It currently has 275 active food donors and supplies rescued food to 235 recipient agencies.

Fresh fruit and vegetable category currently makes up 46% of total rescued food volume.

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